CBD oil is a food supplement derived from hemp plants, containing the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD.

Although a lot of people don’t know this, there are different types of CBD oil with different properties.

CBD oil can either be full spectrum, broad spectrum, or made with CBD isolate. Although the difference may sound small, in actual fact these differences make a huge impact on the nature of the CBD oil.

We’ve already covered the difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD oil in a previous article, which you can read here.

In this article we explain the difference between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate, so you can be in the know and choose the right CBD oil for you and your family.

Related: What is CBD Oil?

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The difference between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate

The main difference between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate is the chemical composition.

‘Full spectrum’ CBD oil contains a full spectrum of all the phytocannabinoids (the scientific term for cannabis compounds) that naturally occur in hemp and cannabis plants. That includes cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, antioxidants and plant fibre.

CBD isolate, on the other hand, is 99.99% pure CBD, and contains no other organic material besides CBD. All the other compounds listed above have been removed to create a ‘purified’ CBD extract.

Related: The Difference Between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil.

What does full spectrum CBD oil look like?

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There are also striking visual differences between full spectrum CBD extract and CBD isolate. Full spectrum CBD extract comes in the form of a thick, dark greenish-brown paste. It has an earthy smell and taste and has a natural appearance and texture.

This paste is then used to make CBD oils. Oils made from full spectrum CBD extract are green or brown in colour and are opaque (to varying degrees depending on the strength).

Related: The Difference Between CBD Oil and Cannabis Oil.

What does CBD isolate look like?


CBD isolate comes in the form of a white powder or crystal. This makes the extract quite controversial because it resembles some class A drugs. This makes is much less popular with consumers, for obvious reasons. It also gives CBD isolate a very clinical quality.

CBD isolate can be dissolved in oil and water, and so is used to make CBD vape liquids as well as CBD oil. However, CBD isolate does tend to recrystalise after a period of time and the CBD crystals can sink to the bottom of the oil or solution.

CBD oil that is made from CBD isolate looks very different to full spectrum CBD oil. It is transparent, with virtually no taste or smell. The colour varies depending on what the isolate is dissolved in.

Related: 10 Delicious Ways to Add CBD Oil to Your Diet.

How is full spectrum CBD oil made?

The difference between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate is down to how the extracts are made. The way hemp plants are extracted and processed is what determines what type of CBD extract you’ll end up with.

Full spectrum CBD extract is made simply by taking the raw material, hemp plants, and using supercritical CO2 extraction methods to extract the CBD. Liquid CO2 is used as a solvent to separate the CBD out from the rest of the plant, leaving you with a CBD rich extract, in the form of the paste mentioned above.

This CBD paste still contains other cannabinoids, including THC. It also contains plant compounds that have known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, called terpenes and flavonoids. It also contains a host of other compounds including essential fatty acids, amino acids, essential vitamins and minerals and chlorophyll.

This paste can be used as a food supplement on its own, or made into a CBD oil by mixing it with a carrier, usually hemp oil.

Related: How is CBD Oil Made?

How is CBD isolate made?

The reason why CBD isolate is so different to full spectrum CBD oil is because it is much more processed than full spectrum extract.

When it comes to making isolate, full spectrum CBD paste undergoes further purification using chromatography. During this process, all other organic matter is removed from the extract, creating a 99.99% pure CBD powder.

You might be wondering why anyone would want to process a natural material so heavily. Well, there are reasons that we’ll explain below.

Related: 7 Uses of Hemp that Could Change the World.

Full spectrum vs CBD isolate: the pros and cons

The reason why CBD isolate was developed is because it allows CBD producers to create an almost 100% pure extract. That means that you can make CBD oils that are much stronger than is available in nature.

In comparison, a full spectrum CBD oil’s maximum CBD yield is around 30%, since it still contains so many other cannabis compounds.

Whether or not full spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate is better depends on your outlook. In the medical and medical research community, CBD isolate means that doses can be measured accurately, and extraneous variables can be reduced.

Some people believe that CBD is the only real player when it comes to CBD oil, and so a purified CBD extract seems the obvious choice. But the reality is there are many other cannabis compounds that contribute to CBD oil as a food supplement, and these should not be treated as obsolete. In our opinion, it is more important to retain the integrity of the plant than to maximise CBD percentage yield.

There is also insufficient evidence to conclude whether or not a higher percentage of CBD is better for supporting a healthy body and mind.

At Aura CBD Oil UK our ethos has always been that the less processed the CBD extract is, the better. That is why our entire range of CBD oils, pastes, balms and edibles are 100% organic, full spectrum, whole plant extracts.

Where to buy organic, full spectrum CBD oil in the UK

At Aura we have helped thousands of people create their own wellbeing, naturally. We believe in affordable, organic, full spectrum extracts. All of our CBD extracts are made from the highest-grade European hemp.

If you have any questions about CBD oil, you can email us at info@auracbdoil.com or send us a message on Facebook.

If you liked this article be sure to check out our blog where we upload new content every week to keep you informed about the world of CBD.

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