Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate

If you are familiar with Canna River, you know that most of our products come in both full spectrum and broad spectrum varieties. We chose to carry both types, because we recognize that some of our customers may not want any THC in their CBD products—even the legal trace amount found in full spectrum (<0.3%).

As we have discussed before, THC content is the fundamental difference between broad and full spectrum products. However, there is another type of THC-free hemp extract commonly used in popular products on the market: CBD isolate. Although we do not carry it, it is not uncommon for people to confuse isolate with broad spectrum. Additionally, some companies may not be the most forthcoming in their marketing. Read on to learn about the key differences between broad spectrum and CBD isolate. If you know what the difference is, you can better ensure that you order the products you want. 

What is CBD Isolate? 

First, let’s discuss what CBD isolate is not. It is not hemp seed oil. It is not distillate. It is not full spectrum. It is not broad spectrum. CBD isolate is exactly what the name implies: isolated CBD. Like our broad spectrum products, CBD isolate does not contain THC. However, unlike broad spectrum, it contains no other phytocannabinoids or terpenes. Isolate contains 99% pure CBD. This is achieved by further refinement after extraction.

The result is a crystalline or powder, not an oil. That is why isolate is typically used in water-based products. Depending on the type, it looks similar to coarse salt or powdered sugar. It typically does not have much of an odor or flavor either, making it incredibly versatile in manufacturing. 

Given this fact, you might wonder why we don’t use it in our products. The answer is simple: We are fans of the entourage effect. 

How is Broad Spectrum different? 

The entourage effect is the concept that all compounds in a cannabis plant (either hemp or its rebellious cousin) work together synergistically to promote the ideal experience and results in the body.

Proponents of the entourage effect believe one needs to consume at least some THC in order to complete the chain reaction and enjoy the full benefits—hence why some consumers prefer full spectrum CBD. Research suggests this full spectrum synergy may combat anxiety, inflammation, fungal infections, and more.

Broad spectrum offers a partial entourage effect. Remember it this way: It has a broad range of compounds from the plant. This is what makes it different than isolate. Research suggests that cannabis terpenes and flavonoids have a host of potential health benefits, and broad spectrum still contains many of these impressive components. CBD isolate contains none. 

So while CBD isolate on its own is still a mighty cannabinoid, we prefer to stick with broad spectrum when taking the THC-free route.