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As you may already know, when it comes to CBD products, there is a whole lot of variety out there. CBD is still a pretty new market, as the cannabinoid has only been legal on a federal level since 2018. This means that our industry is rapidly diversifying and discovering new ways to provide consumers with quality hemp goods.

However, if you’re going to be using CBD products, it’s absolutely crucial that you understand how they differ in terms of extraction method, chemical composition, and so on. One of the most often confused pair of terms is “CBD isolate” and “CBD distillate.” In fairness, these two terms share a lot in common. However, as far as CBD enthusiasts are concerned, they are quite different. Pure CBD Experience brings this interesting information.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is CBD in its purest form, to put it simply. CBD isolate is far more common than CBD distillate for a number of reasons. But, before we get into those, let’s first talk about how it’s made.

As you know, all hemp extracts start with hemp plant material. Once the plant has matured, it’s ready for extraction. Then, once it is turned into an extract, it can be combined with other ingredients to produce products such as edibles, tinctures and vape oils.

CBD is just one of the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. And, the hemp plant contains other compounds as well such as terpenes and flavonoids. So, extracting just CBD is a tedious and expensive process.

For one thing, in order to make a milliliter of CBD isolate, a lot of plant material needs to be used compared to a milliliter of full spectrum hemp extract which contains all the hemp plant’s compounds.


CBD isolate, as we said, is as pure as it gets. This means that the extraction process must be repeated until all plant material has been removed, excluding this single cannabinoid. What you end up with is an oil that that has no taste or smell. The reason why it has no taste or smell is because it does not contain any of the terpenes in hemp, which are what give the plant its flavor and aroma. Therefore, this is a good way to tell if what you have is, indeed, CBD isolate or not.


Also, CBD isolate, being pure CBD, contains zero THC. Now, while the hemp plant does contain 0.3 percent THC, which is not enough to make a person high, some users still wish to avoid the psychoactive compound altogether. These people make up a large portion of the CBD isolate market.

Only with Oil-Based Ingredients

Worth pointing out that because CBD isolate is an oil, it can really only be used with other oil-based ingredients. This is why it’s typically, found in tinctures, edibles, vape oils and topicals.

What is CBD Distillate?

Essentially, CBD distillate is one step before CBD isolate. In other words, it’s largely CBD, although it may contain some traces of other plant compounds due to the fact that the extraction process is not as involved. In other words, CBD distillate is essentially unrefined CBD isolate.

Because it’s not pure, it will have a flavor and aroma. Also, it appears as a yellowish liquid. It is actually made by a process that involves distilling crude oils which are extracted via solvent-based methods.

Therefore, the process used to make CBD distillate is quite different from, and less involved than, the process of making CBD isolate. It is worth noting that manufacturing CBD distillate is also cheaper.


CBD distillate is a liquid rather than an oil, which means that it can be added to liquid products as it blends easily. This is why a lot of CBD beverages contain CBD distillate. This applies to liquid sprays and other liquid-based products as well.

Good to point out that CBD distillate is more likely to have THC. Therefore, if you’re trying to avoid THC altogether, you’ll probably want to stick with CBD isolate. CBD distillate is also frequently extracted from the marijuana plant rather than the hemp plant, which means that it’s part of a legal gray area.

However, as you can see, it has lots of uses, especially because of the way in which it works so well with liquids.

It’s also important to keep in mind that many believe that the other compounds in the hemp plant besides CBD are beneficial in their own ways. So, taking CBD distillate rather than CBD isolate exposes your body to all of these potentially beneficial compounds in addition to the CBD itself.


As you can see, CBD isolate and CBD distillate are similar in many ways. However, they are two different products, ultimately. This means that you must treat them as such. Because interest in CBD continues to grow, you’ll need to make sure that you thoroughly understand how these two extracts differ so that you can get the most out of your experience.

Use this guide to make sure that you fully grasp the key differences between these two unique types of extracts.

James T. writes about education, science, music, and art. He has a Psychology degree from University of Central Florida and an Information Technology degree from Phoenix University.

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