With such a big variety of CBD products on the market, it is difficult to decide which one to buy. They come in different forms, concentrations of CBD, and recommended dosages.
One of the main questions that consumers wrestle with is the choice between full-spectrum CBD extract and CBD isolate.
This article will explain the characteristics of the CBD isolate, its manufacturing process, the benefits of using it, and reveal whether a CBD isolate can make you high.
Also, it sheds light on the differences between single-molecule cannabidiol and full-spectrum extract.
Finally, if you read till the end, your patience won’t go unrewarded. You’ll get neat tips on how to use the CBD isolate and, especially useful, how to buy a high-quality one.
But first things first – let’s get familiar with the term CBD isolate.
What Is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol that can be found on the market. It is usually produced in the form of white crystals or white powder. This product can contain up to 99.9% of pure cannabidiol.
CBD can be extracted either from marijuana or the hemp plant. In both cases, the CBD extract will contain other ingredients besides cannabidiol – some amounts of terpenes, flavonoids, and more cannabinoids (such as THC).
In order to get single-molecule CBD after extraction, without those additional compounds, cannabidiol needs to be isolated. This process consists of several filtration levels.
During filtration, the waxes, lipids, cannabinoids, and other plant residues (flavonoids and terpenes) are separated from CBD. As an end result we get a single molecule CBD isolate in the form of crystals. These crystals can be ground into powder, depending on the way it will be used and consumed.
The only compound in the isolate is cannabidiol, so users who want to avoid other compounds can use it without concern about the effect of other ingredients.
When it comes to medical benefits of CBD isolate over full-spectrum extract, there are many controversies.
While some think that CBD is useless without other cannabinoids and terpenes, others think that CBD isolate is beneficial even in the form of a single molecule. To help you decide which one to buy, keep reading to understand the differences between them.
CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD
For newbies, it is very important to point out the fact that not all CBD products are created equal. Understanding the difference between a CBD isolate and a full-spectrum CBD product is crucial if you are considering using a product that is entirely made from cannabidiol.
Before we jump into the differences between them, let’s first define the full-spectrum CBD extract.
Unlike CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD doesn’t go through so many levels of the filtration process after extraction from the plant. As a consequence, full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids besides cannabidiol, as well as terpenes and flavonoids.
It is believed that full-spectrum CBD has a greater medical effect on the body than single-molecule cannabidiol. The reason for this lies in the fact that CBD in combination with other cannabinoids and terpenes works synergistically.
According to a study (1) conducted in 2015, CBD has a more powerful anti-inflammatory effect when it works in combination with other cannabinoids. If it is used as an isolate, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties are increasing as the dosage is increased. However, after a certain level, an increase in dosage doesn’t mean that CBD will have a stronger effect.
On the other hand, that’s not the case with full-spectrum CBD. As researchers increased the dosage of full-spectrum CBD, it continued to show a positive effect and reduced inflammation.
In other words, if you want to use a CBD isolate, you will need to start with a smaller dose, increase it until you find the optimal one that works for you, and stick to it.
Another study (2) conducted in 2011 by a neurologist and researcher, Ethan Russo, showed that CBD conjoined with other cannabinoids and terpenes produces something called an “entourage effect”. Entourage effect means that cannabinoids produce better effects when they work together than when used as separated elements.
This study also pointed out that not only do cannabinoids and terpenes increase their positive effects on the body when working together, they also decrease some of the adverse properties of cannabinoids that can affect the user negatively.
Although a full-spectrum CBD product has many benefits, don’t let it overshadow the perks of a CBD isolate.
CBD isolate is a great option for those who want to avoid the presence of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC or other compounds in their blood.
A cannabidiol isolate is potent enough to give you all the medical benefits of CBD in a full-spectrum extract, and since it is pure (without any other ingredients), you don’t have to worry about the downsides that can occur with other compounds.
Why Use CBD Isolate?
Since CBD isolate is pretty new to the market, users who are not used to it can be turned away by its powdery or crystal form. However, once you get past its texture, you’ll discover many of its benefits.
Here we will break down all the advantages of using a CBD isolate, and give you sound reasons why you should give it a chance:
- CBD isolate doesn’t have a psychoactive effect
- It is easy measurable
- It won’t cause an allergic reaction
- It is tasteless and odorless, so it can be consumed in many different ways
Can CBD Isolate Make You High?
One of the main reasons why people avoid consuming different cannabinoid-infused products is the fear that they will have a psychoactive effect on their body. Besides the fact that many people don’t like to feel “high”, using products with psychoactive substances isn’t allowed in many countries.
If you have doubts about whether a CBD isolate can make you high, the answer is simple: CBD isolate contains only this one cannabinoid which isn’t psychoactive, so it can’t make you feel “high” or “dizzy”. The “high” effect comes as a result of consuming one other cannabinoid named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
This is super important for people who want to use CBD because of its numerous health benefits and at the same time want to avoid high-inducing compounds. So, with a CBD isolate, a user can have the best of both worlds: enjoy the positive health effects from cannabidiol and not worry that psychoactive substances will find their way into their blood.
CBD Isolate is Easily Measurable
CBD isolate is usually sold in the form of a powder. Because it consists of about 98 -100% of cannabidiol, the weight of an isolate is approximately the same as the quantity of CBD in the powder. So when you weigh a certain amount of an isolate, it is basically the amount of CBD in milligrams.
This is important for all users who need to take an exact dose of CBD to treat different conditions.
With cannabidiol-infused products that are not isolates (e.g. lotions or oils), a user knows the concentration of CBD in the whole product, but it is hard to measure the exact amount of CBD in one drop of oil or a specific amount of lotion to be used.
Additionally, because the quantity of cannabidiol in an isolate is easily measurable, this powder is perfect for users who want to make different CBD-infused remedies by themselves.
CBD Isolate Can’t Cause an Allergic Reaction
As previously noted, full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids and terpenes besides cannabidiol, which is not the case with a CBD isolate.
When interacting with other terpenes and cannabidiol, terpenes such as linalool and limonene can be very successful in treating different medical conditions (e.g. skin conditions caused by acne and conditions caused by MRSA bacteria) (2).
Although they provide numerous health benefits, these compounds can act as allergens. Many people avoid using full-spectrum CBD products precisely because of their sensitivity to THC and potential allergic reactions to some of the cannabinoids or terpenes.
A study conducted by the Sweedish University in 2014 (3) researched the influence of a terpene called linalool on the skin when applied through lotions and patches. Researchers found that this terpene can act as an allergen and cause skin irritation to some people.
For those whose skin may be sensitive to different cannabis compounds, CBD isolate is a perfect choice since it usually has no other ingredients but cannabidiol. If it does contain any, they are in such insignificant concentrations that chances of causing allergic reactions are extremely small.
CBD Isolate is Very Versatile
CBD isolate has two great characteristics which make it a perfect candidate for a cooking ingredient: it is odorless and tasteless. These characteristics are the result of the filtration process, where all plant compounds responsible for color, smell, and taste (flavonoids and terpenes) are removed from the CBD extract.
Thus, it can’t change the flavor of the food and it can be freely added to any recipe. This is an important reason why most people choose this form of CBD when they plan on making edibles at home.
Besides food, CBD isolate can be added to other CBD products to make them more potent. It can be added to CBD oils, tinctures or lotions without concern that it will alter their scent or taste.
Now, since CBD isolate is explained in detail and all the advantages of this form of cannabidiol product are known, the next step is to provide ideas and explanations of the many different ways in which this powerful product can be used.
How to Use a CBD Isolate?
One of the most amazing features of a CBD isolate is that it is highly versatile and there are numerous ways in which it can be used. As already mentioned, it is tasteless and odorless, and as such, it is usually used as a base when producing other CBD-infused products.
Here is the list of different ways you can use a CBD isolate:
- Sublingual consumption
- Adding it to vape juice
- Adding it to drinks or food
- Adding it to oils and tinctures
- Adding it to topicals
Sublingual Consumption of a CBD Isolate
This is the easiest way to put your CBD isolate to work. You simply need to place a desirable amount of powder under your tongue and wait for about 90 seconds. After the skin under the tongue absorbs the cannabidiol, it gets into the bloodstream.
This kind of consumption is a good choice for users who don’t want to wait too long to feel the effects of cannabidiol. When cannabidiol is ingested orally, it goes through the digestive tract. That means that CBD will need more time to affect the body, and effects will be less potent in comparison to the sublingual consumption.
Vaping CBD Isolate
Vaping is another great way to consume a CBD isolate. It requires you to add some amount of the powder into your favorite vape juice or e-liquid, blend it all together, and put it in a vape pen or vaporizer.
With vaping, CBD will get into your blood quickly and you will feel the effects of it on your body almost immediately.
Mixing CBD Isolate With Tinctures and Oils
CBD oils or tinctures that you already use can be made more potent by adding a precise amount of CBD isolate to these products. CBD oils and tinctures enhanced with some amount of CBD isolate can be used exactly the same as regular CBD oils and tinctures. Just place a recommended number of drops under the tongue and enjoy the benefits of cannabidiol.
You can also mix a CBD isolate powder with a carrier oil (coconut or olive oil) and make your own homemade CBD oil. That way you can have more control over using the exact dose of cannabidiol in a product.
Adding a CBD Isolate to Drinks or Food
Whether a CBD isolate is in the form of crystals or powder, it can be added to any kind of food or drink.
You can give your favorite edibles a CBD boost simply by adding the desired amount of CBD isolate to a recipe. Since it is odorless and tasteless, it won’t affect the flavor or color of the edible, and at the same time, it will increase its medical benefits.
The only thing that you need to be careful with is the temperature of the edible or beverage, since CBD evaporates at temperatures higher than 320-356 degrees Fahrenheit (160-180 Celsius).
So when cooking with a CBD isolate, make sure not to heat the cannabidiol isolate at over 356 Fahrenheit degrees because it will lose its medical effects. Plus, avoid adding it to drinks when they are hot.
Make Topicals More Potent With a CBD Isolate
When it comes to mixing topicals and a CBD isolate, the situation is similar to edibles. You can add a CBD isolate to already existing cremes and lotions, or you can make a CBD-infused topical by yourself. In both cases, you will need a powdery isolate since it blends with lotions better than crystals because of its structure.
By mixing the desired amount of CBD powder with beeswax, shea butter or carrier oil, you can easily get homemade cannabidiol-infused topicals.
Topicals are great for treating local pain since they can be applied to a particular part of the body, and provide pain relief very quickly.
In addition, CBD-infused topicals make great skincare products.
Dabbing CBD Isolate
Last but not least, dabbing is another easy way to use a CBD isolate. It is a method of inhaling CBD-enriched vapor using devices called dab rigs. When CBD is placed in a dab rig, it gets heated and creates vapor. Through inhaling, CBD in vapor reaches the lungs and gets transferred into the blood very quickly.
Although the effects of dabbing are felt very quickly, it is not recommended for first-time CBD users since it involves using dab devices that requires some practice.
What to Have in Mind When Buying a CBD Isolate?
Incorporating a CBD isolate in your daily diet can be very beneficial for overall health, but only if the isolate you want to use is a high-quality one. Since the CBD market has been blooming in the past few months, many companies that offer CBD products are trying to gain a better position in the marketplace by advertising their products as the best. Some of them are really using quality manufacturing processes to get CBD products, but there are also those who don’t place much importance on the quality of the product.
For that reason, before buying the product, always look for information about the growing conditions of the plants that are used for CBD extraction, and the characteristics of filtration methods. If during these processes the producers used harsh chemicals, the CBD isolate as a final product can’t be of good quality. This information should be stated on the product label, but if that’s not the case, you can always contact the manufacturer to provide you with necessary information.
All things considered, the best option is to buy products that are made from organically grown plants and from companies that use safe chemicals to get CBD isolate.
- Ruth G, Zhannah Y, Lumír OH; Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol; Pharmacology & Pharmacy; 2015; 75-85.
- Ethan BR, Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects; British Journal of Pharmacology; 2011; 163(7): 1344–1364.