Cannabidiol (CBD) crystals, or CBD isolate, are the pure form of CBD, which is a compound from the cannabis plant.

CBD is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis plants. Other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is the most abundant compound, and it has numerous potential health benefits.

In this article, we explain what CBD crystals are and how to use them.

cbd crystals in a jarShare on Pinterest
Image credit: rgbspace / Getty Images.

CBD crystals, or isolate, is the pure form of CBD. Other types of CBD include broad-spectrum CBD and full-spectrum CBD. These forms contain low levels of various other cannabinoids, such as THC. They may also contain terpenes, which give many plants their scent.

CBD crystals only contain CBD.

There are multiple ways of extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, including steam distillation, carbon dioxide extraction, and solvent extraction.

The resulting product often contains various compounds from cannabis plant, including low levels of THC, but this depends on the plant source. At this stage, the extracted CBD is either full-spectrum or low-spectrum.

Manufacturers then refine the product further to obtain CBD isolate, or crystals.

The refining process removes all non-CBD compounds from the product, leaving behind pure CBD in a crystalline solid form. Usually, producers grind up the crystals for sale or use them in other CBD products.

In general, the research on CBD is still in its early stages. There are also limited studies on specific forms of CBD.

However, some researchers believe that CBD influences cannabinoid receptors in the human body. Potential health benefits include:

  • immune-boosting properties
  • anti-inflammation
  • prevention of vomiting
  • nausea treatment
  • neuroprotective effects
  • anti-seizure effects
  • pain relief
  • prevention of tumor formation
  • anti-anxiety effects

According to an article in Pain, CBD may also affect non-cannabinoid receptors, including the 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) serotonin receptor.

Serotonin is a chemical that influences levels of anxiety, depression, and has an impact on sleep. This might explain why some people report that CBD positively impacts their pain and anxiety symptoms.

However, one 2015 animal study found that CBD isolate may deliver weaker benefits than full- and broad-spectrum forms of CBD. This may be because CBD isolate does not contain other compounds from the cannabis plant.

Research on the ‘entourage effect’ suggests that CBD might have more pronounced health benefits when it contains additional compounds.

This does not mean that CBD crystals are better or worse than other forms of CBD. Further studies will help to clarify the potential health effects of different forms of CBD.

Currently, there is not enough evidence to confirm a definitive link between CBD isolate and anecdotally reported health benefits.

People should always carefully read CBD product labels. Even products with THC-free labels may contain trace amounts of the compound.

One of the advantages of CBD isolate is that there is little risk of taking the wrong dose.

There are multiple ways to use CBD crystals, including:

  • adding them to baked goods and foods
  • using them in DIY skincare formulations
  • dissolving them into a carrier oil

To add crystals to food, a person needs to dissolve them in oil or butter first.

CBD oil contains CBD isolate, and other ready-made forms are available for people who prefer an easier way to use this pure form of CBD.

Confused about CBD? Read our buyer’s guide here.

Unlike other forms of CBD, such as full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD, CBD crystals do not have any distinct flavor or smell. This is because they are a highly refined product.

CBD crystals also contain no traces of THC, while full-spectrum products may contain up to 0.3% THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD products do not usually contain THC but may have traces of it. They also contain other compounds from the cannabis plant.

CBD crystals are an alternative form of CBD, including full and broad-spectrum CBD.

They are useful for people who do not want to consume any THC.

However, research suggests that some other forms of CBD may provide more pronounced health benefits because of the ‘entourage effect.’

People should always read product packaging carefully and buy from reputable companies when buying CBD products.