What You Need to Know About the Three Types of CBD;

CBD Isolate, Full-Spectrum CBD, & Broad-Spectrum CBD

Did you know there’s not just one type of CBD and not all CBD is created equal? Before you shop for a CBD product here is something to consider, depending on the extraction method used by the manufacturer, the process yields different kinds of CBD. Not all manufacturers abide by the same standards so it’s critical to your health that you understand something of the production process involved in making CBD and then find a reputable source. Let’s run through the types of CBD and their properties.

CBD Isolate

One form of CBD is CBD isolate. What is CBD isolate and why is it different from full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD? CBD isolate is purified cannabidiol mostly derived from varieties of hemp that contain high levels of CBD, but low levels of THC. After CBD has been extracted from a cannabis plant CBD isolate is the compound left behind. CBD isolate has the highest concentration of CBD per serving and usually is 99% pure.

“Proponents tout CBD Isolate as the purest form of cannabis, primarily because of the way manufacturers split (or isolate) the CBD from all of the other components of the cannabis plant.”


What does CBD Isolate Look Like?

CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that looks like confectioner’s sugar. It can also be in the form of large crystals. It generally has no taste or smell.

cbd isolate crystals and hemp

How is CBD Isolate Made?

CBD isolate starts as CBD oil obtained from hemp. Then, using various methods of extraction all of the plant’s natural compounds except for CBD are removed, leaving CBD as a pure crystalline powder. Methods of CBD isolation may involve toxic solvents such as pentane or hexane. There’s only one method of CBD extraction that doesn’t involve solvents and that’s supercritical CO2 chromatography.

“Extracts obtained from supercritical CO2 extraction are appealing to the food and beverage and medical industries, because it is guaranteed there is no residual solvent present on the product. Because there is no residual solvent on the product, the extract will be purer than many solvent-based extraction methods.”


The last step in extracting the CBD isolate is winterization. After winterization is done, pure CBD powder is left behind which has no THC and is usually 99% pure cannabidiol.

What are the Benefits of CBD Isolate?

  • No THC - It won’t get you high. Check the label or read the online description just in case. There are companies that will do anything for a sale and it’s up to you to do your due diligence.
  • Easily Measured - Using a reliable kitchen scale it’s simple to measure CBD isolate in milligrams and you will get the dosage you need by following the recommended dose per the directions. This is because all other chemical compounds have been taken out and all you have left is the CBD.
  • Higher Potency – CBD isolate is the most potent CBD product on the market. According to Medical Marijuana Inc, “This means it allows you to deliver high levels of CBD to your body’s native systems to maximize the pure CBD powder’s natural effects.

Full-Spectrum CBD

All the compounds that naturally occur in hemp are found in full spectrum CBD. That’s the reason it’s called full spectrum because it’s made from the entire spectrum of cannabidiols. Hemp compounds which include cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids all work together in full spectrum CBD with the result being called “the entourage effect.” This is where the effect of each individual compound found in CBD oil is enhanced. Unlike CBD isolate, full spectrum CBD oil does contain THC, but it is below 0.3% accepted concentration and will not make the user high.

What Does Full Spectrum CBD Oil Look Like?

Full spectrum CBD oil has a golden hue, however, its final look depends on the carrier oil used. What is carrier oil? It’s the base oil that the CBD is infused with. Some examples of carrier oil are olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.

chemical formula for cbd

How is Full Spectrum CBD Made?

Production of full spectrum CBD oil starts with fully mature hemp plants. The plants are dried and mashed into fine powder, then using an extraction method the oils are pulled out. The goal is to ensure all the beneficial compounds are present in the final extracted oil.

What are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD?

  • The major benefit of full spectrum CBD oil is the cannabidiol compounds all work in unison for maximum results.
  • Full spectrum CBD oil contains vitamins like A, C, E, and B, some essential fats, and protein, and up to 20 amino acids as well as essential fatty acids, like Omega 3 and Omega 6.
  • There is some research that finds full spectrum CBD provides the end user with more benefits than CBD isolate. A study from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem sites…

“Our findings that CBD in the presence of other plant constituents improve the dose-response are supported by some recent reports showing that CBD in a standardized Cannabis sativa extract is more potent or efficacious than pure CBD.”

Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 2015

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is another name for CBD distillate which is an extract that retains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, oils, vitamins, and flavonoids. Plus, it goes through a special winterization process to remove THC. Broad spectrum tinctures contain CBD with additional beneficial cannabidiol compounds such as CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDV, and natural terpenes.

What Does Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Look Like?

Broad spectrum CBD oil looks like full spectrum oil. It has a rich golden, honey-like hue.

How is Broad Spectrum CBD Made?

Broad spectrum CBD is manufactured in a similar way to full spectrum but with an added step. The raw hemp plant is treated with a solvent like ethanol, butane, propane, isopropyl, or alcohol. Using one of these solvents is the least expensive, easiest, fastest way of extraction. It’s also one of the most dangerous methods due to the highly flammable nature of solvents. Although solvents can be used, the most common extraction method uses supercritical CO2 as mentioned in the section on CBD Isolate. That is the safest, healthiest form of extracting CBD.

Next, a technique called chromatography is used to separate THC from the rest of the mixture. This keeps all the phytochemicals together. This method provides an extract free of THC that includes CBD as well as all of the essential cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients.

What are the Benefits of Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?

  • It offers all the benefits of full-spectrum CBD without any trace amounts of THC.
  • It creates the entourage effect because of its cannabinoid and terpene profile.
  • Because there is no THC in broad spectrum CBD oil it won’t show up on a drug test and there’s zero chance of a psychoactive effect from THC


While it may not seem critical, health-wise it’s important to know the different methods of how CBD oil is extracted from hemp. Each method produces different end products and has different impacts on your health. It’s important to ask about and understand how companies you buy from extract their CBD oil from hemp.

Remember, manufacturers and sellers of CBD are somewhat restrained in the claims they can make about the effectiveness of CBD products until the FDA does further research and validates what CBD benefits really exist. So be wary of companies that make preposterous claims and shop wisely.