The Difference Between Isolate and Full Spectrum

Education about isolates, broad and full spectrum products.

Whenever you’re shopping for cannabis products, you’re going to see or hear about products being made with different kinds of cannabis extracts. Some will be cannabis isolates. Others will be said to be broad or full spectrum. These could be the ones used in topicals, tinctures, oils, and vape pens, or in the smokeable form of concentrates, like wax and shatter. No matter what form they’re in, they each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so we’re going to look at the differences between isolates, broad, and full spectrum cannabis extracts.

Let’s start with cannabis isolates. Isolates are pretty much what they sound like. They have been isolated, stripped away of all other content. This leaves behind a pure product, containing a single compound, or cannabinoid, like pure CBD isolate for example. A CBD isolate, or a THC isolate, is nothing more than that. All of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients have have been separated from the single compound. This is done as part of the cannabis extraction process. Cannabis isolates are great for patients wanting only one specific compound. CBD isolate is popular among patients who want to take advantage of the health benefits of CBD, without any chance of getting high, since it contains absolutely no THC.

Then there’s the next step up from isolates, and that’s broad spectrum extracts. Unlike isolates, broad spectrum extracts still have some of the cannabinoids and terpenes left in the final product, but they are said to contain zero THC. This is an important identifier between broad and full spectrum extracts, since they both have other cannabinoids and terpenes in them. The benefits of broad spectrum extracts are similar to full spectrum, which is outlined next, but the zero THC is something that attracts the same patients who choose isolates, who are not wanting any sort of high feeling.

Full spectrum cannabis products are going to be the most natural form of cannabis extracts, as in they don’t undergo a refining process to remove any other of the plant’s compounds. Without anything being removed during the extraction process, the final product is one containing all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of the original flower. This also includes all of the phytonutrients and essential oils that also get concentrated as part of the extraction process. Full spectrum cannabis products will have THC. In full spectrum CBD products, the THC will be less than 0.3%, and is not enough to get you high, but some patients still choose to avoid THC all together. 

For those who choose to consume full spectrum products, the benefits come from the medicinal power created by all the compounds working together. This is called the entourage effect. Experts say that the combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients support each other, amplifying the medicinal properties of each one. Essentially, even a little bit of THC, yes even if it’s just 0.3%, can boost the effects of CBD, and vice versa. The entourage effect is the biggest benefit to both full and broad spectrum products. Although, if you’re still not looking for THC, you can still get some of the entourage effect in a broad spectrum, or skip it altogether and go with an isolate. Either way, the decision is yours, and our patient care specialists are happy to answer any questions you may have to assist you in making the right choice.  

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