Generally, you want products that are as pure as possible — at least when it comes to products you are using to affect your health. Yet, the most common free CBD products are spectrum products, meaning they include all manner of additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from cannabis, as well as various additives for shelf stability and preservation. Shouldn’t CBD providers strive to give you the most concentrated, purest form of CBD to help you manage your condition?
The answer is — it depends. CBD isolate does exist, but it might not be the best CBD product for you. Here is some absolutely free CBD and how to determine whether you really need it.
Free-CBD: How CBD Isolate Is Made
CBD isolate is an extract, meaning it is a product created by extracting the desired compound (CBD) from undesirable compounds (plant material, THC, terpenes, etc.). There are many processes of extraction, and none of them are unique to free CBD isolate. All extracts, like full- and broad-spectrum CBD oils and even THC isolate products, use similar techniques to preserve the good stuff while removing the unwanted stuff. In effect, there are essentially two common extraction methods employed by the cannabis industry: CO2 and hydrocarbon solvent.
CO2 extraction involves using heated, pressurized carbon dioxide as a solvent, which washes away everything but the desired compound within cannabis. To start, machines freeze CO2, and then in the same chamber, the machine heats and re-pressurizes the CO2 into a supercritical fluid state — or a state where the boundaries between liquid and gas do not exist. When in this state, the CO2 can effuse through raw hemp like a gas and dissolve materials like a liquid. After passing through cannabis, the CO2 is separated from the CBD and other compounds it has dissolved and re-used in additional cycles of the extraction process.
CO2 extraction is one of the best methods for creating a purely free CBD isolate. Unlike other extraction methods, CO2 is non-toxic, so any leftover CO2 residue does not impact the quality of the product. What’s more, CO2 extraction has long been employed in the food industry, which means it is well-understood and rather predictable, allowing producers impeccable control over their final product.
However, CO2 extraction is remarkably expensive. The equipment necessary for storing, cooling, and heating CO2 is complex and difficult to maintain and operate, so only the most advanced and sophisticated labs have access to this technique. Plus, the yield of each cycle tends to be lower than other extraction methods. As a result, you will likely pay much, much more for less CBD isolate extracted with CO2.
Hydrocarbon Solvent Extraction
Simply put, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound made of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. There are several different hydrocarbons used for cannabis extraction purposes; ethanol, alcohol, butane, and propane are the most common because they are the most effective and cost-efficient. All hydrocarbon extraction processes entail running the solvent over raw cannabis, evaporating the solvent, and filtering out the desired compound. Often, this extraction method also includes a step called “winterization,” where the product is frozen to remove fats and excess solvent for added purity.
Hydrocarbon solvent extraction is much more accessible to the average free CBD producer, but it comes with downsides, as well. Most importantly to you, some hydrocarbons are toxic, which means any solvent left in the final product could damage your health. CBD isolate products produced with this method might be cheaper, but they are likely of lower quality.
Location Free CBD Isolate Selling Points
Free CBD isolate is sold almost everywhere. In states where CBD can be sold over-the-counter, you can find isolated options in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail spaces. However, it isn’t always a good idea to purchase any CBD, let alone isolate, from just anywhere. It is remarkably difficult to produce CBD isolate, so some unscrupulous brands package less-than-pure CBD and label it as isolate. Other CBD producers might leave in dangerous amounts of solvent, and others might introduce toxic compounds like lead or formaldehyde.
In truth, you should only purchase cannabis products from trustworthy spaces, like cannabis dispensaries. Some states have more regulations regarding extracts than others. For instance, you are much more likely to find high-quality CBD isolate in a Portland dispensary, where the state closely observes how cannabis is grown, processed, and sold.
How Free CBD Isolate Is Used
Once everything is removed but CBD, the product left is a white rock or powder which is quite different. The typical cannabis product. However, CBD isolate can be used like any other free CBD product. Here are some of the most common methods of use:
Sublingual. You can apply the powder beneath your tongue, where it will absorb into your bloodstream for immediate relief. Sublingual administration is perhaps the fastest, safest, and most reliable way to dose with almost any substance.
Inhalation. You can mix CBD isolate with terpenes or other CBD concentrates on creating a high-CBD substance that can be vaped. Some crystal CBD can be dabbed in traditional oil rigs.
Ingestion. You can buy free CBD isolate in capsule form, or you can mix CBD isolate into beverages and food. In both cases, the non-ideal substance must travel through your digestive system to be absorbed.
Topical. Finally, you can mix CBD isolate into a carrier oil, like olive oil, coconut oil, or shea butter, and apply it topically to areas of your body where you need relief. Topical administration won’t provide all-over effects, but it is effective for targeted use.
CBD isolate isn’t difficult to use, but its expense and rarity make it a troublesome cannabis product to chase. What’s more, isolate might not be as effective as full- or broad-spectrum options. Though more research is warranted, many CBD users attest that products containing a mixture of CBD, THC, and terpenes generate an “entourage effect,” whereby the different compounds boost one another’s effectiveness. You can try free CBD isolate for yourself, but you should try less expensive CBD products. This assists in determining whether you truly need such purity.
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