CBD isolate is a form of CBD that doesn’t contain any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the compound in cannabis that causes a high).
It’s a good choice for people who would like to try CBD but don’t want to ingest any THC, as many other CBD products contain trace amounts of it.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about CBD isolate, including its uses, benefits and risks.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of a number of chemicals called cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis plant.
THC is also a cannabinoid – but unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have any intoxicating or psychotropic effects.
In recent years CBD has seen a boom in popularity, and CBD products are now widely available to buy. It’s sold in a variety of forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, vape products, gummies, cosmetics and beverages.
This popularity boom has been driven by increasing interest in CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits, and research is underway around the world to understand its effects.
What is CBD isolate?
Isolate is the purest form of naturally occurring CBD. It comes in the form of a crystalline solid or powder. Depending on the extraction process used, high-quality isolates are usually over 99% pure.
In the UK, CBD products are legally allowed to contain trace amounts of THC (up to 1mg per pack). However, unlike full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products, CBD isolate doesn’t contain any other compounds or substances.
Manufacturers use various extraction processes to remove the active compounds from the cannabis plant. The extracted substance is then refined further to strip away all other compounds, including THC, leaving behind the isolate in crystal form.
The crystals are sometimes ground into a powder to make them easier to add to products or consume. This is often the preferred form of CBD for use in wellness and cosmetic products, due to the fact that it’s highly concentrated, tasteless and odourless.
How is it made?
CBD isolate is generally extracted from industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis plant that contains little to no THC. There are a number of different extraction processes used to isolate CBD from hemp, including supercritical carbon dioxide and ethanol extraction.
These processes remove other compounds from the hemp plant, including terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, fats, waxes and lipids. The CBD is then refined further through a series of solvent washes and separation processes.
After all the other compounds, impurities and solvents have been removed, the result is over 99% pure CBD crystals.
How to use CBD isolate
CBD isolate is added to many commercially available products, but you can also buy it in its pure form. Here are some of the most popular ways to use it:
- Make your own CBD oils or topicals: you can make your own custom CBD oil by mixing CBD isolate with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Taking the DIY route will enable you to maintain full control over your CBD dosage – with commercially available CBD oils it can sometimes be difficult to work out exactly how much CBD you’re getting.
To make your own topicals, simply add some isolate to your favourite skin oil and apply it to your skin. If you’re not sure how much CBD to use, check out our article on finding the right dosage
- Vape it: CBD isolate can be dissolved in e-liquid and vaped. E-liquid with a PG (propylene glycol) base tends to mix better with CBD crystals – simply dissolve the desired amount into a PG e-liquid by shaking or gently heating
- Take it sublingually: as with CBD oil, isolate can be taken sublingually (under the tongue). To do this, put the CBD powder directly beneath your tongue and keep it there for around a minute. The CBD will be absorbed through your mucous membranes, reaching your bloodstream quicker than with other methods
- Ingest it: you can ingest CBD isolate by putting it into homemade capsules. To make them, you’ll need a capsule filling machine and some empty capsules, both of which can be easily found online. Again, this is a good way to accurately measure your dosage. You can also add it to food or drinks.
Some sources maintain that CBD has lower bioavailability when ingested orally compared to other methods. This means it may be more difficult for your body to absorb into the bloodstream. Adding it to a carrier oil before ingesting may increase its bioavailability by enabling it to permeate the gastrointestinal tract more easily
What are the benefits of CBD isolate?
There are many different CBD products available – so why use isolate? Here are some of the benefits:
- Versatility: as we explored in the previous section, there are many different ways to use CBD isolate. This means you can buy one product and try out multiple methods of consumption, enabling you to find out what works for you. Whether you want to take it sublingually, add it to food or drinks or make your own DIY topicals, CBD isolate is a one-stop-shop
- Ease of dosing: due to its purity, it’s much easier to accurately measure your dosage with CBD isolate compared to other CBD products. Other products mix CBD extract with other ingredients, making it difficult to measure the exact amount of CBD you’re consuming.
Since it is more than 99% pure, you know that 1mg of isolate essentially equals 1mg of CBD. 1mg of a less concentrated extract may have, for example, 0.5mg of CBD and 0.5mg of terpenes and other compounds. This makes CBD isolate very useful if you want specific dosages.
- Zero THC: CBD isolate is a good option for those who want to be sure they aren’t consuming any THC, as many other products may contain trace amounts
Are there any risks?
CBD isolate is generally acknowledged to be safe and well-tolerated by the body. However, in some studies, CBD has caused side effects in some people, including:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
- Mood changes
Research suggests that CBD may sometimes interact with other medications. It’s advisable to speak to your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re taking any medication.