In the 21st century, we no longer have to worry about how we’re going to get our cannabidiol (CBD). Indeed, some might argue we have way too many CBD products to choose from nowadays. New consumers are understandably confused by the endless array of CBD tinctures, oils, and edibles online and on store shelves. Before jumping into the CBD market, it’s wise to do a bit of research to ensure whatever product you’re looking at is right for your needs.
In this piece, we’ll help you on your CBD shopping quest by explaining what some consider the purest product available: CBD isolate. Besides giving you the lowdown on the pros and cons of CBD isolate, we’ll compare this powdery product with other popular forms of everyone’s favorite cannabinoid.
Purity and Simplicity: What Is CBD Isolate?
Sure, “CBD isolate” sounds super science-y and complicated, but it’s actually not that difficult to classify. Just add the letter “d” to the end of “isolate” and you’ll never forget what this product is all about. That’s right, all this name is telling you is that the CBD has been isolated from all other compounds. This means CBD isolate contains no additional cannabinoids, terpenes, additives, flavonoids, chlorophyll…you get the idea. When you pick up a packet of CBD isolate, you’re getting as close to 100 percent CBD as humanly possible.
Many new consumers are surprised when they see CBD isolates are only sold in a dry, white powdery form. Since CBD isolate has gone through such a rigorous purification process, it will not resemble the more popular green hemp tinctures and oils. Besides its fascinating look and texture, CBD isolate has absolutely no odor or taste, which is actually one of its biggest selling points.
How Is This Precious Powder Made?
As the CBD industry evolves, scientists are discovering many fascinating methods of cannabinoid extraction. At the present moment, however, most CBD isolates usually go through a purification process known as chromatography. Simply put, chromatography involves exposing the hemp plant to the highly polar silicon dioxide as well as some kind of solvent like ethyl acetate. Once this initial extraction completed, chemists repeatedly purify the concentrated oil by sending it through advanced filtration systems.
Scientists could also put the extracted cannabis oils through what’s known as “winterization.” This process, which involves freezing a mixture of cannabis oil with alcohol, helps to filter out undesired compounds like fats. Workers then heat this mixture until the alcohol completely evaporates.
One exciting extraction method that’s gaining ground in the cannabis industry is CO2. Usually, this process involves highly skilled technicians and a costly three-chamber machine that’s able to transform CO2 into a state between liquid and gas (aka “supercritical”). Manufacturers increasingly favor CO2 extraction because it’s far safer to work with than other solvents and it doesn’t cling to the hemp plant. Just be prepared to pay a steeper price tag for CBD products made with this revolutionary extraction method.
No, this isn’t a trick question. Although many people think distillate and isolate are interchangeable terms, there is a significant difference between these two products.
When compared with isolate, CBD distillate products are just a tiny bit “less pure.” Had a CBD distillate gone through a few more rounds of filtration, it would’ve become CBD isolate. Instead, these less potent products are released with trace amounts of secondary compounds like additional cannabinoids and terpenes.
Unlike isolate products, most CBD distillates are sourced from marijuana plants rather than hemp. This means a CBD distillate could have trace amounts of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Of course, the primary compound in CBD distillate products will always be CBD, but you should check your product’s THC count to ensure you won’t have any surprises once you start taking this product at home.
Let’s Get Even More Complicated: Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD
If CBD distillate is once removed from CBD isolate, then CBD full spectrum and CBD broad spectrum are twice removed. Both of these spectrum products have gone through fewer rounds of filtration, which means they contain higher amounts of secondary cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds.
The only difference between the two “spectrums” is that broad spectrum CBD doesn’t have THC. Other than that, there’s no significant difference between full and broad spectrum oils, supplements, or tinctures.
Pros And Cons Of CBD Isolate
Now let’s briefly touch on some of the reasons why people love CBD isolate and one major issue some cannabis enthusiasts have with this product.
Super Stealthy In Snacks And Smoothies
Because CBD isolate has no taste or aroma, it’s one of the most readily available CBD products to hide in your favorite beverages, snacks, or sweeteners. Many people who purchase CBD isolate simply throw a spoonful into their morning cup of coffee to enjoy the benefits of CBD throughout the day. You could also blend CBD isolate into smoothies, add it to teas, and even bake with it.
Indeed, anyone who’s into making CBD-infused edibles should keep a packet of CBD isolate on hand. It’s super easy to add a pinch of CBD to your cookies, brownies, or cupcakes without anyone knowing! When you’re making you CBD treats, just be sure to keep the oven temp at 350°F or lower. Studies suggest CBD loses its medicinal potency when it’s exposed to higher temps.
No Nasty Taste When Taking Sublingually
Somewhat related to the first point, CBD isolate is extremely easy to take sublingually. Sure, it might not feel comfortable to have that CBD sitting under your tongue, but at least you won’t have to put up with the earthy aroma in most oils and tinctures.
In case you have no idea what we’re talking about, taking cannabis sublingually simply means putting a bit of product underneath your tongue and holding for about 30 seconds. Believe it or not, the salivary glands on the bottom of the tongue that can absorb compounds directly into the bloodstream. Holding CBD sublingually massively enhances its physiological effects because it doesn’t have to get broken down by the digestive system.
High Potency & Accurate Dosing
Besides its lack of odor and taste, isolate is often touted as the highest potency CBD product. Obviously, since all isolates have been filtered to produce between 98-99 percent CBD content, you’ll need far less powder to get a robust physiological effect compared with most other CBD products.
In addition to potency, the simplicity of CBD isolate’s ingredients list makes it far easier to dose. People who need CBD for medicinal purposes will have a simpler time measuring out their daily dose of isolate compared with “less pure” CBD oils that have dozens of other compounds to consider.
The Con: No “Entourage Effect”
The top complaint customers have about CBD isolate is that it doesn’t take advantage of the many other healing compounds found in the cannabis plant. By only using CBD, critics argue customers aren’t experiencing the full medicinal potency of the cannabis plant.
Although research into cannabis is ongoing, there are a few studies that bolster these critiques. For instance,Israeli researchers recently analyzed the effects of CBD isolate versus CBD full spectrum on two groups of mice. Those that were fed CBD full spectrum had a far greater anti-inflammatory response than those who were given CBD isolate. Scientists believe full spectrum performed better because all of the cannabinoids and terpenes worked synergistically to produce a greater medicinal benefit.
Doctors are growing increasingly interested in how different compounds in the cannabis plant work together (aka the “entourage effect”). Some argue the only way to derive the greatest benefits from cannabis is to keep the plant as pure as possible. According to this purist theory, the cannabis plant evolved in such a way as to produce the maximal healing benefits with its vast array of chemicals.
Is CBD Isolate Right For Your Business?
Consumers solely interested in getting pure CBD into their system are the best candidates for CBD isolate. As a bonus, CBD isolate powder is odorless and tasteless, which makes it extremely easy to mix into your line of edibles or orally-ingested products. Anyone interested in taking advantage of the “entourage effect,” however, will have to look into distillate, full spectrum, and broad spectrum CBD products.
George Mouratidis works as a full-time copywriter and journalist. He is the founder of WeedCopywriter.com, a bespoke content writing agency for the cannabis industry. George is a regular editor for many industry publications, as well as corporate blogs. He is also the co-writer of the book Ganja Hustle; a hit cannabis growing guide for the USA and Canada markets. When he is not writing, George likes to work out, trying new foods and playing with his cat. Currently, he lives in Greece.