Ever feel confused by a complex list of items on a seemingly straightforward product? Us too. Thankfully, though, the many fillers, preservatives, colourings which find their way into many of our food items won’t be found in any quality CBD oil on the market.

Still, there are many specialised words and phrases attached to various CBD products that leave us unsure about which oils would best suit our needs. And because quality ingredients usually dictate the positive health benefits, the most important questions that need an answer here are: what is CBD isolate and CBD distillate, what’s the difference, and, crucially, how much does it matter?


In short, as the word suggests, CBD isolate is an isolated form of cannabinol (CBD). Before its isolation, CBD is one of many other active ingredients in full-spectrum cannabis oil. To ‘isolate’, all of the plant’s natural compounds — except for CBD — are thoroughly removed, leaving CBD as a pure crystalline solid or powder, devoid of any distinct smell or taste.

Depending on the intensity and type of extraction process, quality cannabinol isolates are over 99% pure, which are then blended with hemp oil or other oil-based alternatives for ingestion or topical use. This is the clear benefit of CBD isolate – offering an unmatchable purity that maintains its potency even when added to other substances (cookies, creams and everything in-between), and with this the removal of any earthy tastes associated with cannabis. This makes CBD isolate ideal for use in topicals and edibles for people who prefer more appealing or popular tastes and flavour.

However, incredibly, there are at least 100 known cannabinoids in the plant we know and love, and a further 300 or so non-cannabinoid compounds. These chemicals aren’t found in any other plants on earth, making them unique to cannabis, and, as a result, unique in how they communicate with our own chemistry. These are removed during the isolation process.

Considering the complex and intricate relationship many compounds have within any given plant, researchers have been increasingly interested in the interplay of one cannabinoid to another. Naturally, a mixture of distinct cannabinoids that join to the cannabinoid receptors in both our body and brain will affect us differently when compared to isolated forms of any one chemical. And that’s why CBD distillate is causing quite a stir for all the right reasons.



CBD distillate is high CBD hemp concentrate that has gone through a distillation process to remove THC, while working to keep as much — or as little — of the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the concentrate as possible. Distillation is the purifying of a liquid by a process of heating and/or cooling, a process which can carefully be manipulated to create the perfect blend of chosen compounds for the desired effect.

While distillation can effectively be utilised to add and subtract cannabinoids at will, there may be trace amounts of THC present. Still, both isolate and distillate CBD contains negligible amounts of THC, so won’t get you ‘high’. In fact, CBD distillate can legally contain 0.03% THC, though this is nowhere near enough for psychoactive effects to take place.1.

As we know, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which, unlike THC, can benefit us greatly without any unwanted ‘high’, making it an attractive supplement for those who need to remain focused throughout the day. However, it’s important you search out a brand that can share its Certificate of Analysis with you, guaranteeing their level of THC is completely safe and virtually undetectable. Many inferior CBD products don’t offer the adequate level of testing or proper filtration, which may lead to a failed urine test.

Some notable cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana are THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and flavonoids. Learn more about here. And while most cannabinoids don’t have the potential to make us ‘high’, it’s clear that their interaction with other such chemicals has an effect on us. The interplay of different cannabinoids when used together have been studied to enhance their individual qualities when they jointly interact with our endocannabinoid system in a process known as the ‘entourage effect’.

The ‘entourage effect’ details the synergistic relationship which cannabinoids naturally have with one another. More and more studies delve into the phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions, resulting in synergy with respect to treatment of many ailments.2 Discover exactly how our ennocannoid interactions with CBD here.

From pain and inflammation to neurological disorders and the quality of our sleep, CBD has been revered in many studies for its promising use in a world which pines for natural yet effective medicine. Indeed, one such study explains how cannabidiol enhances endogenous adenosine signalling, a response to stress which is critical in tissue protection and the reduction of inflammation.3 It’s of no surprise, then, that some of the most successful sports persons (also some of the most susceptible to inflammation) are turning to CBD. And, as we all know too well, where inflammation is found in the body, pain soon follows. So it’s exciting to find that cannabinoid compounds CBD and CBC have been noted for their joint analgesia [inability to feel pain] effect.4



In short, both CBD isolate and CBD distillate are processed to have negligible amounts of THC. The difference is that CBD isolate is at least 99% CBD with only trace amounts of other substances (resulting in a notable limitation of biological benefits), while CBD distillate averages 50-70% CBD, coupled with 30-50% more natural cannabinoid compounds which work synergistically to aid and enhance what would otherwise be a restriction on potential health benefits.

Clearly, the distinction between the two forms of extraction matters. If we are to reap the full range of benefits on offer from CBD, then it makes sense that it must interact with our body in an interplay with other compounds, just as nature intended.


1) https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/

3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16672367