Full Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

18 September 2018

By: Nicola Webster

Should you vape Full Spectrum CBD or CBD Isolate?

As we introduce our new Aztec Full Spectrum CBD e-liquids range, we examine the difference between Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate. 

Since the UK law changed in 2016 to recognise Cannabidiol (CBD) as a medicine, its popularity among people seeking a natural alternative to treat a wide range of conditions has skyrocketed.

Last year, due to massive demand, we introduced a range of high quality CBD e-liquids, and wrote a guide all about the benefits of vaping CBD - which has gone on to become the most popular page on our entire website!

The reviews we receive from our customers about the benefits they see from vaping CBD are amazing. As more people start to understand, and experience, how CBD can be used to alleviate their individual symptoms, we are often asked if anything else is available to enhance the effects of CBD.

In order to satisfy the needs of our customers, our research led us from CBD Isolate to Full Spectrum CBD.

What is CBD Isolate?

The range of Vape UK CBD e-liquids that we introduced last year is made from CBD Isolate. This means that only the cannabinoid known as Cannabidiol (CBD) is present in the vape liquid.

The CBD in our range is extracted from the hemp plant of the cannabis sativa family. Hemp contains much higher amounts of CBD than other plants in the cannabis genus, such as marijuana which is mainly grown for its THC rich buds (more on that later).

The CBD is purified upon extraction, and isolated from the other cannabinoid compounds.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

As the name suggests, Full Spectrum, also known as Whole Plant Extract, contains other cannabinoids that are found in the marijuana plant.

Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabigerol (CBG), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA) are just some of the additional cannabinoids that are present alongside CBD in a Full Spectrum extract.

Each cannabinoid offers different benefits for a broad range of conditions. However, it’s worth noting that CBD offers (almost all of) the same benefits as all of the other cannabinoids combined.

So, if this is the case, why would Full Spectrum be any more effective than CBD Isolate? The answer lies in the ‘Entourage Effect’.

What is the Entourage Effect?

The phenomenon known as the ‘entourage effect’ occurs when the many natural compounds of a plant interact together within the human body to produce a stronger impact than any single compound used in isolation.

Even though the individual compounds may in fact share the same beneficial uses, the entourage effect means that the results are multiplied. In this sense, whole plant CBD truly epitomises Aristotle’s famous phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’.

The entourage effect was first theorised in 1998 by two Israeli scientists when studying the effects of cannabinoids on the body’s own endocannabinoid system.

The theory was further developed by Wagner and Ulrich-Merzenich in 2009 who defined the four processes involved in whole plant extract synergy:

  • The ability to improve the absorption of active ingredients
  • The ability to affect multiple targets within the body
  • The ability to overcome bacterial defence mechanisms
  • The ability to minimise adverse side effects

In 2015, a study from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem was able to further debunk the argument that CBD Isolate was more concentrated, and therefore more effective, than Full Spectrum CBD.

The study involved treating two groups of mice - one group with CBD Isolate and one group with Full Spectrum CBD. The results proved that the Full Spectrum CBD group received faster and better relief; also that Full Spectrum CBD continued to provide relief for longer. The study concluded that Full Spectrum CBD is more effective at fighting pain and inflammation.

CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD - which should you choose?

We are in no way trying to discredit the efficacy of CBD Isolate - far from it. Our customers, and our colleagues, have reported incredible improvements to their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

There are many cases where the capabilities of CBD Isolate would be perfectly suited to an individual’s requirements. Also, some people may not be comfortable with the inclusion of lipids or Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their e-liquid.

THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid within the marijuana plant, and is classified as a Class B controlled drug in the UK. Full Spectrum CBD contains only trace amounts of THC and must be below the legal 0.2% range of certified hemp strains.

However, the presence of THC may still not sit well with all of our customers (for example - those who undergo drug testing at work), so we offer the CBD Isolate range as an alternative.

Today’s CBD takeaway

As research into the cannabis plant continues, and we discover more about what cannabinoids and terpenes can do for us, we will continue to expand our range and produce informative guides (like this one) to help you make informed decisions about CBD.

In the meantime, if you're looking to try vaping Full Spectrum CBD, or CBD Isolate, we have put together some handy starter kits that offer amazing value for money. Our Full Spectrum starter kits can be found here. Our CBD Isolate starter kits are here.

You can also get in touch with any questions you may have - we’re always here to help!


The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a particular medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

18 September 2018 Nicola Webster

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