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The ABCs of CBD Isolate: A Handy Guide for Beginners

Are you new to the world of cannabidiol? Public interest in CBD products has skyrocketed in recent years, but many interested consumers remain confused about what’s what. This guide covers the basics everyone should be aware of and zooms in on CBD isolate. 

First Things First: What’s CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa plants. It usually comes from industrial hemp. This variety of Cannabis sativa is naturally low in the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

CBD won’t get you high, and it is not addictive. Unlike marijuana, a Class B controlled substance, CBD is legally available over the counter in the UK. Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC, and the upper legal limit is 0.02 per cent for products sold in Britain and the European Union.

Advertising rules prevent CBD manufacturers and stockists from making health claims or implying specific benefits, so we won’t be doing that. It’s safe to say that research into the potential effects of CBD is ongoing — and interesting studies are just a few clicks away. Consumers should, however, take them with a grain of salt and refrain from using CBD to prevent, treat, or cure specific medical conditions. 

Instead, you can see CBD as a novel food to include in your wellness routine.

What Types of CBD Can You Find on the Market?

If you’ve been browsing online shops or looking around your local high street, you may know that it’s easy to find a wide variety of CBD products. CBD oil? Gummies? Pastries? Capsules? Tea? CBD creams? You’ll find all of those — and much more.

All of these CBD products fit into one of three major categories, types, or formulas, though. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Full-spectrum CBD. A CBD product is classed as full-spectrum if it contains cannabidiol, minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. These least-processed CBD products may have a THC content of up to 0.02 per cent, reflecting the THC content naturally present in industrial hemp. 
  • Broad-spectrum CBD. Cannabidiol products that contain a variety of terpenes, essential oils, and flavonoids but that only have trace amounts of THC are classed as broad-spectrum. 
  • CBD isolate. A CBD product that contains no other cannabinoids (including THC), no terpenes, no flavonoids, and no essential oils can be called a CBD isolate product. CBD isolates are pure CBD, in other words.

How Are CBD Isolate Products Made?

CBD isolate can be extracted from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa with a THC content of 0.02 per cent or less) or marijuana (Cannabis sativa with a higher THC content). The end result is the same — a pure cannabidiol product that does not contain any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or additional compounds. 

Manufacturers typically choose from one of two extraction methods when making CBD isolate products:

  • Supercritical CO2 extraction is a relatively slow process that does not rely on harsh chemicals or leave impurities behind. Instead, CO2 extraction relies on a high-pressure environment to safely harness cannabidiol from hemp or marijuana plants.
  • Ethanol extraction uses alcohol to extract CBD from hemp or marijuana. 

Both of these methods are safe ways to create a pure product, in contrast to shunned extraction methods relying on chemicals like butane or hexane. 

The natural CBD extract resulting from one of these processes may still contain terpenes, other minor cannabinoids, THC, and essential oils. Next, a process called winterisation is used to create a pure form of CBD. This results in a crystalline form that can be added to oil or other products.

What Makes CBD Isolate Products Different? Why Choose CBD Isolate?

By now, you’ll roughly understand the main differences between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products vs CBD isolate:

  • Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD can contain a range of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. Both may also have small amounts of THC — a maximum of 0.02 per cent for full-spectrum CBD and barely detectable trace amounts in the case of broad-spectrum CBD. 
  • CBD isolate only contains cannabidiol and doesn’t feature any of the other compounds present in full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products.

Which option is right for you, you wonder?

That’s a very personal question with an equally personal answer. 

Some CBD consumers choose full-spectrum or broad-spectrum cannabidiol because they actively seek the additional compounds in there. This often boils down to the so-called entourage effect — a theory that CBD is more effective in combination with other cannabinoids and terpenes. Consumers should be aware that the entourage effect may be a widely-described hypothesis, but it’s still not been proven definitively.

Others actively look for CBD isolate products, and some reasons to do so include:

  • You want to try CBD on its own without adding other compounds.
  • You want to be sure you don’t ingest any THC for personal reasons.
  • Your workplace requires drug testing, and you’re worried that using full-spectrum CBD could lead to a positive THC test.
  • You don’t enjoy the flavours and aromas full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products naturally have and are looking for a cannabidiol product with a neutral taste.
  • Some consumers who wish to take larger doses of CBD without any concerns about the possibility of THC leading to mind-altering effects also opt for CBD isolate.
  • Some people enjoy the simplicity and versatility of CBD isolate, especially if they want to make their own products.

Buying CBD Isolate Products: What Should You Look For?

CBD isolate products are incredibly versatile. CBD isolate can easily be added to an amazing variety of different products because there’s no need to worry about losing terpenes (which are heat-sensitive) in this case. 

CBD isolate products can take numerous forms:

  • CBD isolate oil. Add CBD isolate oil to a cooking recipe, a relaxing bath, or a nice homemade cosmetic product — or hold it under your tongue for a minute or so for quick effects.
  • CBD isolate powder. Let your imagination run wild! Add CBD powder to your coffee, tea, or oatmeal, or just dissolve it in your mouth. 
  • CBD isolate gummies and sweets. Many CBD sweets are made with CBD isolate, giving you a tasty way to enjoy your cannabidiol.
  • CBD isolate creams and lotions. CBD cosmetics are becoming more popular now, so besides creams and lotions, you’ll also find shampoos, lip balms, and beard oils with CBD isolate — to name just a few options.
  • CBD isolate vape liquids. Buy commercially-available CBD vape liquids or do your own in-depth research because not all carrier oils are suitable for vapes.

Consumers can look out for high-quality CBD isolates by choosing a reputable CBD manufacturer. Third-party lab testing can prove that the product you buy is as pure as you need it to be, and your manufacturer will ideally also share information about the extraction process.

CBD Isolate: Your Take-Home Message

CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol on the market. It doesn’t contain THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, or essential oils — just CBD. 

CBD isolate is often incorporated into other exciting products, like CBD gummies or creams, but you can also find it in powder form or as an oil. It’s the best choice for you if you want to use cannabidiol on its own, and you want to make sure you’re not ingesting any THC. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cannabis-cbd-and-other-cannabinoids-drug-licensing-factsheet/drug-licensing-factsheet-cannabis-cbd-and-other-cannabinoids
  3. https://lutpub.lut.fi/handle/10024/161311

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