CBD Isolate - Benefits & Best Alternatives

CBD isolate is the most refined form of cannabidiol product, having had all other compounds removed from the extraction, leaving only a crystallised form. CBD therefore has no THC in it (the compound that produces a high in sufficient amounts, and may trigger a positive drug test). Most other CBD products can have THC in them, in trace amounts.

Manufacturers often grind the crystals into a powder form for sale or integration into consumable products, so ‘CBD crystals’ and ‘CBD isolate’ are interchangeable terms, though the latter may be in a powdered form.

In short, CBD isolate or CBD crystals, contain only CBD, and no other compounds are present.

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Effects of CBD Isolate

It is proposed that CBD works by acting on the cannabinoid receptors in the body. The human body produces its own cannabinoids from the purpose of regulating appetite, inflammation, memory, mood, and pain receptors. It is therefore proposed that consumption of CBD products, orally or topically, influences this system in some way.

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Proposed effects include boosting the immune system, fighting tumour formation, fighting inflammation, preventing nausea and vomiting, neuroprotective effects, and the reduction of pain, anxiety, shyness, depression, insomnia (sleeplessness) and even seizures.

If true, the mechanism by which CBD works may actually be through non-cannabinoid receptors, such as the 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) serotonin receptor. Serotonin is a naturally-occurring chemical in the human body that affects mood, influencing happiness, depression, anxiety, confidence, sleep, and other moods.

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One study in mice suggests that CBD isolate may produce several health benefits, but less so than full-spectrum CBD products that include a number of other compounds. The study indicated that CBD isolate was effective only against pain and swelling, and only at a specific dose. Increasing the dose showed no increased effects. Full-spectrum CBD products seem to produce increased effects with increased dosage – though research on this needs to be done.

For those who do not want any THC in their system, however, CBD isolate is the best choice – especially if the product seems to alleviate their symptoms or problem.

Anecdotal Use Cases


There is some research that indicates that CBD has anti-anxiety effects, probably by manipulating the way the brain responds to serotonin. Researchers analysed the psychiatric medical charts of 72 adults suffering from anxiety and/or sleeping disorders and found that 79% (57 people) of those who underwent CBD treatment reported a decrease in their anxiety, and 67% (48 people) of them increased their sleep scores over the first month. Sleep scores then fluctuated after the first month, however. The participants seemed to tolerate the treatments well and there was a notable rate of reported improvement. Other research suggests that teenagers with social anxiety saw decreased intensity after CBD treatments.


Common reasons people will use CBD include a desire for the relief of pain from arthritis, cancer, chronic back problems, fibromyalgia and neuropathic issues.

It may be that CBD isolate decreases the pain, but research indicates that there is more benefit likely to occur from full-spectrum products due to the presence of a combination of cannabidiol and THC. The entourage effect of multiple compounds may prove more effective, but more research is needed.


Some sufferers of seizures and epilepsy may benefit from CBD use, according to the American Epilepsy Society, who see recent research as very promising. A study from 2017 cites evidence that indicates an increase in seizure control for those with specific types of epilepsy syndromes.

Anyone with epilepsy who wants to try CBD as a treatment should first consult with their physician, however, as research is in its early stages and there can be negative effects from combining CBD with some medications.

Cancer and the effects of cancer treatment

There are also some hopeful animal studies that indicate that CBD can decrease the rate of cancer cell growth. Some cancer symptoms may also be alleviated by CBD use, according to the National Cancer Institute. Nausea and vomiting may be decreased along with other side effects of the cancer treatments.

It is important to be clear though, that the National Cancer Institute does not endorse the use of any kind of cannabis product, as there is insufficient research to back up anecdotal claims.

CBD Isolate vs Alternatives

CBD isolate doesn't contain any of the beneficial terpenes or other cannabinoids from the hemp plant, and so it also doesn't cause the entourage effect.

It's also harder to dose, making it less convenient.

The best alternative to CBD isolate is likely broad spectrum CBD oil, as this still has 0% THC, but keeps the beneficial terpenes and can cause the entourage effect. Our strongest dose of CBD oil is our 2000mg per 10ml bottle here.

Learn about the benefits of broad spectrum CBD here.

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CBD isolate is a THC-free alternative to full-spectrum CBD products. It is most popular with those who want to try CBD in the treatment of various things, but don’t want any THC.

Early research on CBD indicates that it may decrease various kinds of pain, inflammation, and anxiety – but further research needs to be done.

Does CBD show on a UK drugs test? Find out here.

Research also indicated that full-spectrum CBD may be more effective than the isolate, due to the entourage effect – the presence of one or more other compounds in addition to CBD itself.

When buying CBD, always choose a reputable company, read the third-party lab tests to verify the ingredients and makeup of the CBD product, and always consult your doctor before trying CBD to ensure it will not react with anything else you may be taking.

Read next: What is the strongest CBD oil?

Related: Is CBD legal in the UK?