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The Difference Between CBD Extracts

The Difference Between CBD Extracts: Crude, Distillate, Water-Soluble, and Isolate

CBD is probably something you have not only heard about often, but it may be something you have tried at this point. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the hundreds of compounds in hemp and cannabis plants. Don’t get confused by the different terminology between hemp plants and cannabis plants. Hemp plants are cannabis plants that contain 0.3% or less of THC compound by dry weight. Aside from that, these plants offer the same multitude of compounds and terpenes, unique to their strain. 

CBD is one of the non-psychoactive compounds that come from the cannabis plant. It is added to dozens of creams and vaporizers because many believe they provide some benefit. 

Something you may know less about is the different types of CBD extracts added to products. CBD isolate, distillate, and full-spectrum are the three hemp extracts that are growing in popularity within the cannabis world and the hemp industry. 

Although these three extracts have many similarities, they do have some differences, and that applies to cultivators and customers. 

Crude CBD

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, and it is legal across the country, as long as the THC concentration is less than .3%. 

There are three main types of CBD extracts: crude or full-spectrum, distillate, and isolate

The first one we will tackle is an unrefined crude extract, also known as full-spectrum or whole plant extract. What sets these extracts apart from the others is that it doesn’t have to be as intensely refined as the distillate. It’s a full-spectrum product, containing more cannabinoids, terpenes, and hemp compounds than other extracts. Many people go after these products because they believe in the entourage effect, which means cannabis and hemp plants work best when all of its compounds and components are working together in one product. 

If you have never used crude CBD extract products before, here’s something to keep in mind. There are so many compounds from the cannabis plant included in these extracts. This means your edibles may feature a bit of an earthy flavour. 

If you plan on using crude CBD products regularly, be cautious. Full-spectrum products can contain traces of THC, as we mentioned above, as long as that THC concentration is .3% or less. 

CBD Distillate

CBD Distillate

The next type of extract we will look at is a distillate, which may be a word you have heard quite a bit about recently. CBD distillate contains about 80% CBD, along with other terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. The distillates can be processed down into other versions of CBD extract and have applications in various types of products, including edibles, vapes, and tinctures. 

CBD distillate is also known as a pure extract because people who love this product say it is one of the purest forms of CBD out there. The process it goes through is called distillation, and it allows you to extract highly-refined CBD straight from the plant. This product is highly versatile and can be used in dozens of different ways.

CBD distillate has a thicker consistency than some other extracts, often compared to honey. The distillate goes through a multistep extraction process that leaves you with a flavourless, odourless product with few impurities, if any. Just as with THC distillate products, CBD distillates are highly-concentrated, which means you will not need much to reach your goal. It can often have a CBD concentration as high as 80-90%.

There are different types of CBD distillates, including broad-spectrum CBD. Broad-spectrum products are different from their full-spectrum counterparts in terms of potency and impurity levels. Because broad-spectrum distillates go through the distillation process, more of the junk comes off. The complete distillate process also helps eliminate almost every trace of THC that may be present in other distillates, making it legal for transport and use anywhere.

CBD distillates are widely used in products in the medicinal world, and experts have spent years researching their potential benefits. 

Water-soluble Isolates 

The third type of CBD extract is a water-soluble isolate. A CBD isolate is considered the most refined form of hemp on the market. It is created by putting CBD distillate through additional processing steps. A CBD isolate, much like a broad-spectrum distillate, only contains 0.2% or less THC, which means you can take and use it anywhere. 

A CBD isolate typically comes in powder form, and a water-soluble CBD isolate is a liquid. That makes this product quite versatile for use in all types of edibles, including beverages. It’s often added to creams, lotions, and other topicals

CBD is extracted from cannabis or hemp plants. It does not mix well with water, and in fact, it repels H2O. The water-soluble version is made by dissolving the CBD isolate in oil then using an emulsifier to create the liquid. Some manufacturers have figured out how to dissolve it in any water-based liquid, though. 

Types of Water-soluble CBD Isolates

Types of Water-soluble CBD Isolates 

There are three types of water-soluble CBD isolates out there. These are nano CBD, encapsulated CBD, and binding CBD. 

Nano CBD is a product that becomes so tiny that you cannot see it in the liquid. Technically, you are not making water-soluble CBD at this stage, but it can appear 100% emulsified in the water to the naked eye. This process does require high-tech equipment, so you may be hard-pressed to find it anywhere.

Encapsulated CBD is used in creating a base that has a roughly 30% CBD concentration at most. CBD particles are encapsulated by something water-soluble, preventing the CBD molecules from binding together. 

Binding CBD is a combination of both nano and encapsulated versions of the extract. 

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to buying any cannabis-related product, make sure you know what you are trying to achieve before starting your search. This will help you narrow down what you do and don’t want, helping you eliminate the hundreds of other products on the market you may be hoping to avoid. 


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