Many people talk about the potency of cannabis isolates. Cannabis isolates (THC isolates, CBD isolates) are so pure that if you inhale THC isolates, you will get a very psychoactive experience. 

Nonetheless, there are many people who prefer what is known as “full-spectrum” cannabis, or natural cannabis with all its cannabinoids and terpenes. Supporters of full-spectrum cannabis or whole plant extracts claim that cannabinoids have a more effective effect if they are inhaled or vaped together. This is known in the cannabis community as the “entourage effect“. In other words, it means they work synergistically.  

Full-spectrum cannabis or natural cannabis has its advantages, but this does not mean that you should discard cannabis isolates. For instance, THC isolates are much more powerful than natural cannabis, and you can get a cosmic high if you vape pure THC extracts.

What is a Cannabis Isolate?

A cannabis isolate could be both THC and CBD isolates. Isolates are the purest form of cannabigerol or CBG, often called “the mother of cannabinoids”. In the case of THC isolates, this means that they are extracted from every other compound, which means that a THC isolate is over 99% pure.

Cannabis isolates are white and crystalline materials, and the do not have any additional compounds. If you try THC isolates, the high you can get is very intense and psychoactive. Therefore, THC isolates are a good option if you are looking for a psychedelic experience.

In addition, CBD isolates are a good option for people that only want to ingest pure CBD without any other cannabinoids. There are many reasons why someone would want pure CBD. For instance, many people are concerned about cannabis and drug tests. Since THC is still illegal under federal law, many people do not want THC to show up on drug tests.

What is Full-Spectrum Cannabis?

A full-spectrum cannabis is basically the whole plant extract. Plant extracts come with different concentrations of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. In addition, they also have terpenes, which are aromatic compounds that give cannabis its characteristic scent. Furthermore, many people claim the terpenes have medicinal properties.

Consequently, many cannabis users claim that cannabinoids act synergistically together with terpenes. According to this theory, it is better to consume whole plant extracts to get what the cannabis community calls an “entourage effect.” In other words, synergy.

What is the Entourage Effect?

This is a term you will see many times in articles and on cannabis blogs. As mentioned above, the entourage effect means that cannabinoids act synergistically. Some studies claim that full-spectrum cannabis is better at relieving pain than THC isolates. Nonetheless, there are not that many studies to prove the entourage effect theory. In other words, it is a hypothesis with little scientific value.

Terpenes are believed to have therapeutic effects, and they have been extensively used in aromatherapy. However, we do not know to what extent terpenes have anti-cancer properties or how they act. Nonetheless, some terpenes are known for their potential in biomedicine.

Which One is Better?

It depends on what you want. There is no one better than the other. For example, there are certain cases where you would prefer isolates (CBD isolates with no THC) or other cases where you would prefer a whole plant (more cannabinoids and terpenes).

If you are just interested in CBD and do not want to ingest any THC, then a CBD isolate is a good option for you. Hence, CBD isolates do not contain any THC, so you do not need to worry about failing a drug test. On the other hand, many CBD oils contain small percentages of THC, which means they can be detected in a drug test.

Effects

There are different opinions about the medical effects of isolates and whole plants. Supporters of the entourage effect claim cannabinoids work synergistically and, hence, the whole plant has more medical properties than cannabis isolates.

On the other hand, other sources state isolates have higher concentrations of CBD and/or THC, and therefore their effects are more potent than full-spectrum cannabis.

If you are looking to get high, then cannabis isolates (in this case, THC isolates) are a better option for you. THC isolates will get you very high as you will inhale more THC than with other cannabis products.

Conclusion

Both full-spectrum (whole plant extracts) and cannabis isolates are useful. However, they have different meanings. Cannabis isolates are the purest forms. For example, THC isolates contain up to 99% of THC.

If you want only THC or CBD, then you can choose cannabis isolates. There are many reasons to ingest only isolates. For instance, many people do not want any concentrations of THC in their CBD. If this is also your case, then you will find cannabis isolates (THC or CBD) very useful.

On the other hand, if you care about natural products, then you should go for full-spectrum cannabis.

This post was originally published on June 10, 2020. It was most recently updated on January 13, 2022.