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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jessica Bacon

Cannabis & Healing: Full Spectrum, Distillate or Isolate

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

cannabis, types of cannabis, full spectrum, healing plants, health and wellness, holistic healing, pain relief, improve mood,
Cannabis and Healing: Full Spectrum, Distillate or Isolate

You’re stressed, having aches, pains and other symptoms that are making life less than fun. You’ve decided to give Cannabis a try for some help. Where do you start? Decision 1. Full spectrum, distillate or isolate. Whether you decide on THC, CBD, or a combination of both, you will have the ability to choose from full spectrum products, distillates or isolates.

Full spectrum products contain the complete profile of all the naturally occurring compounds in the plant. This includes your THC, CBD or both. A full spectrum extract or product is going to have the most benefit in terms of allowing all of the compounds present in the plant to be put to work and utilized by your body. If you know a bit about the endocannabinoid system, you know that it may affect the entire body with certain receptors and actions being concentrated in particular areas of the body. Using a full spectrum product would not only target the areas specific to your symptoms, but allow the other compounds an opportunity to work in different areas achieving a potentially greater level of balance, healing and relief. The effect of allowing all the naturally occurring compounds to work together, creating greater benefit, is known as an entourage effect. One potential downside to full spectrum products is taste. When a product keeps all of the naturally occurring components, the flavor can be more plant-like and difficult to cover up with another flavor when ingesting. This is where you take into consideration the overall benefits and the route of administration, which is the way you are going to take the product.

Distillates are the next product option. Distillates contain the full profile of THC or CBD that is contained in the original plant. Beyond that, the manufacturer has the option of deciding what other beneficial naturally occurring compounds to keep or discard. The decision might be to only keep a few of these compounds or none whatsoever. Benefits of distillates include keeping the entire THC or CBD profile intact, greater ease of product flavoring, and greater consistency of product flavoring for commercial production. Distillates will give you more pleasant flavor options in edible form if the plant flavor bother you, but you will lose some of the naturally occurring compounds and their benefits.

Isolates are the final option. Isolates contain only one specific cannabinoid. There are a number of different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids work on specific receptors. THC and CBD are cannabinoids. A cannabis product that is an isolate would contain only THC or only CBD. It is the purest form you can get of only THC or CBD with no other naturally occurring compounds from the plant present. The benefits of isolates include minimal if any flavor and knowing which specific cannabinoid you are getting. This is helpful when you are ingesting it and concerned about the taste or if you want a very specific targeted effect.

Full spectrum, distillate and isolate. You now have an understanding of types of cannabis products you can purchase, their strengths and weaknesses. This information, along with which particular route of administration you are going to use, will help you to determine which combination is right for you.

*This is one article in a series on cannabis. Check out the blog at for more articles.

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