Meet Our Ops Mastermind: Exploring CBD Oil vs. Isolates [Part 3]

Next up in our conversation with our extractionist and formulator extraordinaire, Chase Allen, we’re diving into the nitty-gritty of the world of CBD oil and isolates. What’s the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate? How do you choose between the three? 


All that and more – read on below. And if you’re catching up, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series. 




Let’s get into the difference between w CBD oils and isolates. Can you describe the difference between the two, and which you feel is more beneficial?


Full-spectrum extracts and isolates are concentrates that sit on opposite ends of a processing spectrum. The full-spectrum extract will have the vast majority, if not all of, the full profile of what’s originally in it. It’ll match closely to what’s in the actual plant or flower. When you take something that’s been formulated with a full-spectrum extract, you’re ingesting a similar active ingredient profile to the original plant.


On the other hand, with isolates, the creation process is different. You have to go through some heavy-duty solvent extraction methodology to strip away everything besides the CBD. CBD Isolate is a white crystalline powder that is composed of 99% CBD – almost pure CBD, which may sound like a better option if you’re approaching this without any experience. But you’ve taken the CBD portion out of that whole suite of medicinal compounds that exist in the flower – you took one part of the team, and you’re expecting it to do the same thing that the entire flower, 20 to 30 to 42 parts of it, would do.


Scientists are coming up with new cannabinoids that exist that all work together to produce the effects you largely hear about. There are numerous clinical studies that show that taking a full-spectrum product requires a much lower dose than taking isolate. They’re looking at 10-100x the amount of CBD that you’d use in an isolate compared to a full-spectrum product.


So in my opinion, a full-spectrum product is the way to go. The only situation we really run into with folks getting into CBD is if they’re being drug-tested, because full-spectrum products have small amounts of THC. The THC is legally below the limit of 3% by weight, so it’s unlikely that you’d fail, but it’s possible. So with customers like police, nurses, Caltrans – anyone being drug-tested regularly – it’s hard to recommend that they don’t take it, but they need to know that they may not pass.


What about Broad Spectrum CBD? 

There does exist a middle ground: broad spectrum CBD. This is when they’ve taken out the THC component, but left in some of the other minor cannabinoids. This gives you somewhat of an Entourage effect with those cannabinoids working with CBD, rather than just CBD by itself.


I think you see Isolate products much more because it makes life easy from a manufacturing standpoint. When I formulate a full-spectrum tincture, I need to do so with all of the compounds involved. When someone’s formulating a crystalline white crystalline powder, that’s only one ingredient – it’s much easier to do.



The spectrum of CBD oils that exist is vast – and there are numerous options available for you to try. At California Craft, we create full-spectrum CBD oils that are extracted from sustainably grown, cannabinoid-rich hemp. We believe full-spectrum is the most powerful option for medicinal healing and a true sense of calm. You can check out our full lineup of products here.  


Part 4 of our series is up next – keep an eye out on the California Craft blog