CBD (short for cannabidiol) sales are booming in the U.S. In fact, they’re expected to reach $1.8 billion by the year 2022. 

If you’ve spent any amount of time shopping for CBD products, you’ve probably come across the terms “isolate” and “full-spectrum” describing different items. Not sure what these terms mean or which type of product is right for you?

Read on to learn more about the difference between CBD isolate vs full spectrum CBD products.

What Is CBD?

CBD Information

Cannabidiol is a plant compound (specifically, a cannabinoid) that’s present in the cannabis plant.

When people hear that it’s a component of cannabis, they panic, thinking that it’ll get them high. In reality, though, CBD does not cause any mind-altering effects. That’s the job of THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol), which works by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and spinal cord.

CBD may not be mind-altering. It does have plenty of health benefits, though.

It has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. It also can help to relieve anxiety, improve sleep quality, and even reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in people suffering from epilepsy. 

What Is CBD Isolate?

When you’re shopping for CBD products, you’ll find some products labeled as full-spectrum and others labeled as CBD isolates.

CBD isolates are products that only contain pure CBD. They are free from any other plant compounds.


There are plenty of reasons why someone might want to consume a pure CBD isolate.

For example, CBD isolate products do not have a strong taste or smell since they go through such a rigorous purification process. As a result, it’s easier to hide the products (especially oils) in a smoothie or drink to serve to someone who doesn’t like the taste or smell of full-spectrum products.

Some people also find that they have sensitivities to other cannabis plant compounds. For these people, CBD isolate allows them to enjoy many of the benefits of CBD consumption without having to worry about a negative reaction. 

CBD isolates allow for easier dosing, too. Because CBD is the only cannabinoid in the product, consumers don’t have to worry that they’re getting more of another plant compound and less of the CBD they need to manage their symptoms.


The main con to CBD isolate products is that they don’t allow consumers to experience the “Entourage Effect”.

The idea behind the Entourage Effect is that CBD is more effective when it’s combined with other plant compounds (including a tiny amount of THC). When all these compounds are together, they can help each other to provide more potent effects and more significant benefits.

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Where Does CBD Come From

Full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD along with a variety of other plant compounds.

In addition to containing a minuscule amount of THC (less than 0.03 percent), full-spectrum products also contain a variety of other (non-mind-altering) cannabinoids, as well as flavonoids and terpenes. 


The primary benefit of full-spectrum CBD is the fact that consumers are more likely to experience the Entourage Effect. 

In addition to the potential they have to experience more noteworthy benefits from CBD, those who consume full-spectrum CBD products also have a chance to enjoy benefits from other cannabinoids. For example, the cannabinoid CBC (short for cannabichromene) has been shown to improve skin health and minimize the severity of issues like acne.

Thanks to the Entourage Effect, full-spectrum CBD is often more effective even when it’s taken at lower doses.

With CBD isolate products, you often have to take a very high dose to see benefits, and you have to be very precise in your dosing. The presence of other cannabinoids provides a greater margin of error and helps consumers to still see benefits.


The taste and smell of full-spectrum CBD products can be off-putting to some, especially children.

The presence of THC can be a deal-breaker as well. Even though the amount of THC in these products is not enough to cause someone to feel high, it could possibly cause them to fail a drug test.

Those who have to pass drug tests at work may not want to risk failing and will do better with a CBD isolate product instead.

Tips for Buying CBD Products

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It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for a full-spectrum CBD product or a CBD isolate. Either way, there are some essential characteristics you ought to look for.

The following are some key questions to ask, whether you’re looking for the best CBD vape pen company or a high-quality CBD oil:

Where Does the CBD Come From?

Find out where the plant from which the CBD (and other plant compounds, if any) was extracted was grown. Ideally, it will be grown in the U.S. or North America without exposure to any toxic pesticides or herbicides. 

What Other Ingredients Are Used?

Often, CBD products are made with other ingredients besides the plant compounds themselves. If you’re buying CBD oil, for example, it’ll include a carrier oil like MCT or coconut oil.

Look for products that don’t contain problematic ingredients like vegetable oil, artificial flavors, or artificial colors. If your product does include flavoring, it’s best if it’s organic and comes from a natural source (such as organic peppermint oil, for example).

Is It Lab-Tested?

Don’t forget to find out if your product is lab-tested, too. It should be tested in a third-party lab to ensure it’s a pure product that actually contains CBD (because the industry is largely unregulated, many CBD products don’t contain much, if any CBD at all).

Always ask to see the latest lab reports before you make any purchases. 

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD: Which Is Right for You?

Now that you know more about the differences between CBD isolate vs full spectrum CBD, are you ready to purchase your first CBD product (or collection of products)?

If you keep this information in mind, especially the shopping tips, you’ll have no trouble finding an effective product, whether you choose to go the full-spectrum route or the CBD isolate route.

Do you want to learn more about CBD and CBD products? Check out some of our other CBD-related articles in the Health section of our site today.

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