CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD and the Entourage Effect Myth
One of the hottest topics in the CBD world today is “What is the best type of CBD?” And for good reason. With CBD’s health benefits heavily trending, a lot of CBD information and CBD misinformation can be found on the web. One of the most written topics on CBD is the question of “Full Spectrum CBD vs Isolate CBD.” Full Spectrum CBD fans claim it has an Entourage Effect, meaning the different components of the plant work better together in the body. CBD Isolate fans love the purity of the product.
Let’s look into these claims and see what the data says. After all, if you are spending your money on CBD, you want to get the best of the best. You want to make your hard-earned $$$’s go as far as possible.
So let’s ask, “What is the best type of CBD you can buy online or at a retail shop?” Full Spectrum or Isolate? First, we should clearly define each.
There are two main types of CBD:
Full Spectrum CBD
- I am going to lump Broad Spectrum in here as it has many of the same pros/cons
Concentrated CBD –
1. More commonly referred to as CBD Isolate.
With CBD being so popular, CBD companies are sprouting up everywhere. People and businesses are trying to make money. Each company says the CBD they sell is the best and create a story to show why they have the best CBD. There is a lot of misinformation out there and Stirling CBD wants to clear it up.
Interestingly, sales of the two different types of CBD (Full Spectrum CBD/CBD Isolate) are about even. Pretty close to 50/50.
Since CBD users are so passionate about the benefits of CBD, many are emotionally tied to their Full Spectrum/Isolate choice. It is personal – they believe the CBD they bought is the best one and they made the right decision.
You can find plenty of data/websites/feedback outlining a case for both sides.
CBD users want to feel good about their purchase & they look for data that aligns to their beliefs. So much so they disregard the other kinds of CBD they did not purchase.
There are many people who SWEAR Full Spectrum CBD is the best, and the CBD Isolate is a waste of money.
There are also people who SWEAR CBD Isolate is the best, and full spectrum contains unnecessary ingredients which are a waste.
So…who is right?
Well, before we look at the evidence, let’s clarify the difference between CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD:
What is CBD Isolate (CBD Concentrate)?
CBD Isolate is the purest form of CBD there is. That is why many people call it Concentrated CBD. Nobody, on either side, can dispute that this is the purest form of CBD. This is what Stirling produces.
In Stirling CBD’s case, we take U.S Grown, Organic, GMO-Free Hemp and start by shredding it up into a pulp. From there we use Cold CO2 Extraction to isolate the CBD from all other compounds in the plant. It is naturally refined down to a powder of 99.9% CBD. No THC, no other cannabinoids. Just pure, concentrated CBD goodness. Pure, Potent, Tested CBD.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full Spectrum CBD also shreds the Hemp plant down to fiber. Instead of extracting the CBD into a super-pure compound, Full Spectrum takes all the components of the Hemp Plant (CBD, THC, CBD1, CBDT, etc).
In very simple terms Full Spectrum is about juicing the plant, doing some refinement, and introducing it into a carrier oil.
The Full Spectrum Group believes that since there are more Cannabinoid compounds in Hemp than CBD it is better for you. They believe Full Spectrum is closer to “Natures Intended” Hemp plant and therefore better for you.
Many Full Spectrum CBD companies show charts and info-graphs describing all the ailments that THC and the other 115 cannabinoids found in Hemp cure. Here is a good example:
Unfortunately, these charts are not backed by science. I can make a chart saying just about anything I want to, does not make it true. There are no conclusive University Studies completed that show cannabinoids other than CBD are beneficial for humans.
The other Cannabinoids & THC may be beneficial, they may not be. But currently, there is no data saying they are beneficial. As you will read later large, well funded clinical studies are showing they are not needed.
The Entourage Effect
The most commonly mentioned argument sited by the Full Spectrum crowd is a 2015 Hebrew University Study. This study claims Full Spectrum has an “entourage effect”.
It states that by using Full Spectrum CBD, with THC, CBD, Terpenes, and other Cannabinoids together helps the body absorb and use CBD more efficiently.
This one study has over 215K articles/blogs/mentions on the web. Many companies market this “Entourage Effect” in their marketing, emails and blogs.
This study aligns perfectly with the full spectrum users’ beliefs, and many people bought into the Full Spectrum Camp.
Interestingly, the World Health Organization studies show that “Neuroimaging studies in humans and animals have shown that CBD has effects which are generally opposite to those of THC.”
Simply Put – CBD and THC counter each other, and you can’t have an entourage effect when some of the compounds have opposite effects.
We know at least some of the Entourage Effect is debunked. We will talk about this later when we talk about the different kinds of CBD Drugs.
OK, now we understand the difference between CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD. So what is better?
Glad you asked that!
I will focus on 3 important topics that can help shed some light on the question of what is better. Those 3 topics are:
- CBD Oil Scientific Research
- Drug Testing / THC
- Personal Preference
CBD Oil Scientific Research
World Health Organization Medical Research on CBD Oil
A huge proof point for the CBD Isolate crowd is that All FDA approved (and corresponding International Drug Agencies) CBD medications are made from CBD Isolate.
That’s right, after years of study and Millions out into research, the Pharmaceutical Companies chose CBD Isolate for medicines, not Full-Spectrum CBD.
Here is a list of some of those Drugs:
This research comes directly from the World Health Organization.
- A US FDA-approved drug (which I actually am not allowed to name) is made from CBD Isolate. They could have easily been formulated from Full Spectrum CBD, but found Isolate is Better
- Ananda Scientific (Israel) is producing pure CBD for medicinal purposes and reports having their Phase 1 pharmacokinetics studies underway presently in Israel
- Bionorica® (Germany) has developed a pure CBD product that is extracted from hemp plants through a multi-stage process into a crystalline powder
- Arvisol® is an oral tablet containing pure CBD. It has been developed by Echo Pharmaceuticals in the Netherlands and is intended to be registered for the treatment of various neurological disorders, including schizophrenia and epilepsy
All these companies could have chosen Full-Spectrum, or Broad Spectrum, with High THC or Low THC….just about any form of CBD. They chose a CBD Isolate solution as it gave them their patients the best results.
It is important to note that many of these companies who researched and patented this product spent millions studying what would be the best solution. They chose Pure CBD in an isolated form. CBD Isolate.
United States Anti-Doping Agency Statements on CBD
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) recently came out with new findings and rules on CBD for Olympic Athletes.
The USADA defines itself as “USADA is the national anti-doping organization in the U.S. for Olympic, Paralympic, & Pan American Sport, protecting clean athletes & the integrity of sport.”
The USADA came out with some clear rules for their athletes:
Here is a summary of those rules:
- #1 US Olympic Athletes can use CBD Isolate
- #2 CBD Isolate may help Athletes Recover Quicker from a workout and reduce their use of over the counter anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc)
- #3 US & International Athletics allow CBD but will not allow any other Cannabinoids or THC in your body. No Full Spectrum Allowed.
This makes Stirling CBD safe for Athletes, including U.S. Olympians!
Any Full Spectrum / Board Spectrum CBD taken will fail the USADA drug test and get the athlete removed from professional or college sports.
Winner for Scientific Research – CBD Isolate. CBD Isolate gets 1 Point. The score is 1-0
Drug Testing – The Facts CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD
CBD, by law, must have less than 0.3% THC in it. Full Spectrum CBD usually has a full 0.3%.
While the 0.3% THC in Full Spectrum is very low, there have been people who, under oath, have testified that they lost their job because they used a full spectrum product and the THC showed up in their drug tests.
In fact, studies have shown that “Typically, THC is detectable for up to 90 days in hair, anywhere between 3 days to a month or longer in urine (depending on how often the person uses), up to 48 hours in saliva, and up to 36 hours in blood.” That’s a long time.
Many people have passed a drug test after using CBD with .3% THC in it, but there are clearly people who have not. I don’t have actual numbers on this, but it is a risk you should consider.
If you are an Athlete, 1st Responder, in the Medical Field, or anyone who gets tested for drugs, you will be safer with 0% THC instead of .3% THC. And with THC counteracting the CBD, there is no reason to have any THC at all.
Winner for Drug Testing – CBD Isolate. CBD Isolate gets 1 Point. The score 2-0
With all this said, What CBD is Better – CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD?
Who is better, Yankees or Redsox? It would be hard to change someone’s mind on this.
Do you like Red or Blue?
Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie?
Like a lot of things, it comes down to you. We are not here to change your mind.
If you are getting a great response from your Full Spectrum, you might now want to mess with it – but the evidence is stacking up that CBD Isolate is a better choice.
Winner for Personal Preference – Tie. Both Isolate & Full Spectrum receives o.5 Points
Final Score – CBD Isolate 2.5 points, Full Spectrum 0.5 points.
The FDA, the W.H.O., consumers, and researchers spending millions a year agree that CBD Isolate is a better choice than Full Spectrum CBD.
We would welcome feedback and comments.