If you’ve browsed the Internet, scrolled through your social media feed, or even caught a few minutes of the evening news lately, odds are you’ve heard about the plant-based molecule that’s been sweeping the world: CBD. CBD is making an appearance in everything from oils and creams to smoothies and dog treats, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon.

When you search for CBD products for sale, you’ll likely find options that fall into two primary categories: CBD Isolate and Full-Spectrum CBD. Understanding the differences between these two is key in choosing the type that best suits your goals and preferences, so we’ve put together a quick and simple guide that breaks down all the CBD basics. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and its most popular forms, so you can decide for yourself!

What is CBD?

Before we dive into the types of CBD that are out there, it makes sense to do a quick exploration into what exactly CBD is. While you’ve probably heard the word “CBD” many times, you might not know what it is, where it comes from, or how it’s made. There’s a lot of misinformation about CBD, and it all too often gets mistakenly categorized alongside traditional marijuana – even though it couldn’t be more different.

CBD is the shorthand term for cannabidiol, a molecule that occurs in the Cannabaceae plant family. This plant family includes the marijuana and hemp plants, and CBD is just one of the many molecules found within this genus of plants, including the commonly-known THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. While CBD and THC are both found in the Cannabis genus, their levels can vary dramatically between specific plants. While marijuana plants generally contain higher concentrations of THC, you’re most likely to see CBD sourced from hemp plants (which usually contain much fewer levels of THC). This is an important fact to keep in mind, particularly because it clearly establishes CBD products as their own distinct category, one that is very different from marijuana products.

CBD is extracted from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plants then used to create a wide range of products. You can find CBD oils, salves, edibles, tinctures, and more, with the key ingredient generally labeled as either CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is literally the isolated form of CBD, usually considered the most pure form of CBD available, and is often categorized as containing 99% or more CBD content. CBD isolate products use a form of CBD that is designed to contain only the CBD molecule, without any of the additional compounds or cannabinoids found in full or broad-spectrum CBD. The CBD is the sole active ingredient, and the user does not have access to the vitamins, minerals, cannabinoids, and other elements present in the full-spectrum products

What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

The term “full-spectrum” is indicative of what sets this type of CBD apart: it seeks to provide users access to the full spectrum of plant-based elements. A full spectrum CBD product will contain the CBD molecule as well as all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other elements that are naturally occurring in the source material.

CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD

As you would probably guess, the process for making each type is also different. CBD isolate requires far more refining and significantly more plant matter to produce. The first stage of the extraction process is used to draw out the plant’s cannabinoids, achieved through varying methods including dry ice, chemical solvent, Supercritical C02, and olive oil extraction. Then, this substance is further filtered and purified to remove all other components to create a highly-pure CBD product. Full-spectrum CBD is not put through the multi-stage purification process, because the additional cannabinoids and plant matter are purposefully included as part of the overall extract.

Differences in Ways to Use CBD Isolate and Full-Spectrum CBD

CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD aren’t just different on a molecular level; they are also generally used and sold in varying forms. If you purchase CBD isolate, you’ll typically end up with a white powder, or a mix that uses a carrier oil like MCT. Because the powder is typically flavorless, it’s a popular option for mixing with other flavored products to increase the CBD concentration. 

Full-spectrum CBD is a versatile form and can be purchased in the form of oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules, topicals, vape liquid, and more. Understanding the differences between these two forms of CBD makes it clear that choosing the right one is a decision that comes down to personal preference, lifestyle, and other individual factors.

Learn More about CBD from DirectCBD

If your curiosity is officially piqued, we don’t blame you – CBD is a fascinating molecule with plenty of promising characteristics. Odds are you already know somebody that’s made CBD a part of their daily routine! Whether you’re ready to try CBD or still want to learn more, DirectCBD is here to help. We carry an excellent selection of high-quality CBD products, all organized in our easy-to-browse shop. Check out everything we have to offer to find your perfect product match, and contact our friendly team anytime for answers to all your vape questions.