October 25, 2021

CBD Isolate [Definitive Guide]

All Alone: The One & Only CBD Isolate Guide

It’s a CBD buyers’ market. This can mean an overwhelming menu of options — that includes CBD isolates.

Whether you’re new to the wide world of cannabidiol (CBD) or not, you may not have full clarity on what — exactly — isolate CBD is. Or how it fits in to the broader cannabis picture. This is not surprising, and not insurmountable!

Read or scan through this definitive guide to all things CBD isolate. We don’t get too technical or long-winded — it’s just the high-level stuff an average Joe or Jane would want to know in order to be an informed consumer. Like:

  • What isolate CBD is, how it’s made, and how it differs from full- and broad-spectrum CBD
  • CBD isolate’s benefits, uses, and pros and cons
  • Kinds of products available with CBD isolate
  • How and where to buy them
  • Legalities of CBD isolate

What Are CBD Isolates?

CBD is one of hundreds of natural compounds found in cannabis plants, like hemp. When CBD is extracted from hemp, many of these other substances — like THC, terpenes, and flavonoids — come along for the ride.

Isolate CBD is a kind of the CBD extract that’s been further processed to strip out those accompanying plant compounds. What’s left behind is 99%+ pure CBD.

Lacking terpenes and flavonoids, CBD isolate is rather devoid of color, flavor, and aroma. And, without THC, isolate CBD is non-psychoactive — ya can’t get high from it.

As a solo cannabinoid, isolate CBD forms large crystals called crystallines. It’s due to this structure that isolate CBD is sometimes called “diamonds” and is available as a powder.

Pure CBD Oil Extract — What’s That Mean?

A word on “purity.” This is a term that’s leveraged in a couple of ways, which can breed confusion.

Pure may denote that the CBD is on its own. It’s been so sequestered from the other cannabis compounds (e.g., other cannabinoids and phtyochemicals), that the extract is essentially 100% cannabidiol. This is isolate CBD.

But, pure can also refer to the absence of contaminants. For example, CBD that doesn’t have harmful toxins like pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, sewage runoff, etc. could be called pure. In this sense, pure could be applied to all types of CBD, not just CBD isolate.

So — you could have pure pure CBD! This would be contaminant-free isolate CBD.

How’s CBD Isolate Made?

Creating CBD isolate is a complicated and lengthy process. We’ll lay it out in the simplest terms, so your eyes don’t glaze over.

  1. CBD is extracted from hemp biomass. There are a few primary extraction methods used by commercial producers. (You can read more about the extraction process and techniques in From Seed To Sale: How CBD Oil Is Made.)
  2. The CBD concentrate then goes through multiple rounds of purification using rotary evaporation (and maybe also preparative chromatography) to draw out and discard the non-CBD cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.
  3. The last step is distillation, which is supposed to remove any of the chemicals or solvents used in previous steps.

Ta-daa! You have isolate CBD!

Hemp-Derived Vs Marijuana-Derived CBD

CBD can be produced from either hemp or marijuana. However, the hemp plant has much higher concentrations of this cannabinoid. And, hemp-derived CBD is the only version that’s federally legal (when it has ≤ 0.3% THC).

Given these factors — combined with the fact that all other cannabinoids and phytocompounds are removed from isolate CBD — it’s unlikely that marijuana would be used as the source material.

Isolate CBD Benefits

CBD boasts a long and well-documented legacy of healthful applications. While it’s efficacy as a therapeutic substance is still relatively recent, existing research has proven that CBD has many benefits for physical and mental well-being. Click over to Can CBD Benefit These 42 Health Concerns? Science Says Yes! Next to learn more.

CBD isolate may share many of the same positives as other types of CBD. (We’ll come back to this in a moment.) Here are some ways isolate CBD might help you:(1, 2)

  • Ease and counteract stress, anxiety, and PTSD
  • Relieve pain
  • Fight inflammation
  • Support better sleep
  • Alleviate addiction withdrawal symptoms
  • Fight cancer(3)

It’s important to note that — since isolate CBD doesn’t have other cannabis compounds. It may produce different or lesser outcomes than full- or broad-spectrum CBD. For example, a 2015 animal study found that CBD isolate’s effectiveness varied based on dosage and may not be as beneficial as full-spectrum CBD.(4)

CBD Isolate Vs Full-Spectrum CBD Or Broad-Spectrum CBD

We’ve touched on the different types of CBD a few times. To fully understand CBD isolates — one type of CBD — you have to be versed in the other two kinds. Being able to compare and contrast is useful when trying to pick the right products for yourself.

In a nutshell:

  • Full-spectrum CBD has all the original cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytocompounds it started with. This means it probably has some amount of THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBDhas all the inherent cannabis substance minus the THC. Processing has removed all but trace amounts (i.e., no more than 0.3%) THC.
  • Isolate CBD has been processed get rid of everything but the cannabidiol.

Head over to Different Types Of CBD: Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum & Isolateif you’d like more info.

Pros Of CBD Isolate Over Full-Spectrum CBD Or Broad-Spectrum CBD

Your choice of CBD type should match your needs and preferences. So, what might prompt you to pick isolate CBD? Here are some common motivators:

  • You don’t want to get high. No THC means no chance of a negative psychotropic reaction.
  • You don’t want to risk failing a drug test. Drug screening don’t look for CBD and won’t find THC metabolites since there are none in your body.
  • You live somewhere that outlaws THC. No all states allow CBD with THC.
  • You’re not a fan of the taste or smell of “regular” cannabis. A blander CBD has less of that hempy-weedy thing going on so it may be more palatable to you or easier to disguise in your eats and drinks.
  • You’re a “less is more” kinda person. You prefer to consume fewer overall compounds and isolate meets that criterion.
  • You like consistency.Much of the variability has been negated by eliminating the other elements.(5)

The Cons of Isolate CBD

With the potentially good comes the potentially bad. In case you’re wondering what folks perceive to be the downside of CBD isolate, take a look:

  • No entourage effect. Without other cannabinoids and plant compounds you won’t get the synergy that purportedly causes better results. This is a big reason for opting for full- or broad-spectrum CBD.
  • You won’t experience the THC lift. Some people like a bit of euphoria with their CBD!
  • It’s highly processed. Remember all those steps it takes to make isolate CBD? CBD isolates have gone through much more production — likely using more chemicals — than other types of CBD.

Is CBD Isolate Legal?

The short answer is: Yes, most probably. Here’s the LP pass….

As long as your isolate CBD is made from industrial hemp, it’s legal under federal law. But, national legislators left it up to local jurisdictions to establish specific regulations to govern all aspects of hemp and CBD. The net effect is that different states — and sometimes cities or tribal territories — have different laws.

This means that the rules around who can produce/sell/buy/possess/use CBD may vary from locale to locale. So, it’s always smart to know what’s OK in your area. Check out our CBD Laws section to see what’s what in your state.

Lastly, bear in mind that laws change. We recommend staying in the loop on the cannabis laws that impact you.

CBD Crystalline Isolate Oils & Other Available Products

Similar to other types of CBD, you’ll have no trouble finding a wide variety of CBD isolate products. Type “CBD isolate products” into your web browser and you’ll likely be served up a SERPful of:

  • Oils, tinctures, and drops
  • Gummies and chews
  • Capsules and softgels
  • Creams
  • Powders
  • Candies and other edibles
  • Vapables

Pretty much you’ll see that — with the addition of coming in powder form — CBD isolate is turned into the same bevy of products as full- and broad-spectrum CBD.

How To Use Isolate CBD

The way you incorporate isolate CBD into your life will depend on the kind of product you’ve selected as well as your needs and preferences.

  • CBD isolate products can be used as part of a daily regimen or on an as-needed basis, like after a particularly grueling workout.
  • Oils and powders can be added to foods and beverages. This is common practice because CBD isolate on its own has little personality.
  • Capsules, softgels, gummies, and chews are great for those who’re on-the-go or like pre-measured doses.

Where To Buy Your CBD Isolates

Isolate CBD is easy to find in stores and online. Since CBD is federally legal to ship across state borders, you don’t have to settle for what’s in your immediate vicinity. This means you have a ton of selection accessible to you!

How To Buy Isolate CBD

Once you’ve figured out what CBD isolate products you want, you’re gonna want to shop for them like a total pro. Follow our guidance and that’ll be a cinch.

  • Read the product label. Make sure the product is labeled as isolate CBD. Better yet, also look for it to say something along the lines of “Zero THC” or “No THC.”
  • Check the certificate of analysis. Verify on the COA that the product actually does not have any THC (or other cannabinoids).
  • Go for organic hemp. Only buy products that derive their CBD from organic American hemp, which is regarded as the purest and best quality.
  • Review the ingredients. If you’re concerned about the other things in your product, be sure to see what else is in there. Avoid things like harmful additives, binders, fillers, anything artificial or synthetic, etc. Opt for products with natural ingredients when possible.
  • Do your research. Ask around for recommendations and work with knowledgeable retails who can answer your product questions.

The Singular CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is cannabidiol extract that’s had all other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds removed. It’s at least 99% pure cannabidiol.

While it has many of the same wellness benefits as full- or broad-spectrum CBD, this type of CBD may have more limited effects because the other cannabis compounds were stripped out. You can’t get high from taking CBD isolate.

CBD is federally legal and permitted in all states. So, you’ll find an array of product formulations that feature isolate CBD in both brick-and-mortar on online shops.



  1. Montijo, S. (2020). The 7 Best CBD Isolate Products for 2021. Greatist. https://greatist.com/live/cbd-isolate#benefits
  2. Caporuscio, J. (2020). 7 benefits of CBD oil. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cbd-oil-benefits
  3. Urasaki, Y, et al. (2020). Potency Assessment of CBD Oils by Their Effects on Cell Signaling Pathways. Nutrients. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020357
  4. Gallily, R, et al. (2015). Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/pp.2015.62010
  5. Hudock, C. (2020). Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate: Meanings and Differences. New Frontier Data. https://newfrontierdata.com/cannabis-insights/full-spectrum-broad-spectrum-and-isolate-meanings-and-differences

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