CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol available, around 99 percent CBD. The extract transforms from an oil into a white powder at the end stages of the refining process. CBD isolate is popular due to its versatility, ease of use, and because it is the only CBD product that is guaranteed THC-free.
Types of CBD Extractions
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs Isolate
All CBD products fall under one of three categories: full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate. Full spectrum CBD contains all other naturally occurring plant compounds (minor cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.), including less than .3 percent THC. The addition of THC is thought to enhance the overall effectiveness of the hemp oil.
However, not everyone wants THC in their CBD. The closest one can get to full spectrum and still be THC-free is broad spectrum. These oils contain all the same compounds found in a full spectrum product, but without THC.
CBD isolate is completely void of any other plant compounds, including THC. And unlike full and broad spectrum oils, isolate is a solid.
Why Choose a Powdered Concentrate
The Pros and Cons of CBD Isolate
THC free products may not be desirable to some CBD users, but are preferential to others. The limited amount of THC in hemp extracts will not get CBD users high, but consistent use of full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD may result in a failed drug test (Broad spectrum oils can contain an indeterminate amount of residual THC). Unlike broad spectrum oils, you can be certain an isolate is completely THC free, so it is the best option for consumers who want to avoid psychoactive ingredients or are concerned about drug testing.
Isolate is pure CBD available. Purity is desired by the pharmaceutical industry because it is easier to measure the effectiveness of a lone compound vs. multiple active ingredients working with or competing against each other. The only federally legal CBD drug, Epidiolex for childhood epilepsy, is made from isolate.
To highlight the purity of isolate, the second most concentrated form of CBD is distillate, a broad spectrum oil that is around 80 percent or more cannabidiol. While distillate is also considered a concentrate, other plant compounds remain in the final extraction.
CBD isolates blend well with edible and topical recipes. Because the concentrate is tasteless, you can cook with CBD isolate by sprinkling it on top of a dish, adding it to a storable olive oil infusion, or baking with it on low temperatures. Same goes for topicals—isolate mixes well with tinctures, creams, oils and more. Isolate can also be peppered on flower or other smokable herbs.
Isolate is usually sold by the gram (1000 milligrams). Because it is pure, 1 milligram of isolate equals 1 milligram of CBD. No math is involved. Dosing will vary from person to person and depends the purpose of use. For instance, an entire gram could be added to a topical but would be overkill added to a single-portion dish. It’s best to start low and then adjust accordingly.
Minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules work together to improve the overall result of a hemp extract, known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect does not apply to isolates since they are refined, pure compounds. Working alone doesn’t mean CBD isolate is ineffective. It is still a potent product, but any benefit from additional natural plant compounds are taken away.
Remember that one type of extract isn’t better than the next. Each form has its benefits, uses, and restrictions.
The Refinement Process
How is CBD isolate made?
Isolate, like all our CBD products, is derived from locally sourced Colorado-grown hemp. The hemp is processed in a CO2 extraction machine, yielding a cleaner oil compared to less expensive, solvent-based extraction methods such as alcohol. The CO2 crude oil is rich in CBD, minor cannabinoids CBG, CBN, CBC, and THC, terpenes, chlorophyll, lipids, and plant waxes.
The first two steps in isolating CBD from the crude extract are winterization and decarboxylation. Winterization removes lipids and plant waxes and decarboxylation converts the CBDa to CBD by heat and time. Winterized oil then goes through a triple pass fractional distillation process to remove chlorophyll, terpenes, and undesirable contaminants. Fractional distillation also allows for the concentration and separation of CBD from other minor cannabinoids.
The concentrated CBD fraction is then mixed with a non-polar solvent in a reactor. The solution is heated and cooled to precipitate out pure CBD in crystal form, the same way sugar precipitates out of water when making rock candy. The CBD precipitate is then washed with the same non-polar solvent in the reactor to purify the CBD of any contaminants. At this point the oil has converted to powder, which is placed into a vacuum oven for 48 hours to purge the isolate of all solvents that were used in the isolation process. The result is 99 percent pure solvent-free CBD isolate.
CBG Isolate and CBN Isolate
Other cannabinoids can be refined down into a pure state as well, not just CBD. We also offer CBG isolate and CBN isolate. CBG is desired because it is the precursor to other cannabinoids and is abundant in young plants. (Learn more about the differences on our CBD vs. CBG blog post.) It’s pricier because it’s rare, but it is thought to have similar benefits as CBD.
Many people choose CBN for its relaxing properties. It’s made from aging THC that breaks down to eventually become CBN.
CBG isolate and CBN isolate are measured and used in the same way as CBD isolate. They can be added to food, drinks, topicals and more.
CBD Isolate Tincture
It is also possible to buy CBD isolate tinctures. Isolate tinctures are blended with coconut or other carrier oils. They are usually taken sublingually, under the tongue, though it is possible to mix an isolate tincture with other ingredients, just like the powder version. But the dropper allows CBD users a THC free method that doesn’t require any mixing or creation work if they so choose.
CBD shatter is made with isolate that sets into a crystal-like form via time. Dabbing shatter gives a concentrated dose of CBD with high bioavailability, absorption rate. While isolate is tasteless and odorless, the CBD shatter is often re-infused with cannabis-derived terpenes to create flavor profiles and unique effects.
CBD Bath Bombs
Our isolate is used to make Vital You’s CBD bath bombs. Bath bombs are typically made with epsom salt, herbs and essential oils to moisturize skin and create pleasant, soothing aromas. The isolate adds an extra layer of relaxation. Research suggests that CBD can have an effect on sebocytes, oil producing cells. Other research suggests CBD helps inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.
What is transfer loss?
Transfer loss occurs when moving raw extracts from one container to another. When emptying a container, it can be difficult to get the entirety of the contents out. Because of this, the weights of raw materials may not be exact to the amount you purchased if you were to empty contents directly onto a scale. It may help to use a tool such as a rubber spatula to scrape the inside of the jar clean.
All raw materials are quality checked before shipment to ensure accurate weights and contents. When purchasing raw materials, each jar will come labeled with a tare weight. The tare weight will display how much the empty jar (with lid) weighs in grams before filling. To confirm you received the correct amount of raw material, set a scale to grams and zero it. Then place the jar with the lid on the scale. Subtract the weight displayed on the scale from the tare weight. This will tell you the weight of the raw material you received.
Isolates offer more variety of use than any other extract. They are the best option for those who want to avoid THC or are concerned about an upcoming drug test. Pure and versatile isolates are a great option for those who like to create their own mixtures or switch up their CBD routine in a multitude of formats.
Jamie Evans, aka The Herb Somm, is a trained wine scholar turned cannabis connoisseur. She was in the beverage industry for over 10 years and