What are the benefits of full spectrum vs CBD isolate?

June 5, 2023

This is a question we get asked all the time, not least of all by people who want to make sure they extract every ounce of goodness from their new supplementation regime. And honestly, who can blame them? When you want to look and feel on top of the world, the last thing you want to do is risk spending your time and money taking a sub-optimal supplement. Sometimes a little extra research is all it takes to really hit the jackpot in terms of your health and wellness, so why not take your time and dive right into our blog’s latest addition?

First things first, we need to define some terms so it’s nice and clear what we’re actually talking about. When you search for medical cannabis oil online, you’ll find a lot of talk about THC, especially if you’re diving into the complex world of medical cannabis UK law. The reason for this is that THC is the psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant — it’s what makes you ‘get high’ when you smoke enough.

CBD isolate is cannabis oil that has had THC, and all other active ingredients found in the cannabis plant, scientifically removed. Only trace amounts that are too small to be able to do anything to your psychological state or brain function remain. And if you buy your CBD from our trusted Londonderry CBD brand, you’ll be able to sleep easy knowing that your supplements have been third party tested to confirm the levels of THC. Ideal when you want to make sure you trust everything you put into your body because you’re only consuming what’s written right there on the label!

Full-spectrum CBD is a rather different animal. It contains small quantities of other compounds called flavonoids and terpenes, as well as THC. In many cases the level of the THC has been reduced in the lab by skilled scientists to reduce it’s ability to get you high, making it different to smoking cannabis. That said, you will still be taking in more THC than you would if you opted for a fully tested CBD isolate product from our Londonderry CBD brand. The question then is: which one is better for you?

Research into the different impact full-spectrum and isolate have on the body is ongoing and is set to carry on for many years. The reason for this is that it’s something of an open-ended question because of the differences in individual physiology. Age, weight, metabolism and underlying brain structure all play a role in determining the impact CBD has on any given individual. There is all the complex world of past experiences and how they’ve impacted your psychological state across time that has to be factored in. Clearly there is still so much work to be done, but we can still learn a lot by looking at what scientists are largely in agreement on so far.

Of particular note is something called the entourage effect. This is where all of the various cannabis compounds in a full spectrum medical cannabis oil combine with one another to provide a holistic effect in the body. Many people liken this to the idea of allowing nature to know best because it has allowed the cannabis plant to evolve with all of these various compounds interacting with one another. Understanding how they interact at scale across an entire population of CBD users is complex and something that is still very much in its infancy.

Some scientists have presented preliminary studies that appear to sure the entourage effect is real and helps with the uptake of CBD. This would indicate full spectrum solutions would be both more effective and more efficient when it comes to helping users experience the full range of benefits. However, it’s really important to note that this is far from concrete evidence and more work is ongoing. That said, it’s certainly interesting to hear ways in which science hints that nature very much knows best.

There are also plenty of variables we need to be aware and to acknowledge we don’t fully know how to handle them right now. The first is to what degree should THC be suppressed in a full spectrum solution? If it is not suppressed at all then you may as well just smoke cannabis and get high. If you remove it completely, all the way do to residual trace amounts, you’re doing basically the same thing as an isolate solution. If it’s the presence of THC itself that helps the body take up and process the CBD, how much is enough to get the optimal effect?

If you’re not concerned about getting high, and are already fully convinced by the benefits of the entourage effect, then there seems little use in searching for medical cannabis oil online. You may as well just smoke cannabis and be done with it. But if you want to experience the health and wellness benefits of the cannabis plant without the psychoactive impact, it’s a tricky balancing act to get right. You then also have the issue of the other cannabis compounds and what they’re doing.

Only THC is psychoactive, but what scientists are yet to fully understand is the role the other compounds play in regulating the mind’s ability to take up and process the CBD. And if these roles are not yet fully understood, how can you set a level to which you want to process these compounds down to? Surely you have to leave them exactly as they would occur in nature, or fully remove them all the way down to trace levels as in an isolate solution.

This seemingly simple comparison that starts of appearing to be a THC vs no THC debate shows you just how complex supplementation quickly becomes. There are other ingredients involved, they all play different roles, and they exist in the natural world in what appears to be a delicate balance. The moment we start altering this balance is the moment we lose confidence in precisely what the solution will do. But there is a simple, safe and legal path forward.

While we’re actively involved and playing a part in figuring out how cannabis can help the mind and body on many different levels, we also preach caution. If you are in doubt, or have any misgivings, opt for the isolate solution. CBD’s impact on health and wellness, and lack of side effects, is well known and has been characterised in detail by scientists all over the world. By taking it without the complications of the entourage effect, even though it may boost supplementation results further, you can go for a conservative option that’s proven to work. Ideal if you want to have complete peace of mind about what you’re putting into your body from day one. For those of you who want to dig deeper into the issue, make sure you keep up to date with our blog. We’ll be bringing you the latest scientific thinking on complex issues like the entourage effect, allowing you to make informed choices the simple way. Ideal when you want to unlock everything nature has to offer.

Back to Blog