CBD Research  -  How CBD Works

Full spectrum versus CBD isolate



Many people new to CBD quickly run into terms that aren't familiar to them.

  • Endocannabinoid
  • Tincture (since the middle ages anyway)
  • Terpenes


Let's throw in full-spectrum and isolate to the mix.


Many companies will sing the virtue of full spectrum in their CBD products but what does it really mean.


One thing missing from the conversation is a very important piece for millions of Americans.



We'll get into that below as well as a full description of what exactly "full" is full of.


Let's also look at isolate in a new way.


It's not lacking!


Lots to cover.


If you want to jump right to the price comparison of screened brands for isolate OR full spectrum, you can click here:


find affordable and quality cbd isolate online with zero thc


Otherwise, feel free to jump to any section here:


Let's get to it!

A Quick Intro To CBD

We've covered a lot on this website regarding CBD.


You can jump to the Beginner's Guide to CBD or How CBD works here.


But if you're new to CBD, here's a quick primer.


CBD is short for cannabidiol.


It's everywhere in the press right now due to some pretty impressive results for health issues and general well-being.


The research is speeding along but the benefits list keeps growing:


list of CBD benefits


CBD works with the endocannabinoid system in our own body.


This system is critical in keeping other main systems in balance:

  • Endocrine system – hormones
  • Nervous system – neurotransmitters
  • Immune system – protect against foreign invaders and repair


These systems impact every other system in the body so being in balance is key to you functioning WELL!


Here's a quick graphic of what's going on:


how does CBD work


There's a lot to cover but let's get into why we're here.


Isolate versus Full Spectrum.


Let's define each first!

What Is CBD Isolate

Isolate is just a fancy word to say "by itself".


Here's the pathway to isolate:

  • Start with raw hemp oil (cannabis with less than .3% THC)
  • Extract out other contaminants (solvents, heavy metals, etc) if any
  • Extract out CBD from plant material


The isolate is generally in a crystalline form.

Most isolate sold on the market is generally blended with hemp, olive, or coconut oil (MCT is processed from coconut oil).


You basically have CBD (the chemical we're after) with an oil base.


CBD, like many substances (such as curcumin), needs an oil cohort to be used well in the body.


We reference lots of CBD research on the site.


In almost all of those studies, the CBD used is isolate.


This is to narrow any results to just the cannabidiol alone.


So...what is full-spectrum?

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum is just a term for getting more of the raw plant along with the CBD.


We skip a big chunk of the extraction process.

  • Start with the raw hemp plant
  • Extract oil in its entirety (other than reducing THC below threshold)
  • Extract any contaminants


Many (if not most) products on the market are Full Spectrum these days.


This means we can expect to have a range of different substance in addition to CBD:

  • Other cannabinoids like CBC, CBN, CBG, and up to 100 others at much smaller amounts
  • Terpenes
  • Flavanoids
  • Omega Acids and Vitamin E
  • Range of other substances at lower level amounts


The first three are of main interest.


They are reported to have their own health benefits which we'll touch base on later.


We'll also talk about the increasingly overused "entourage" effect title.


Drama carried that show by the way!


Let's first knock out some common questions and we'll get into the thick of full-spectrum versus isolate.

Does Full Spectrum Oil Contain CBD


Yes, for the legal CBD products you'll find screened here, CBD is the leading cannabinoid.


That being said, there are lots of bogus CBD products on the market with very diluted CBD amounts.


You're going to see it everywhere over the next few years and most of it will be pretty poor.

CBD by name only!


That's why we screened the biggest brands for CBD amounts and purity (with 3rd party testing) here:


find affordable and quality cbd isolate online with zero thc


THC and CBD are the two most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.


The amounts of each vary according to strain.

Legal CBD comes from industrial hemp (just a legal term for cannabis plans with less than .3% THC).


Therefore, CBD will be the major cannabinoid in legal full-spectrum CBD products.


The THC is extracted out (or has to be under .3%).

Full Spectrum Versus Hemp Oil – Are They The Same?

Up to a point.


Hemp oil is just the raw oil from the hemp plant.


In a perfect world, full-spectrum is the same thing with the THC extracted out and concentrated CBD added back in.

It can make comparisons complicated since some brands might say "500 mgs of CBD" while others say "500 mg of hemp oil".


Those are not the same thing.


More on that next.

The Whole Mg Controversy With CBD Versus Hemp Oil

You have to be careful when comparing CBD products.

In our CBD comparison page, we specifically looked for exact amounts of CBD in the product.


Most of the legitimate brands (which we compared) specify this amount.


Occasionally, you'll see a listing of milligrams (mg) of "hemp oil".

The CBD amounts may be MUCH less than this total hemp oil.


Hemp oil contains a volume of other substances besides just CBD.


That's misleading in our book.


It goes to the heart of CBD isolate versus full-spectrum (essentially hemp oil).


Let's get into that now!

Full Spectrum Versus Isolate

On our site, we like to focus on research.


There are so much pomp and circumstance surrounding CBD these days online.


We haven't actually seen a person levitate from taking CBD!


The research is really impressive and growing daily (finally).

Within the cannabis community, there's almost a religious belief that the whole is greater than the parts.


I.e. the different substances in the hemp plant work better than just one isolated piece (CBD in our example).

There are two issues here:

  • It's not really born out by research
  • It usually comes from a different focus...that of THC!


Here's a great synopsis of what research has to say.



Something really interesting happens as you're reading through it (it's not a light read!)

Most of the research has been on how CBD (primarily) not only offsets THC issues but offers the lion's share of the health benefits!


That's why this is site is about CBD, not THC or hemp oil.


Look...we get it.


THC creates a high and lots of people like it.

But CBD's been doing all the hard lifting health-wise behind the scenes!


The laundry list of significant health benefits listed in that research and throughout research referenced on our site is ridiculous.

Truly ridiculous.


You almost expect some cheesy voice to say, "But wait...there's MORE!"


It's only recently that you could get CBD by itself. Legally.


To get the benefits of CBD, you HAD to use pot illegally (or legally where available).


Pain. Anxiety. Psychosis. Sleep.

You were getting THC as a byproduct of what you really wanted.


THC may have benefits but it also has some downside that needs to be addressed with...



If you want a high, there's THC.

If you want the health benefits (and a free set of knives), it's CBD.


That isn't to say that CBN, CBG, CBC, terpenes, and flavanoids don't have their own specific benefits.


We just need more research...it's still in its infancy.


Meanwhile, you'll hear the term "entourage effect" much-ballyhooed online within the community.


There's a great comparison of full-spectrum versus CBD Isolate here.


Let's look at that.

Is The Full Spectrum CBD Entourage Effect Real?

A reference to the Marky Mark...I mean Mark Wahlberg produced show Entourage.


If you need a recap, all 4 members of an up and coming actor made much better watching than any one of them by themselves.


The whole is greater than its parts.


This is the supposition that the various cannabinoids and other substances (primarily terpenes and flavanoids) augment each other's positive health effects.


There's not much real research to measure this.

There's a lot of talk (and research) about how CBD helps to mitigate some of the negatives of THC.


We're focused on CBD by itself so that's not much help unless you're a fan of THC.


So what we do see in research is:

CBD offsets some of the negatives of THC


We don't have enough research on the rest of it.

There's a lot of "studies show" statements but no reference to the specific studies.

You also have cause-effect issues such as "people liked full-plant better than THC isolated medication".




That's because of the CBD WASN'T PRESENT!


It might be that we've been looking to validate THC via marijuana to push legalization further along:



There may be an entourage effect.


The individual constituents may positively impact each other.


Or they just may have benefits of their own.


We'll look at that later.


Show us the research!

A Cynical View On Why Full Spectrum

If all the research is for CBD isolated, why the big push for full-spectrum?


CBD Isolate is extremely difficult to process and extract.


Think about it...they're taking a plant and getting ONE chemical out of it.


We spoke with one of the gurus in extraction and he explained that it was extremely difficult to process down to just CBD.


Many more companies can jump on the CBD wagon with a full spectrum.


There's still some processing to do but it's much cheaper.


So...maybe we're just being cynical but we need to see more research other than how CBD helps THC.


We can get the CBD to begin with!


But what about the other cannabinoids?


What do we know about them?

CBC, CBG, CBN, And Other Cannabinoids

There are over 100 cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis family.


THC and CBD have the highest prominence in the plant and their ratio depends on the strain of cannabis.


The third most prevalent cannabinoid is CBC.


According to the research, CBC has shown promise as a:

  • Anti-inflammatory agent
  • Analgesic – pain relief


Next up is CBG:

  • GABA uptake inhibition – creates a feeling of calm
  • Analgesic – pain relief
  • Erythema – anti-skin redness


There are others including inactive (or raw) versions of CBD and THC called CBDa and THCa.


These are not psychoactive but have health-related qualities that need further study.

All the other cannabinoids exist in very small amounts naturally in the cannabis plant.


Even CBC, CBG, and CBN are pretty small.


CBN is mildly psychoactive so that has to be taken into effect.


We need more research on these individual substances by themselves.


For example, when they looked at anti-depression effects CBC and CBD, the effects of CBD were 10 times that of CBC.


Wouldn't that argue for more CBD?



We'll keep an eye out for research on the different cannabinoids but keep in mind the levels are very low even in full spectrum.

Terpenes In Cannabis

Terpenes are chemicals found naturally in cannabis that gives it aromatic scents and flavors.


You find them in all kinds of foods like basil, lavender, and sandalwood.


They occur at very low levels in the typical cannabis plant.


Like the other cannabinoids mentioned above, some of the terpenes may interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. That being said, it's at a much smaller level than CBD!

The body has limited levels in a given pathway. If receptors are being used by a terpene, it might just mean less CBD interaction.


We see that with THC and CBD where CBD will interact CB receptors thus blocking THC.


We need more research on the safety of terpenes.


Based on this research, there are definitely some concerns when heating terpenes:



Otherwise, there is limited evidence that they are beneficial to our health.


Again, they're in very small amounts within the cannabis plants.

For example, myrcene (occasionally the most prevalent) is showing anti-inflammatory effects albeit at pretty high levels.



Most of the buzz about these substances is to isolate them at a high enough level and then see what they do in the body.


At least on the research front.

Flavanoids In Cannabis

You might think flavanoids have something to do with flavor but they actually impart the non-green color to flowers, fruit, and vegetables.


Some of them are pretty awesome such as quercetin which is showing promise along many lines including longevity and clearing out bad cells in the body.


Again, these cannflavins (flavanoids specific to cannabis) are found in minuscule amounts but we need to know more about what they do.


Specifically, we need to know the measured, physiological effect differences between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil.


We don't have that yet!


There's one more big question that NO ONE seems to bring up.



The CBD And Histamine Question

  • Do you get congested after beer?
  • Eyes itchy after chocolate?
  • Do you have allergies, asthma, or strong reactions to botanicals?


All that fermented food which is all the rage for good health...


Does it send your stomach reeling?


Welcome to the 40-60%.

The estimated percentage of people who have sensitive systems when it comes to allergens, plant material, and other sources.


CBD itself is showing great promise for histamine sufferers.


Check out Mast cell activation and reducing histamine release!

Great news for anyone who's suffering allergies, asthma, or the many results of a poorly functioning histamine system.



This goes with the whole theory of helping to modulate the immune system and inflammatory response that we see throughout the research.


What about the other parts of full-spectrum?


We don't know!


Anecdotally, with over 400 different active chemicals found naturally in the cannabis plant, it's definitely a risk if you have histamine issues.

Should I Take CBD Isolate Or Full Spectrum

Here's our strategy.


Try the isolate first and see how your body responds.

We're all different chemically!


Give it a 30-day window which is perfect since most products come in 30-day amounts (i.e. 30ml bottles).


More information on CBD dosages can be found here.


Once the first month is up, try the equivalent CBD dosage in a full-spectrum option.


Make sure the brand specifies the amount of actual CBD (not just hemp oil or cannabinoids) in the product.


You can check out the comparison here.


Compare the difference!


If you notice any adverse effects of the change, you have your answer!

It's very common to see additional side effects from full spectrum that are not there with Isolate such as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and more.


You may have also just learned about your histamine issues and/or gut health!

Best CBD Isolate

Take a look at our Best Of category for screened CBD products here:


find affordable and quality cbd isolate online with zero thc


We're constantly re-evaluating pricing and options available from that page.


Once we've established the safety of the products (all screened), we then need to look at pricing.


Most people use CBD every day!


We have to be able to afford it.

Best CBD Full Spectrum

The same things apply to full spectrum.


Compare the pricing for the major CBD brands that have been screened for safety and product purity.


The link is here:


find affordable and quality cbd isolate online with zero thc


The Best Of link is the most popular.


Of course, we want to hear your results from full spectrum versus isolate here!


Help others learn from what works for YOU!

Shop and Compare CBD Oils here from brands with 3rd party testing