So which one should I use? Full spectrum or CBD Isolate?
Full Spectrum generally refers to CBD oil products that not only contain CBD, but also contain some terpenes and other prominent cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, CBC and even some THC (under the Federal legal limit). These will be in naturally occurring ratios and extracted from the plant. But they are also occasionally added back into products as an isolated form to omit the full cannabinoid profile. For those that get drug tested, Full Spectrum is something to be cautious about if your company or organization doesn’t do threshold testing, or has a zero tolerance rule (such as with the Military). The THC found in full spectrum hemp (NOT marijuana) products is minimal (less than 0.3%), but can still trigger false positive marijuana drug tests (where threshold testing comes into play), so it’s responsible to know what your company policy is, and even go the extra mile to gain HR approval, if necessary.
With Full Spectrum CBD oil products, you have the advantage of something called the “Entourage Effect.” This is where all the cannabinoids and terpenes are working synergistically together, increasing obtaining homeostasis (body balance), quicker, which is something that Isolate products will lack. However, desired results will vary, as everyone’s body chemistry is different.
When seeking out Full Spectrum products, you may come across some called “Broad Spectrum” that claim to have 0% THC. It’s important to verify lab tests on these products to make sure that this is not a false claim (and there’s A LOT of those out there!) and you’re encouraged to still exercise caution with these products if drug testing is a concern. These products have sometimes gone through additional processing to try to isolate and remove as much THC as possible, while still maintaining some of the other cannabinoids and terpenes. Without the third party testing certificate of analysis (COA), you don’t really know.
CBD Isolate (THC-free) is typically the CBD oil product of choice for those who get drug tested or are sensitive to other cannabinoids such as THC. Products labeled as Isolate will generally be highlighted as being 99+% pure CBD. Usually, these products will have nothing but CBD in them because the CBD has literally been isolated from everything else. You can find pre-made isolate oils that typically consist of a carrier oil, such as MCT Oil, infused with the crystalline isolate powder. CBD full spectrum or THC-free should only be mixed with hemp seed oil for highest purity and natural preservation. You can also find the “raw” crystalline powder or slabs (a form of concentrate) on its own in some states.
While there is much debate on which form is better, this 2015 study leans in favor of Full Spectrum products, especially for chronic pain management. There are many medical professionals that believe that these other cannabinoids are necessary to take full advantage of what cannabis has to offer for the body. However, we are all different and it comes down to the individual user, consistent use, their needs, ailments, conditions, etc. If drug testing is a concern, you’re encouraged to use THC-free instead of Full Spectrum. But if your company performs threshold testing for a false positive drug test, you are protected under Federal law.