There is confusion about the nuances between CBD Crystals, CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum CBD, and CBD Shatter. While many people seem to think this topic is difficult to understand, it is actually quite straightforward.
CBD is an initialism for a nonpsychoactive compound in Cannabis plants called cannabidiol. It is legal in most countries when sourced from hemp, it has various health benefits, and it does not get you “high”.
CBD supplements are growing in worldwide popularity because they help many users to reduce anxiety, combat depression, reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and sleep better. There may be other benefits as well, but more research is needed first.
This article describes the differences between the most common forms of pure CBD supplements, some pros and cons of each type, what they are used for, and what users are saying about them.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid. There are more than 100 different cannabinoids that have been isolated in Cannabis. Cannabis is a genus of plants with many species divided into 3 primary classifications: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Many people have heard of the psychoactive compound in Cannabis called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the primary chemical in marijuana that alters levels of dopamine and other brain chemicals, which results in a feeling of euphoria, or being “high”.
CBD and THC are the 2 most-studied cannabinoids. They both are associated with various pharmacological properties in cell and animal research.
For instance, THC has shown antiemetic (prevents nausea), appetite-stimulating, antitremor, and other properties; while CBD has shown neuroprotective (protects nerves), immunomodulatory (regulates immune system), antioxidant (works against free radicals), and other properties.
Additionally, both THC and CBD have shown anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce redness and swelling; and analgesic effects that help to reduce pain.
According to Healthline, some of the health benefits of CBD are:
- Can help to relieve pain
- May reduce depression and anxiety
- Can alleviate some symptoms related to cancer
- May improve skin health
- May protect nerves from damage
- May improve cardiovascular health
- May help to manage the symptoms of type 2 diabetes
- May help people with mental disorders like schizophrenia
- May help to reduce dependence on morphine and heroin
Preliminary human research is underway, testing the various proposed benefits that CBD might offer. However, it will require large, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomized human trials to fully understand any reliable health effects this cannabinoid contributes to.
The main reason that CBD is gaining so much momentum in the dietary supplement industry is that is completely legal when it is sourced from hemp. Different countries have different legal definitions of hemp but they are all similar.
In general, a hemp plant is a Cannabis plant that contains very little or no THC. For instance, in the UK, hemp is defined as Cannabis with no more than 0.2% (⅕ of one percent) THC. The US allows hemp to contain up to 0.3% THC.
When the concentrations of THC in Cannabis rise above the legal definitions for hemp, it is then called marijuana. Depending on where you live, marijuana may be illegal or at least listed as a controlled legal substance.
Although hemp has almost no THC, it does contain significant amounts of CBD and some other nonpsychoactive cannabinoids. CBD supplements allow those who do not wish to get high, and those who are legally prevented from doing so, to still gain many of the health benefits associated with Cannabis.
What are CBD Crystals?
Pure CBD crystals are the truest form of cannabidiol. This type of CBD concentrate is typically between 98-99% pure cannabidiol, depending on the manufacturing technique used.
Some manufacturers use petroleum-based chemicals (ethanol, butane, hexane, etc.) to extract the CBD from raw hemp plants. This type of manufacturing can result in toxic byproducts including formaldehyde, which may end up in the final product, although in very small amounts.
Because of this, it pays to do some research on any type of CBD product you are considering. If you can't find the information, then call the manufacturer and inquire as it is definitely something you need to know about.
Consider CBD supplements that are produced via CO2 extraction, which is purported to yield a safer and purer end product.
Some of the other processes used in making CBD crystals include removing fats and liquids (winterization), rotary evaporation, decarboxylation, refinement, and distillation. A few manufacturers offer CBD crystals and other cannabidiol concentrates that are more than 99% pure.
Some experts claim that “dabbing” CBD crystals is the best way to get more into the bloodstream, quicker. They assert that dabbing increases the bioavailability and absorption of cannabidiol in the cells, which helps to maximize its medicinal effects.
CBD crystals are also commonly added to baked goods, fruit smoothies, and other foods and consumed orally. However, this administration method may delay and lessen the effects experienced.
Pure CBD crystals can also be dissolved in a carrier oil (almond, coconut, olive, etc.), or quality clear alcohol (vodka, gin, white rum, etc.), to make an oil or alcohol tincture. Many people prefer the ease and portability of this form of CBD. A cannabidiol tincture can be discreetly administered with an eye dropper with just a drop or two taken sublingually (under the tongue).
Most users report beginning to feel CBD crystals effects within 5-15 minutes after dabbing or sublingual dosing. However, the onset and duration of effects will vary between users depending on factors including age, weight, body composition, diet, health history, and amount used.
What is CBD Isolate?
Ground CBD crystals are commonly called CBD “isolate”. Because it is a finely-ground, white powder, CBD isolate is said to be better for use in foods than crystals. This form of cannabidiol is also commonly used to make tinctures, in e-liquids, and for dabbing.
Some people use CBD isolate to infuse skin lotions, hair conditioners, ointments, and other personal hygiene/health products.
Others mix some CBD isolate powder into an ounce of a warm carrier oil and apply it topically to treat skin disorders like acne, ease bone and joint pain, or just as a relaxing massage.
CBD isolate powder that is mixed with natural compounds called terpenes is called CBD “shatter”. This form of CBD concentrate might offer additional health benefits, but this has never been tested in human research.
You can find bulk CBD isolate for sale online from various suppliers. Again, look for products that manufactured without harsh chemicals, and that are sourced from organic and non-GMO hemp.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
CBD supplement manufacturers can opt to extract only the cannabidiol content from hemp, or other compounds found in hemp as well. If only the CBD is extracted, then it is a CBD Isolate, as described above. If all compounds in the hemp plant material are extracted, then it is called Full-Spectrum.
A lot of people recommend full spectrum cannabidiol products over isolates. While CBD isolates are considered very valuable natural medicines on their own, a full spectrum product provides the “Entourage Effect”.
Remember that hemp contains more than one hundred different cannabinoids besides CBD. Further, hemp contains various other constituents including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, terpenes, and fiber.
So, the Entourage Effect refers to the pharmacological effects of the entire hemp plant instead of CBD's effects alone. A full spectrum product contains numerous plant chemicals that act together “synergistically”; meaning that they work together to produce more potent medicinal effects.
Logically, it would seem that a full spectrum CBD extract would have additional benefits relative to isolated cannabidiol by itself. However, until more research is completed, there is no way to quantify the differences between using a CBD isolate relative to using a full spectrum CBD product.
Some people prefer to use CBD isolate products over full spectrum options because the terpenes and other compounds in the later affect taste and smell. Pure CBD crystals and isolates have no smell or taste, making them favored for use in foods, vapes, dabbing rigs, and tinctures.
Cannabis is a botanical genus that includes both marijuana and hemp varieties. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids found in Cannabis plants.
There are various types of CBD concentrates including CBD crystals, CBD isolates, and full spectrum CBD supplements.
There are various other CBD products as well, including waxes, tinctures, salves, ointments, creams, gummy bears, capsules, softgels, vape oils, dabs, and even CBD-infused water.
Because the international demand for CBD supplements is exploding currently, there are numerous products available from various suppliers. Substandard products make it to market. That's why it is so important to do your research about a product you are considering. Shop for high-quality CBD supplements from trusted suppliers.
CBD crystals and isolates will not get you high. They contain very little or no THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana that affects brain chemistry.
Although pure CBD isolates and CBD crystals seem to be well-tolerated in most users, it is still best to discuss beginning to use a cannabidiol supplement with your doctor first.