CBD isolate is a form of CBD, or cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound present in the cannabis plant. Unlike full-spectrum CBD products, CBD isolate does not contain any THC — the psychoactive component of cannabis.
CBD isolate is a good option for those who would like to try CBD, but who cannot or do not want to ingest any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient in cannabis. Most other CBD products contain at least a small percentage of THC.
Keep reading to learn more about CBD isolate, including its potential health benefits and possible side effects.
CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder comprising pure CBD. It is different from full-spectrum CBD products, which can legally contain up to 0.3% THC. This amount may show up on a drug test, but it will not cause a high.
To produce CBD isolate, manufacturers use various processes to extract all the compounds and other substances from the cannabis plant, including THC. The process leaves behind pure CBD in crystal form.
Manufacturers may then grind the crystals into a powder to make the product easier to consume. CBD isolate does not have a distinctive smell or taste.
CBD works by acting on the cannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors exist because the human body produces its own cannabinoids, which may influence several bodily functions, including:
- pain perception
- inflammation levels
Researchers believe that CBD does not attach directly to these receptors, but that it influences them in some way. As a result of this receptor activation, CBD exerts its effects on the human body.
Potential effects of CBD include:
- boosting the immune system (immune-modulating)
- counteracting the formation of tumors (anti-tumorigenic)
- fighting inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
- preventing vomiting (antiemetic)
- recovery or regeneration of the nervous system (neuroprotective)
- reducing or preventing anxiety (anti-anxiety)
- reducing or preventing seizures (anticonvulsant)
- relieving pain (analgesic)
Studies indicate that CBD can also influence non-cannabinoid receptors, such as the 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) serotonin receptor. Serotonin is a chemical that affects levels of depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness, among others. This may help explain why CBD eases anxiety and pain in some people.
One study in mice suggests that while CBD isolate does offer certain health benefits. However, some of these may have less effect than those gained from using a full-spectrum CBD product.
Results from the study indicate that CBD isolate is only effective against pain and swelling at a specific dose. Meanwhile, full-spectrum CBD products will continue to provide increasing effects as the dosage increases.
That said, CBD isolate is still a useful option for people who must refrain from having any THC in their system, or for those who do not need a full-spectrum CBD product.
It is important to note that products labeled THC-free may still contain enough THC that a person could fail a urine toxicity test. Always check the labels and packaging carefully.
CBD isolate may help treat the following conditions:
Several studies indicate that CBD has anti-anxiety effects. It likely works by changing the way the brain responds to the chemical serotonin.
A 2019 study, for example, explored whether CBD improves sleep or anxiety, or both. The researchers reviewed the charts of 72 adults who had anxiety or sleeping problems at a psychiatric clinic.
The researchers found that after CBD treatment, 79% of the participants reported decreased anxiety. Almost 67% of people saw improved sleep scores within the first month, but these fluctuated over time.
The researchers conclude that CBD may benefit those with anxiety disorders and that most people tolerate it well.
Another 2019 study suggests that CBD significantly decreased anxiety in teenagers with social anxiety.
Pain and inflammation relief
People often use CBD to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions and types of pain, including:
- arthritis pain
- cancer pain
- chronic back pain
- neuropathic pain
While CBD isolate may provide pain relief, research indicates that a full-spectrum CBD product may be even more effective because cannabidiol acts synergistically with THC to boost its analgesic effects.
A 2017 study cites strong evidence to indicate that CBD improves seizure control in those with specific epilepsy syndromes.
However, research is still in its early stages, and much more exploration is necessary before people with epilepsy can take CBD as a reliable source of symptom management.
Those who have epilepsy should discuss their treatment options with a doctor or healthcare provider.
Cancer and the effects of cancer treatment
Research into the effects of CBD on cancer growth is also in the early stages. However, some animal studies do indicate that it might prevent the growth of cancer cells.
The National Cancer Institute indicates that CBD may alleviate some cancer symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment (including nausea and vomiting).
However, the Institute does not endorse any form of cannabis as a treatment due to insufficient research.
CBD isolate is generally a low-risk substance, especially as it does not contain THC. However, in some people, it may cause adverse reactions that include:
CBD can also interact with some prescription or over-the-counter medications, so always talk to a doctor before using CBD or other cannabis products.
It can also interact with some dietary supplements. Individuals should take care if their medications or supplements carry a warning about grapefruit. Common examples include cholesterol drugs, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and others.
Both grapefruit and CBD can interfere with the metabolism of these medications. Anyone taking medication or supplements that carry a grapefruit warning should avoid CBD as well.
One study in mice indicated that CBD might also increase the risk of liver toxicity if taken in significant quantities. Anyone considering using CBD should talk to their doctor or one who specializes in CBD to evaluate their risk.
Find out more about doses of CBD here.
CBD isolate offers an alternative to full-spectrum CBD products. It may be especially useful for those who would like to try CBD without ingesting any of the psychoactive compound THC.
CBD isolate demonstrates several benefits, including relief from pain, inflammation, and anxiety.
Research indicates that some of these benefits may be more pronounced when taking a full-spectrum CBD product, however.
When choosing a CBD isolate, always buy from a reputable company and read the label carefully to ensure it is free from THC, other chemicals, and impurities.