CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum: Which is Better for Men’s Health?

When looking to support your health with CBD, it’s important to take the time to learn the difference between CBD isolate vs. full spectrum CBD. While they share a common component — the compound, cannabidiol — their main therapeutic effects can differ, which can have a big impact on men’s health. 

What’s The Difference?

While named after a single compound, cannabidiol, most CBD products are full spectrum. This means they contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids cannabis plants have to offer. 

To ensure they don’t get you high, full spectrum CBD products are derived from hemp plants that are bred to contain very low levels of the compound that give marijuana its high, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

CBD isolate, on the other hand, is the cannabinoid cannabidiol isolated away from all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These products can technically come from any cannabis plant since everything but CBD is removed.

Because the compound CBD is just one of hundreds, the therapeutic effects between full spectrum and isolate can be quite different. But it doesn’t stop there! The presence of THC in full spectrum CBDs adds another layer to choosing which CBD is right for you.

Full Spectrum CBD

Rich in cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, CBC, and THC and terpenes such as linalool, myrcene, and pinene, full spectrum CBD is a complex concoction of hundreds, potentially even thousands, of compounds. And they all seemingly have therapeutic effects — some that overlap and some that don’t. 


The greatest benefit of full spectrum CBDs is the entourage effect (the synergistic effect that causes the compounds to work better together than apart). 

Even when cannabinoids share overlapping effects, the pathways they take in the body and how they achieve them can differ. This is because it can activate various receptors in the body in different ways depending on the size and shape of the cannabinoid or terpene it comes across. CBD alone has a minimum of 65 signaling interactions that result in biological modifications.

Additionally, by keeping all the cannabis compounds together, full spectrum CBD avoids the bell-shaped dose-response sometimes seen with CBD isolate. 

Unlike full spectrum, CBD isolate typically requires a precision dosage, as taking too little or too much can diminish the benefits. A study on rodents found that at lower doses, CBD would alter the activity of the 5HT1A serotonin receptor, producing a calming effect

However, in larger dosages, CBD activates TRPV1 receptors. This triggers glutamate firing, which can increase anxiety. With full spectrum CBD, this doesn’t typically happen or is much less pronounced because the other cannabinoids can do things such as block or modulate CBD’s ability to overexcite the body. They may also produce anxiolytic effects that supersede the negative effects seen when CBD is by itself.  


The biggest disadvantage of full spectrum CBD is the presence of THC. It appears that the great majority of cannabinoids and other compounds in cannabis can’t cause a high, no matter how much of them you consume. The same can’t be said for delta-9 THC. In fact, due to its prevalence, it’s pretty much solely responsible for the high felt when consuming marijuana. 

Legally, CBD products cannot contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a federal level in the U.S., as this amount is too little to cause a high. However, some people find they are more sensitive to THC than others and can feel off when consuming full spectrum CBD. 

This bigger issue is delta-9 THC metabolites are what drug tests look for when testing for marijuana use. Larger doses of full spectrum CBD can allow enough THC metabolites to build up in the body as they take a while for them to be cleared away. Now, this build-up won’t cause a high, but it can fool a drug test into you testing positive for marijuana use. 

Is Full Spectrum CBD Right For You? 

If drug tests aren’t a concern for you, full spectrum CBD is usually the way to go. It has a greater range of effects, it is easier to dose, and thanks to the aromatic quality of the terpenes, full spectrum CBD can be quite tasty. In most cases, people aren’t sensitive to THC for the trances of it in full spectrum to bother them. In fact, in small amounts, THC can be quite therapeutic without causing a high.  

CBD Isolate 

CBD isolates are the cannabinoid cannabidiol all by its lonesome self, but when you’re the star of the show, maybe that’s not a bad thing. CBD is likely the most therapeutic compound cannabis has to offer that doesn’t result in a high. And that can make CBD isolates an exciting promise for many. 


Free of THC and other less therapeutic cannabinoids that can bring down CBD’s potency, CBD isolates can be terrific for certain medical issues without the worry it’s going to make you fail a drug test. 

Then CBD isolate is great for promoting the body to create and retain more endocannabinoids without delivering extra cannabinoids and terpenes that some people find they have adverse reactions to. 

While the terpenes in full spectrum can have a great taste, these CBDa often have a grassy taste. 


CBD isolates work on a greater bell curve, meaning it’s much easier to over and undershoot your dosages, so greater care is needed. You also may find you need to experiment more with different dosages before finding which one works best. 

Is CBD Isolate Right For You?

If you’re concerned about testing positive for marijuana on a drug test, you may prefer CBD isolate, especially if you take large doses of full spectrum CBD.

If drug tests aren’t a concern, generally, full spectrum is the better choice, but if you find that you’re having reverse reactions to full spectrum CBD, CBD isolate can often avoid those. CBD isolates can also be used in tandem with full spectrum CBD for the best of both worlds. 

Leave a Reply