As CBD becomes more widely available, consumers are becoming more aware of distinctions between products. One example is CBD “isolate” versus “full-spectrum” CBD. These distinctions and their benefits and drawbacks might not be fully understood yet, but shoppers are becoming more savvy at a fast clip.
Full-spectrum CBD is the more popular option now, but that wasn’t always the case. CBD isolate used to be thought of as the more powerful of the two, as if it is just the good stuff without the noise. This seemed to make sense because isolate is more CBD-potent, and CBD is often thought to be the leading non-euphorigenic cannabinoid… the logic follows that an isolate free of the extras should be more effective.
But an intriguing problem with isolate kept popping up. As the ingested amount passed a certain threshold, efficacy decreased. Researchers dubbed this problem the “Bell-Shaped Dose Response” and began their search for answers. In 2015, a study in Jerusalem tested the effectiveness of full-spectrum CBD, as compared to isolate, on two different groups of mice. The results of this study illuminated two important takeaways: First, the mice treated with full-spectrum CBD experienced higher levels of relief than those treated with CBD isolate. And while isolate’s efficacy decreased as the ingested amount surpassed a certain point, full-spectrum CBD continued to provide relief.
So, why does full-spectrum CBD seem to be more effective than CBD isolate? The researchers claim, “the higher efficiency of [full-spectrum] plant extract might be explained by additive or synergistic interactions between CBD and minor phytocannabinoids or non-cannabinoids presented in the extracts.” In short, they suggest that full-spectrum CBD is more beneficial because all of the other remaining plant compounds work in concert with the active ingredient to provide better results. This concept of compounds working synergistically to provide increased effectiveness is often referred to as the “entourage effect.”
While isolate has its benefits, we believe science will eventually definitively show that the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts, and the closer you can get to its original form, the better!
APRIL CARTER GRANT
April Carter Grant grew up in the rural Midwest and has worked as a creative in the advertising, gaming, travel and beauty industries. An avid walker and sometime runner, she lives in LA with a young son and spazzy dog.