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You may have heard that there are a few  different types of CBD products: “CBD isolate,” “full-spectrum CBD” and “broad-spectrum CBD.”

But that sounds pretty technical. What does full-spectrum mean, in plain and simple language? How is it different from CBD isolate? And — most importantly — why should you care?

In this article, we explain the fundamentals behind both types and what CBD isolate vs. full-spectrum means for you.


CBD Isolate 101

So what is CBD isolate? An isolate is a scientific term for a compound like CBD that has been completely isolated — hence, the name — from any other compounds that are typically found in the same source. 

For example, imagine that you’ve discovered that poison ivy contains a compound that can cure blindness. But the problem is … you can’t just extract the juices from the poison ivy plant and start using the extract as a cure. The compound in poison ivy that makes people break out in a rash will be present in your extract as well. (Yikes! That would have a pretty nasty side effect.)

So, you have to isolate the blindness-curing compound. That way, you’re left with its pure form, with no rash-causing compounds — or anything else, for that matter — present in your extract.

That pure form of your compound is called an isolate.


Full-Spectrum CBD Compounds 101

Now, what does full-spectrum mean? Long story short, full-spectrum compounds like full-spectrum CBD are the opposites of isolates.

Full-spectrum compounds aren’t “pure,” in the sense that they include traces of more than just one compound. You might have a full-spectrum compound that is mostly one compound, but other substances have tagged along in your extraction and are present in some quantity.

Full-spectrum compounds aren’t unsafe. You should just be aware that they probably contain small amounts of other stuff.


What This Means for CBD

If you’ve been following so far, you can probably already guess what the difference is between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD, but we’ll break it down for you anyway. 

  • CBD Isolate – CBD isolate is pure CBD. Everything else has been totally removed, including essential oils from the cannabis plant or any trace amounts of THC — the hemp-derived compound that makes you feel high.
  • Full-Spectrum CBD – Okay, so what does full-spectrum CBD mean? It means that the CBD product likely contains some of the other stuff found in the cannabis plant. This can include the benign elements like essential oils, but it can also potentially include the psychoactive compound, THC.
  • Broad-Spectrum CBD – There is another type of CBD that you should know in order to ensure that you’re not putting something unwelcome in your body. Generally, the phrase “broad-spectrum CBD” refers to CBD that has additional compounds from the cannabis plant, but, generally, it does not contain THC, so it shouldn’t get you high.


Does CBD Get You High?

One of the questions we often get is: Does CBD get you high? The answer, as you can probably guess by now, is that it depends on what kind of CBD you take! If you stick to “pure” CBD isolate — like any of the high-quality CBD products from Soul CBD — then you won’t experience any mind-altering or “high” feelings when you take CBD. However, if you take products listed as full-spectrum, you may get some psychoactive compounds in the mix. 



CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD: Which Is Right for You?

So … which should you choose? It depends on a couple of things:

If you live in a non-legalized state ...

If you live in a state or country where THC is not legal (more than 0.3% THC in a product), then you should choose CBD isolate. That’s the only way to be 100% sure that there isn’t any stowaway THC in your product.


If you plan to add it to your food or drink ...

Full-spectrum CBD can sometimes have a strong odor and earthy taste to it. So, if you’re adding your CBD oil to food or drinks, you’ll be better off with the odorless and tasteless CBD isolate.


If you might be drug tested ...

It’s possible that a full-spectrum CBD product could contain enough THC to cause you to fail a drug test. If you work for a corporation or organization that takes drug testing seriously, then it’s better to be safe and choose a CBD product with zero THC. 


Soul CBD Is Always CBD Isolate

When comparing CBD isolate vs. full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum, we’ve found that CBD isolate is best for most of our customers. 

That’s because CBD isolate never contains any amount of THC. That means two big things for you: You won’t experience any psychoactive effects and you don’t have to worry about traveling with it across state lines. While you may fly with full-spectrum CBD if it contains less than .3% THC, it’s just easier to choose CBD isolate because it’s guaranteed to be completely THC-free and TSA-friendly.

Bottom line? With CBD isolate, you can be confident that you’re purchasing 100% CBD.