What is CBD Isolate and What Is It Used For?

  • CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that contains pure CBD.
  • CBD crystalline is surprisingly versatile when it comes to consumption.
  • There are many benefits to using pure CBD powder over other forms of CBD.
  • While preparing CBD isolate for consumption, all other cannabinoids and plant impurities must be removed.
  • Isolate can be dabbed on a traditional dab rig.

Following the mainstream emergence of cannabidiol (CBD) products, there’s another compelling option out there for those who want to experience the therapeutic effects of CBD without even the smallest trace of THC. It may not receive the same amount of hype as CBD lattes or infused facial moisturizers, 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 get you stoned, that doesn’t mean it’s completely free of THC. According to federal law, established following the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp plants and hemp-derived products are legally permitted to contain trace amounts of THC — 0.3% or less to be exact. 

 

Thankfully, for those who want to dabble in the world of CBD, but get cold feet after hearing about the presence of THC in hemp-derived products, there’s still a way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of this compound without other unwanted plant parts. CBD isolate could be the right product for you.  

Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

What is CBD Isolate? 

CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that contains 99% pure CBD. A traditional extraction process is used to remove all the active compounds from the cannabis plant, followed by a refinement process that strips away all other phytocannabinoids, including THC, and any plant matter, leaving behind nothing but 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 dull demeanor — there are actually a number of reasons to get excited about CBD isolate and all that it has to offer.   

 

You can instantly differentiate between CBD isolate powder and CBD crystals. The former is broken down into small grains of CBD to create a powdery texture that are sometimes re-infused with terpenes after the initial extraction process is complete. In the pure crystalline form, the CBD crystals are larger and thicker.   


Benefits of CBD Isolate

It might not seem as appealing as the well-packaged CBD oil or topicals, but CBD crystalline is surprisingly versatile when it comes to consumption, and there are a number of benefits to using this pure powder over other conventional forms of CBD. 

Zero THC

For starters, true CBD isolates should 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 possibly cause a positive drug screening result. 

Many Modes of Consumption

As we’ll discuss in detail below on how to use CBD isolates, another clear-cut advantage of using CBD isolates is the many inventive ways it can be prepared for use. Whether it’s sublingual administration or mixing it with food and drinks, this crystalline powdered CBD can be concocted into various methods of consumption. 

Easier to Dose

It’s also incredibly easy to measure CBD isolate dosages, as there’s nothing else to account for aside from the pure CBD crystals. With other CBD-based products, such as broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil, the cannabinoid is mixed with other ingredients, making it more difficult to quantify the exact amount of CBD that is being consumed.  

The Case Against CBD Isolate

While CBD isolate might sound like the best approach to CBD for you, keep in mind that there are also a key disadvantage to 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 therapeutic effects of each compound involved.


How to Make CBD Isolate

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. When the CBD extraction process takes place, a number of components are removed from the hemp plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, as well as fats, lipids, and other compounds. After that, the CBD compound needs to be separated from the rest of the extraction, which is done through a series of washing and separation processes. 

 

The process begins with the initial wash, which is usually done with a mixture of hexane, an extracting hydrocarbon, and acetic acid. Once these chemical solvents are combined, the next step is the winterization process, effectively separating the lipids, waxes, and fats from extracts, followed by the removal of impurities and unwanted plant particles. These chemicals then need to be removed from the resulting extract. Rotary evaporators and falling-film units are devices that utilize heat and pressure to carefully separate solvents from compounds.   

 

From here, the remaining cannabis compounds need to be refined even further through preparative chromatography, a separation process that separates cannabinoids by putting them through various chemicals at different speeds. Again, because additional chemicals were introduced, they must be removed via distillation before the final product can be prepared for consumption. 

 

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 ways:

Sublingual

To take CBD isolate sublingually, you can apply the CBD powder directly underneath your tongue and hold the CBD 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 and liver to provide more immediate and effective relief. 

Create Custom CBD Oil or Topicals

If you want to take the DIY route, you can also mix CBD isolate with a carrier oil, such as medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil or olive oil, to make your own CBD oil. This will allow you to enjoy the convenience of more conventional CBD products while still maintaining full control over the CBD dosage. For topicals, infuse the CBD isolate with skin oils and apply the homemade concoction on your skin to deal with localized areas of pain. 

Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Inhalation

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 on a traditional oil rig. 

Ingestion

CBD crystalline can be measured out and put into capsules or pills, allowing you to ingest an accurately measured dosage. 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 source, ensuring that your isolate doesn’t contain any THC, additional plant materials, or other impurities.