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Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between hemp distillate and hemp isolate. They are easily confused but key differences make the two unique. 

The rapidly changing hemp market also means rapid development of new technology, and of course the terminology that comes with it. Luckily it’s pretty easy to learn the language and know the difference between isolates and distillates, plus know what makes a hemp CBD product “full-spectrum” or what makes hemp CBD “broad-spectrum.”

Why So Many Different Types of CBD?

There are no federal regulations surrounding hemp products containing CBD however there are some very federally illegal substances that can be extracted from the marijuana plant. Which is why there are so many different kinds of CBD and hemp-based products.

Not only that, but it is important to be able to create a concentrated product that can target specific ailments or induce a very specific effect while removing the unwanted compounds from the plant during the extraction process. This may include the elimination of federally illegal THC, but leaving all the other health benefits of a hemp concentrate.

What is Hemp Distillate?

Distillate CBD is a concentrate containing between 80% – 90% CBD.

A CBD distillate refers to how the compounds are extracted from the cannabis plant. Through old fashioned distillation, a process that mixes steam and pressure to extract the desired compounds and discard the plant waste and any other unwanted material, distillates are formed.

CBD Distillates contain the full benefits of hemp minus the THC. By federal law distillates may contain trace amounts of the psychoactive substance, but not enough to cause the euphoria associated with it.

The extraction method begins with a refinement of the raw material into crude extract with the use of solvents, followed by winterization to remove the solvents. It is then the extract is heated  in a process called decarboxylation, and finally distilled to a pure and concentrated state ready for consumption.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD that's pulled from the plant and devoid of all other ingredients.

CBD Isolate is different from CBD Distillate in one key way. Isolate is the plant’s CBD molecules separated from the rest of the cannabis compounds. It is CBD in its purest, most concentrated form. CBD isolate contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis plant

Cannabinoids are the beneficial compounds found in the hemp plant that make the plant medicinal. These compounds work with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system which regulates both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Researchers have discovered nearly 100 individual cannabinoids, though it is hard to determine exactly how many there are with so many different strains of the plant and only few studies since prohibition of cannabis in the turn of the century.

 The Nine Major Cannabinoids Are:

  • THCA (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
  • CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid)
  • CBCA (Cannabichromenenic acid)
  • CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid)
  • THCVA (Tetrahydrocanabivarinic acid)
  • CBDVA (Cannabidivarinic acid)
  • CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid)
  • CBN (Cannabinol)

THC and CBD are also cannabinoids, those compounds are not present in the plant until the THCA and CBDA acids they start out as are decarboxylated. Cannabinoids are completely harmless and our bodies produce endocannabinoids naturally. The difference is the plant produces phytocannabinoids which affect the body in the exact same way.

One thing researchers have found is that the cannabinoids work better when they are working together. This synergistic effect is sometimes called the “entourage effect”.

What Are Terpenes?

Just like in other plants, the hemp plant also has naturally occurring terpenes. These compounds also have their own unique qualities and benefits. Terpenes are nothing new. The lavender in your shampoo? That contains linalool, the soothing terpene also found in the cannabis plant that is known to relieve stress.

There are almost 200 or more cannabis terpenes and each one has healing properties. Some are known to fight anxiety and depression, others help inspire creativity. Others can stop seizures or prevent carcinomas from spreading.

What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad-spectrum CBD means that the concentrate contains many but not all of the naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and variants of CBD. The main purpose of Broad Spectrum distillate is to remove the THC during the winterization process to meet federal standards of less than .3% by weight and leave the other cannabinoids.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD means that the concentrate has all of the naturally occurring terpenes, and all cannabinoids including the psychoactive THC. Although high-THC cannabis is still unjustly scheduled as a dangerous narcotic with less medicinal value than cocaine, THC really does have its own therapeutic uses. Especially in Full-Spectrum concentrates.

Where Do You Buy CBD?

You can buy hemp products almost anywhere now, but the important thing is to do your research before choosing just any CBD company. Since it’s still federally unregulated, companies can lie on their labeling, so find a CBD supplier that is transparent in their production process and that lists the ingredients clearly. Third party lab testing is the only way to know for sure if a hemp product is what it says it is. Companies who do this will often list these results on their websites where you can look to see if they have any good customer reviews, too.