With an increasing focus on all aspects of the cannabis industry thanks to legalization and the continuing progress which is being made on that front, isolates have also come under scrutiny as people delve beyond the superficial layers of the weed industry. Available through a variety of extraction method and with impacts which are still being studied by scientists globally, the present moment marks an exciting period in the roadmap for CBD and THC isolates.
The prolific health benefits of cannabis have been told far and wide. These often come in no more powerful and potent form than when isolated. Concentrates have also been widely discussed, and in a similar vein, they are much more potent, offering a more sustained high. When it comes to complete isolates though, this reaches another new level. Here we will investigate the differences between CBD and THC isolates, how they are extracted, and what they do.
Fundamental Differences between CBD and THC
On the base level, these are the two most important cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. While they both certainly have their valuable uses in the medical field, THC is the one which produces the psychoactive “high” you feel from cannabis. CBD on the other hand, does not produce this high, and is now widely used and promoted within the medical field for its varied uses in treating patients.
THC does also have a host of natural medical benefits, but due for the most part to its psychoactive properties, it remains illegal above a certain small percentage of content in many parts of the world. CBD, on the other hand, is largely free to be used in a growing number of places for relief from chronic conditions, depression, ADHD, and a host of other conditions.
When dealing with isolates, we can expect the absolute purest form of both CBD and THC. This means purity of more than 99% in many cases, with everything completely extracted including oils and waxes, to leave behind only a pure white power form of the isolate.
The Extraction Process
In order to obtain CBD or THC in the first instance, a detailed extraction process has to take place. This takes in several further steps to further purify the cannabinoids, and create the complete isolate. There are a number of ways In which CBD oil can be derived through extraction processes, though for the purposes of this piece, we will focus on one of the more popular and effective methods for extracting the cannabinoids. This is the CO2 extraction method.
This method is expensive and requires knowledgeable and highly skilled individuals to perform successful extractions. The process involves putting carbon dioxide through intense pressure while maintaining the lowest possible temperatures. This leads many to describe it as the subcritical extraction method.
Under these intense pressures, the liquefied before being passed through the cannabis plant material during the process. Ultimately, this separates and completely extracts a high quality of oil which tends to be potent and honey colored. Although we have previously discussed how the color is sometimes not indicative of high quality, though it usually does point to a higher degree of purity.
There are other methods such as ethanol or hydrocarbon extraction which are much easier to access and perform in terms of technology and cost, and these may be suitable to a non-commercial extraction, though for the highest quality to be achieved, these methods may not result in the most effective solution. Many users may also be concerned about the other chemicals which are introduced using these methods.
Regardless of the methods used, you should now be left with your cannabinoid oil extract. This is already in a highly concentrated form, though it will require another further extraction process to both become both activated and create the purest form of isolate which you are seeking.
From Oil to Isolate
When extracted through the subcritical CO2 method, the cannabinoids acid form is preserved. This means in the case of CBD and THC, you are left with CBDA and THCA. An important point to note at this point, particularly in the case of THCA is that this is not the psychoactive compound. In order to activate this form, you need to remove the acid molecule through further extraction which delivers THC in its psychoactive form.
As mentioned, the next step in the extraction process is to remove the acid molecule from the cannabinoid. This process is known as decarboxylation. This may seem like a very scientific and complex procedure, though in actual fact, it is pretty much just the process of heating the extracts. You can learn more about how exactly the process is carried out from the link above.
A lot of research is still being carried out on the acid forms of the cannabinoids and their benefits and relationships with other substances and processes. These kind of continual developments are part of the reason the entire industry remains at the beginning of a very exciting journey, where more open attitudes can lead to a vast amount more experimentation and scientific development for both medical and personal benefit.
Winterization which is the process of soaking the extract in alcohol and introducing sub-zero temperatures to separate other residual plant elements and solvents is an additional measure which can be taken to further increase the concentration of the cannabinoid.
Ultimately, to become a completely single-molecule isolate, chromatography is used. This removes all of the additional elements which are present in either CBD or THC and the end result after these processes are completed is a more versatile CBD cannabinoid which can be very precisely measured and the impact of which easily quantified when compared with non-isolates where other influences may also be at work. The positives behind THC isolate are also similar, with many also seeking the most intense high possible from this extremely pure form.
The most beneficial use of isolate though may well be in the medical field. This applies both now and in the coming years. Being easier to measure should result in its benefits to the medical sector becoming even clearer in such a manner that they are almost indisputable.
Regular Uses of Isolates
There are many reasons why one may want to completely isolate CBD and THC. Many of these focus on the ease of use and integration with other products which is allowed to take place through the use of isolate powder.
Foremost among these is that you can use them to create your own oils which are precisely measured. This customization gives you complete control over exactly how much CBD or THC your products contain and allows them to be tailored specifically for your use.
As the CBD isolate is completely devoid of taste and odor, it also means it can easily be taken directly for whatever purposes you require, with little worry about taste preference or other factors. Placing the isolate CBD or THC powder under your tongue will allow for the fastest possible absorption so that the isolate can get straight to work.
These isolates can also easily be mixed together with other products you use on a daily basis. This can include anything from popping it in your smoothie to having your morning cereal topped with THC isolate (probably not recommended). The point is that these isolates allow for much greater flexibility in how you utilize both CBD and THC in your daily life when you are not bound to other ingredients and terpenes.
THCA when left in its unheated state, therefore staying non-psychoactive, has also been shown in a variety of cases to have some excellent medicinal benefits even beyond what we already know and expect. These include anti-inflammatory properties for battlers of arthritis and other conditions as well as nausea, stomach problems and studies are also being done on the isolates impact on epileptic seizures. Altogether, this is hugely positive news for the sector as it continues to advance within the healthcare field in terms of integration.
Cannabis isolates in all forms represent a positive and exciting progression for the industry and all of those who either enjoy a higher purity cannabinoid for personal use or for use within the medicinal field. It is true that more extensive research is required, although this is continuing and advancing all of the time.
There are also certainly major differences, coupled with some lasting crossovers as to how different isolates are utilized and how they can be enjoyed in the case of THC and its ability to get you high. Regardless of use case, the ease and transparency with which processes are being made available and research is being conducted reflects positively for the future of the entire sector. So, whether it is using isolates to alter your next big range of custom CBD oils, or directly ingesting to help combat chronic health and pain issues, you can be confident that the future will open up even more opportunity for cannabis isolates.