Following the mainstream emergence of cannabidiol (CBD) products, there's a compelling option out there for those who want to experience the potential therapeutic effects of CBD without even the smallest trace of THC. It may not receive the same amount of hype as CBD lattes, infused cookies, or other CBD products, but CBD isolate is actually one of the most distinct and versatile forms of CBD on the market.
While it's true that hemp-derived CBD doesn't have the same psychoactive effects as THC, that doesn't mean it's completely free of THC. According to federal law, hemp plants and hemp-derived products are legally permitted to contain up to 0.3% THC.
Anyone who wants to try CBD oil or other products may get cold feet after hearing about the presence of THC in hemp-derived products. But CBD isolate provides a way to enjoy the benefits of this cannabinoid without other unwanted plant parts.
What is CBD isolate?
CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that contains 99% pure CBD. A traditional extraction process removes all the active compounds from the cannabis plant. Then, a refining process that strips away all other phytocannabinoids, including THC, and any plant matter. What remains is the CBD chemical compound in its purest form.
Depending on the process, the resulting product is either large CBD crystals or a fine white powder that resembles confectioner's sugar. While there may be a slight residual cherry flavor, neither form of CBD isolate should contain a distinct odor or taste. But don't be fooled by its plain appearance — there are actually a number of reasons to get excited about CBD isolate and all that it has to offer.
Benefits of CBD isolate
It might not seem as appealing as the well-packaged CBD oil, topicals, or pre-rolls, but CBD crystalline is surprisingly versatile when it comes to consumption, and this pure powder has a number of advantages over other conventional forms of CBD.
For starters, true CBD isolates consist of nothing but pure CBD, so there's no need to worry about THC possibly entering your system and showing up on a potential drug test. Although it's highly unlikely, trace amounts of THC found in hemp-derived CBD oil can theoretically cause a positive drug screening result.
As we'll discuss in detail below under How to Use CBD Isolates, another clear-cut advantage is the many inventive ways CBD isolate can be prepared for use. Whether it's administered sublingually or mixed with food and drinks, this crystalline powdered CBD works well in a variety of consumption methods.
It's incredibly easy to measure CBD isolate dosages, as there's nothing else to account for aside from the pure CBD. With other CBD-based products, such as broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil, the cannabinoid is mixed with other cannabinoids, making it more difficult at times to quantify the exact amount of CBD that is being consumed.
The case against CBD isolate
While consuming CBD isolate might sound like a great approach, keep in mind that there is also a key disadvantage of isolating CBD from other cannabis compounds. Research has shown that the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes generates an entourage effect, a synergistic interaction that boosts the individual effects of each compound involved. Stripping away all the other cannabinoids prevents you from experiencing the potential benefits of the entourage effect.
How CBD isolate is made
There are various processes used to produce CBD isolate from industrial hemp extracts, such as supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) or ethanol-based extractions. The same extraction methods can also be used as a starting point for the production of THC isolate as well, but typically with marijuana plants instead of industrial hemp. To create an isolate, a number of components are removed from the plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, as well as fats, lipids, and other compounds. After that, the CBD compound is separated from the rest of the extraction through a series of chemical washing and separation processes.
Once all of the impurities and solvents are stripped away, you're left with 99% pure CBD crystalline.
How to use CBD isolate
While you might not know what to do with a pile of odorless CBD isolate powder at first, there are a number of different ways to consume CBD isolate. Here are some of the most common delivery routes:
Apply the CBD powder directly under your tongue and hold it there for about 60 seconds. With this method, the CBD is absorbed by the mucous membranes and delivered directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system to provide more immediate and effective relief.
For topicals, mix the CBD isolate with moisturizing oils or lotions and apply it to the area of your skin you'd like to treat. You can also buy topicals that contain CBD isolate.
CBD isolate can be mixed with terpenes to create homemade CBD concentrates that can be vaped or dabbed. The isolate can also be made into crystal slabs that can be dabbed using a traditional oil rig.
CBD crystalline can be measured and put into capsules or pills, allowing you to ingest an accurate dose. You can also mix CBD isolate with a variety of ingredients to create CBD-infused food and drinks. However, because CBD is not absorbed very well by the gastrointestinal tract, it has a low oral bioavailability. In order to increase bioavailability, CBD isolate can be added to carrier oils, such as MCT oil, to increase its chances of permeating the gastrointestinal system and reaching the bloodstream.
Buying CBD isolate
When shopping for CBD isolate, it's important to look for products from reputable companies that are lab-tested by a third party. This should ensure that your isolate doesn't contain any THC, additional plant materials, or other impurities.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between CBD and CBD isolate?
CBD is cannabidiol, a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis plants. CBD isolate is CBD that has been isolated from all other plant material through a process of extraction and refining. CBD isolate is available in crystal or powder form.
Which is better, CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD?
It depends on who you ask and why they are using CBD. Isolate is best for avoiding any possible trace of THC while full-spectrum may confer the additional benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes via the entourage effect.
Can you test positive for CBD isolate?
If someone is testing for CBD isolate, yes. But common drug tests look for THC and its metabolites. And part of the point of CBD isolate is that it doesn't contain any THC, unlike full-spectrum CBD products, which are legally permitted to contain up to 0.3% THC. Generally, worries about CBD oil and drug testing are unwarranted but it's even less of an issue with CBD isolate.
What is the best way to use CBD isolate?
However you choose. The section above on how to use CBD isolate contains several suggestions, including orally and topically.