Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate

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How many years has the CBD trend been cruising along? Amazingly, even though CBD can be found in diverse products such as shampoo, toothpaste, chocolate, mascara, and bath bombs, lots of people still believe CBD can get you high.

Spoiler alert: it can’t.

Per passage of the Federal 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD cannot contain more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. You’re more likely to get drunk from drinking a few swigs of cough syrup than you are getting high from chugging many bottles of CBD. (But please don’t try either of those at home.)

In comparison, medicinal marijuana dispensaries sell products that contain 20% or more THC. That percentage, dear friends, will most definitely get you high.

We both experienced awesome benefits over the last several years from the cannabis sativa plant. (CBD can be extracted from marijuana or hemp, both of which are in the cannabis sativa family.)

So when it came to doing the research on which type of CBD to market, one which will offer the most potential benefits to our customers, we didn’t think about it strictly from a “Will it get you high” marketing perspective.

If we had solely based our decision on that factor alone, we would have produced a CBD isolate. You see, CBD isolate contains no trace of THC whatsoever. While that may sound like a good thing if you don’t like the high associated with THC, as you’ll learn below, CBD isolate is not nearly as potentially therapeutic as full spectrum CBD.

Now that that long-winded intro is out of the way, let’s explore the differences between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.

The Entourage Effect Isn’t Just For HBO

The wide variety of products mentioned at the beginning contain CBD isolate, which contains only the isolated CBD molecule. But there’s more than one cannabinoid (which is what CBD stands for) compound. There’s CBDV, CBG, and CBD to name a few.

Full spectrum CBD, which is most commonly found in oil/drops/tincture products (those 3 terms basically are interchangeable) means that the product contains all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant.

But there’s more to the hemp story than CBD. Full spectrum CBD also contains compounds called terpenes. Terpenes are natural antioxidants that protect the cannabis sativa plant from voracious insects and animal grazers. (Too bad, it would be amusing to see stoned cows.) The same characteristics in terpenes that protect a wide variety of plants, not just cannabis sativa, may also contribute to our health.

Although CBD gets all the glory, terpenes such as the ones listed in every one of our batch reports (see example: batch #5) for our CBD Drops may play a vital role in improving your sense of well-being.

“The sum of full spectrum CBD is greater than its parts.”

“Full Spectrum CBD delivers ‘The Entourage Effect.”

These might be trite expressions in the world of CBD but they are entirely accurate.

Full Spectrum = Multivitamin. CBD Isolate = One Vitamin

To understand what this means, consider the analogy of taking a whole-food multivitamin. (Because we all know synthetic things might not be as good as the natural choice.) Rather than taking 50 different individual vitamins, the vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin work synergistically. This means that when the compounds are combined, their physiological actions are more potent than as a stand-alone ingredient.

Here’s another way of looking at it. If you were to look at the ingredients label of a green, leafy veggie like spinach, there might only be a couple nutrients that appear impressive in terms of nutrient density (in the case of spinach, those would be vitamins A and C). But the nutrition label doesn’t tell you the whole story. Plants contain hundreds of phytochemicals that contribute to health.

Full spectrum CBD is the whole plant extract with all the goodies intact. CBD isolate: that’s like a single vitamin. Taking CBD isolate might be better for your health than drinking a Slurpee, but why bother?

Full Spectrum vs Isolate: Which Contains More THC?


…Unless you don’t want any THC whatsoever. Which brings us back to where we started. If you’re scared that taking full spectrum CBD might show up in a drug test for work, sure, taking CBD isolate might set your mind more at ease because it contains absolutely no THC.

But our advice is before you start using CBD isolate, talk to your human resources director about your company’s policy on CBD. Again, 0.3% THC is not nearly enough to make you feel high. And as you can see from our lab reports, our CBD Drops consistently measure less than 0.3% THC.

Speaking of setting your mind at ease, which is more effective for anxiety, depression, neurological conditions and pain?

What Works Better: Full Spectrum CBD or CBD Isolate?

As you may have guessed by now, we’re biased in favor of full spectrum. But before introducing Max & Steven’s to market, we meticulously researched, well, the research on CBD. And there’s no question that full spectrum CBD is more potentially therapeutic than CBD isolate. There are three reasons for this.

The first one, you already know about. (See the Entourage Effect above.) Cannabinoids and terpenes assist the body in achieving and maintaining homeostasis (balance). These compounds have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. The different CBD compounds in terpenes that you get from full spectrum CBD Oil feeds the body’s internal endocannabinoid system, which is like the body’s homeostasis superhighway.

In comparison, CBD isolate is like a tiny cracker for your endocannabinoid system.

Another reason that CBD isolate is ineffective is because it’s typically added to products with several other ingredients. Usually, these products fail to list the amount of active CBD. Furthermore, the CBD in these products do not get tested by a third-party company for pesticides, heavy metals and toxic fungus.

And a third reason why we’re bashing CBD isolate is because it doesn’t get absorbed well. Even if you find a quirky pancake mix with CBD isolate, it doesn’t get absorbed well in the digestive tract. To maximize absorption, it’s best to use CBD under the tongue (sublingual swishing).

In all fairness to CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD on its own doesn’t get absorbed very well by the gut without some fat. That’s why we add MCT oil to our CBD Drops.

Full Spectrum vs Isolate: What’s Cheaper?

If you want to save money, go for the isolate. But like with anything else in life, with CBD, you get what you pay for.

Max & Steven’s Full Spectrum CBD is grown outdoors on an organic hemp farm in North Carolina, using best-practices. No pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides, no heavy metals, ever! Only pure CBD with all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes intact.


Do you feel empowered now? We hope so. Now you’re armed with the knowledge it takes to discern whether or not the CBD product you’re considering buying is sh*t or legit.

We have our full spectrum CBD rigorously tested because CBD is not regulated by the FDA. We also have our names and faces on the product. We’d only be daring enough to do that if we stand behind our product 100%, which we do!

Finally, isolating compounds is what the pharmaceutical industry has been doing for the last 100 years or so. And while medications have no doubt saved many lives, each year the side effects of isolated compounds have sickened or killed thousands. Not to say that CBD isolate will harm you, but do you get the picture? If you want the best possible outcome for your well-being, stick with the full portfolio that Mother Nature provides in the hemp plant.

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