What’s The Difference Between CBD Isolate, CBD Distillate, And Full Spectrum CBD?

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is the non-intoxicating natural chemical found in cannabis that has received a lot of hype in recent years. All the hype comes from the fact that CBD is thought to have various health benefits, such as treating conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, chronic pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, cancer, and so much more. So far, early research looking into the potential therapeutic effects of CBD is promising. Absolute proof of most of these benefits still awaits further clinical study, but that has not stopped people from using it anyway, many finding the relief they are looking for. For anyone in the market for CBD for whatever reason, it is best to inform yourself about what exactly you are getting when you buy a certain product. Three of the popular options you will find are CBD isolate, CBD distillate, and full spectrum CBD. To find the CBD product that suits your individual needs best, you will have to understand how each type of CBD differs.

What’s The Difference Between CBD Isolate, CBD Distillate, And Full Spectrum CBD?


The purest form of CBD is CBD isolate. It is strictly isolated cannabidiol made from hemp. After it is extracted from the hemp, all waxes, oils, chlorophyll, and every other bit of plant matter is removed, leaving nothing but CBD in a crystalline powder. That powder can range from 95 to 99 percent pure CBD and is completely flavorless. CBD isolate contains no THC whatsoever.

Making CBD isolate requires several steps to make sure the product is pure. First, the CBD is extracted from the plant. Then, a purification process takes place. This is where all plant matter goes through a filter and is removed from the extract. The next step is a “winterization process,” removing waxes and any leftover plant matter from the CBD extract. The result is a fine, white, crystalline powder containing CBD that is 99 percent pure or close to it.

A person can consume CBD isolate directly, or they can use it to make their own CBD products. The simplest way to consume CBD isolate directly is sublingually, or placing the powder under the tongue and holding it there for 60 to 90 seconds before washing it down with a beverage. This method allows the effects to come on fairly quickly. You can also add CBD isolate to food, like butter, baked goods, salad dressing, honey, sprinkling it on food like a spice, or whatever you like. It is not fat-soluble, so it does not dissolve in most beverages. The onset of digested CBD isolate may take upwards of an hour. Another way to use CBD isolate directly is by putting it in your wax pen to vape it. Vaping allows for the quickest onset of CBD isolate with the effects being almost immediate. Indirectly, you can use CBD isolate to make a tincture at home using a carrier oil or to create your own CBD topicals. Making your own CBD products with CBD isolate allows you to control its exact potency. If that is too much work, you can buy quality products made with CBD isolate as well.

Note that the concentration of CBD isolate is high, which means the dosage is much smaller than CBD oil/tincture dosages. Get a precise scale to accommodate the correct dosage. When adding CBD isolate to food or using it sublingually, one dosage generally ranges between 2.5-3.3 mg.


CBD distillate is made through cannabis distillation. This means the cannabis is purified by a heating or cooling process to produce highly concentrated CBD. CBD distillate is not as pure as CBD isolate. It usually contains roughly 80 percent CBD. It still can contain other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant matter in the remaining 20 percent. The THC content of CBD distillate can vary. If it is made from marijuana, it likely contains at least some THC in it, although not much. In all likelihood, you will not feel any intoxicating effects despite there being some THC in there. If it is made from hemp, it probably only has trace amounts of THC. If you live in a state, where marijuana is illegal, CBD distillate made from marijuana might have illegal amounts of THC in it. Expect CBD distillate to come in the form of a sap-like substance, not dissimilar to extra-refined honey. The main difference between CBD distillate and CBD isolate is that isolate if further refined to reach around 99 percent purity.
There are many ways to consume CBD distillate. You can inhale it by dabbing it with a dab rig or placing it in a vape pen. Both dabbing and vaping CBD distillate allows it to work quickly. Some report almost immediate effects. You can also use CBD distillate to make edibles, including it in baked goods, butter, sauces, you name it. Another option is to create your own CBD topicals with CBD distillate, like creams, lotions, and balms.

Keep in mind that, like with CBD isolate, CBD distillate’s concentration of CBD is high, so you will need much when using it directly to produce the desired effects.


Full spectrum CBD is extracted from marijuana. The THC is not isolated from the CBD, so full spectrum CBD can contain trace amounts of THC. The amount of THC is so low that you will not feel the intoxicating effects. It also contains many other substances naturally found in marijuana, like a vast array of cannabinoids, terpenes, minerals, vitamins, protein, fatty acids, and fiber. Because the whole plant may provide better and longer-lasting health benefits rather than just CBD alone, many consider full spectrum CBD to be the most useful kind of CBD available. CBD advocates dub this the “entourage effect,” where all the components of the cannabis plant put together work more effectively than isolating specific parts of the plant as a result of synergy. In other words, it improves the bioavailability of the CBD, meaning the body absorbs more of it into the body. As a result of the asserted “entourage effect,” full spectrum CBD is the most popular CBD on the market. You will mostly find full spectrum CBD in oils, tinctures, capsules, and topicals that you can buy pre-made.

Be mindful of the fact that in some places, even trace amounts of THC are illegal, making CBD distillate and full spectrum CBD against the law. Because of the limited clinical studies on CBD and cannabis at large, CBD products (other than one that treats epilepsy) remain unapproved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

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