Full Spectrum vs CBD Isolate: Knowing the Difference (and why it matters)

There seems to be a lot of confusion around the difference between full-spectrum and isolated CBD—and more importantly, why it matters. Even if you already know what CBD is, it might not be clear to you that not all CBD products are created equally.

As CBD becomes more mainstream, it’s important to understand the different options available to you in the marketplace. Knowing how to choose what’s right for you is key to finding the best products your money can buy.   

First, An Example

Let’s start with a simple example to help illustrate the difference between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate!

Take your everyday lemon. You don’t see people walking around drinking lemon juice to get their daily vitamins, although lemons are a great source of vitamin C. To get to those vitamins first you extract the juice and from that juice, you will find vitamin C.

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, but you won’t find us grabbing one to snack on!

Now let’s look at hemp! The full hemp plant is like a lemon, you’re not about to start snacking on some stalks or slices. When you breakdown hemp you will get the “lemon juice” or as we like to call full-spectrum hemp extract. Then, finally, that vitamin C you get is similar to the CBD found in these extracts.   

How Does CBD Compare?

Hemp—like every other plant and fruit you’ll find—is made up of a number of different parts. Not only will you find CBD but also more than 400 other compounds—such as CBD, THC, and terpenes. The unique combination of these compounds makes up the cannabinoid profile of the plant—as each plant strain contains its own unique cannabinoid profile.   

Like the ordinary lemon, when consumed in its original plant state you also consume the secondary compounds that make a lemon a whole fruit. In order to use this plant in other applications, however, all of those “extra” compounds must be extracted. You wouldn’t want to rub a body cream with plant stems in it all over your body, would you?

Baby hempllings starting to grow

These extracts fall into two categories: full-spectrum and isolate. A product labelled ‘full spectrum’ is very much like drinking lemon juice. Full-spectrum CBD extract contains varying levels of different compounds and cannabinoids—not only CBD. These extracts will also contain additional compounds like CBG, CBD-A, THC, and THC-A (in small amounts).

Unlike full-spectrum, CBD Isolate is pure cannabidiol extracted out to its simplest, cleanest form. You can think of it like the vitamin C supplement. CBD isolate contains no “extras.”

Why The Type of Extract Matters

Different products require different types of ingredients. When it comes to vaping, things can get tricky. As most experienced vapers will say, hardware can be finicky sometimes.

Most full spectrum vape liquids leave residue behind when vaped. For that reason, you will typically only find them in disposable single-use cartridges. If you’re not careful, these liquids could burn out a coil after just a few puffs, so they are not recommended for most refillable e-cigarettes.

Genuine CBD isolate guarantees a clean, safe product that can be used in any vape setup—with zero worries. Using a multi-step extraction and purification process, CBD is extracted into a clean, pure isolated compound. 

When buying CBD isolate, be sure to check the product’s certificates of analysis. This guarantees that you’re getting what you expect when you buy.

The Harmony Difference

At Harmony, we create our famous CBD e-liquids using 98%+ Pure CBD isolate. Harmony CBD is rigorously tested for quality and we only add unique terpene blends so you get the freshest, most trustworthy products available on the market today.     

The different types of extracts can be confusing for even the most experienced of users. Every day there seems to be a new CBD product hitting shelves. If you still have questions leave a comment below or send us an email :-). We love to chat!

About Alana

A cannabis and equine enthusiast hailing from Long Island with a cunning concoction of adventurous global experiences. You can find Alana curled up in the sun, joint in one hand and a book in the other.

5 thoughts on “Full Spectrum vs CBD Isolate: Knowing the Difference (and why it matters)

  1. Ivan Green says:

    In contrast to isolates, full-spectrum CBD products contain a full range of cannabinoids. When the cannabinoids are extracted from hemp, the entire extract is made into a consumable product, meaning that you are getting a healthy dose of all the cannabinoids that were in the plant.

  2. yourmail says:

    I have found quite a lot of useful info on your website this page in particular. Many thanks for posting.

    1. Joe Marris says:

      Hi there,

      Thanks so much for your message, we’re delighted that we could be of help to you 🙂

      All the best,

  3. Youswindel says:

    That’s absolutely not good, You just make it sound like something desirable that you use the cheap CBD Isolate from China to make the vapes.
    Nothing about the cheap Isolates is good. A good Produkt is a full spectrum product.

    1. Joe Marris says:

      Hi there,

      Thanks so much for your message.

      Firstly, I would like to assure you that we do not use cheap CBD isolate from China. We use CBD which is grown from hemp with absolutely no pesticides and is grown on a family farm based in Europe.

      Secondly, vaping CBD isolate is safer as it only contains CBD, which we can prove in our certificates of analysis which can be found here:

      Full-spectrum CBD can often contain other residues as natural oils which can be unsafe when vaping, while also leaving residue in the vape coil which means it’s harder to clean or need to be replaced often. We’ve found with CBD isolate it’s safer, cleaner and we know exactly what’s in the product 🙂 But we do use broad-spectrum hemp extract for our CBD oils because oils are not vaped and don’t go in the lungs.

      Nonetheless, thanks for your message and happy holidays.

      All the best,


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