Breaking Down CBD

Thomas Lowe
Breaking Down CBD

CBD products are increasingly popular in the UK, and the market is predicted to be worth almost £1 billion by 2025, according to the Centre for Medical Cannabis’s ‘CBD in the UK’ report. Due to this continuing boom, more and more CBD stores are emerging, and already existing shops are adding CBD to their product ranges. However, there are many specialised words surrounding CBD products, which can be intimidating for the average retailer looking to get involved in the industry. 

In this article we’ll look at the different types of CBD available - namely isolate, distillate and terpsolate - what the differences are between them, and how they can be used.

What is CBD Isolate?

As the name suggests, CBD isolate is the isolated form of cannabinol. Before it is isolated, CBD is one of many active ingredients in full-spectrum CBD oil, including phytocannabinoids (such as THC), terpenes, chlorophyll and flavonoids. These are removed using a process called chromatography, leaving isolated CBD in pure crystalline form, without any distinctive smell or taste. CBD isolate comes in crystals or large pieces known as slab or shatter, or it can be ground down into powder.

One of the reasons that people choose to use CBD isolate is that it is completely free of any trace of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that produces a ‘high’ feeling. CBD is legal in the UK as long as it comes from approved seed types with a THC content of less than 0.2%, as THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The lack of even trace amounts of THC makes CBD isolate attractive to people who want to use CBD products without any risk of being exposed to THC. 

How can CBD Isolate be Used?

CBD isolate is one of the most versatile forms of CBD and can be used or ingested in a wide variety of ways. Isolate powder is easy to make into products such as edibles, drinks, sprays and topical creams, as it doesn’t have a strong taste or smell and can be easily flavoured. It also works well in homemade vape juices, or can simply be taken sublingually (beneath the tongue) as it is.

CBD isolate shatter or slab is popular for dabbing, which is similar to vaping. Dabbing requires a specialised dab rig: a type of pipe or bong specifically designed to allow the user to smoke dense concentrates of CBD via water vapour. 

What is CBD Distillate?

CBD distillate has undergone a process of distillation to remove specific cannabinoids from the CBD oil extracted from the hemp plant, usually THC. Heat, steam and vacuum pressure are used to separate different compounds from each other, which can then be removed as necessary. This process can eliminate everything from the CBD, including other cannabinoids such as CBG, terpenes, flavonoids, fats and waxes. However, many CBD distillates keep those extra compounds in, as it offers the benefits of being a broad-spectrum CBD product. 

Broad-spectrum CBD distillate may produce heightened effects of the health benefits associated with CBD, because they contain the additional compounds that work together, enhancing their power. This is referred to as the ‘entourage effect’. However, because the THC has been removed from broad-spectrum CBD products, the entourage effect won’t be as powerful as it is in full-spectrum CBD products, which may contain up to 0.2% THC.

How can CBD Distillate be Used?

Much like CBD isolate, CBD distillate is almost flavourless and tasteless, which means it can be easily added to a wide variety of CBD products, including edibles, drinks, skincare, products, oils and gummies. As a wholesaler or manufacturer it can be used to create your own line of products, as it can be easily bought in bulk. CBD distillate is popular with people who enjoy creating their own vape juice, as its lack of flavour makes it a great base for creating great tasting and smelling products. Although similar to CBD isolate, CBD distillate is a good choice if you are looking for a more potent product.

What is CBD Terpsolate?

The name terspolate is a portmanteau of terpenes and isolate. As this suggests, terpsolate is CBD isolate with added terpenes. Terpenes are the aromatic compound found in many plants, including cannabis, pine and lavender. These plants have a high concentration of terpenes, which is why they have such a strong smell. 

A study published in the National Health Emergency Collection called ‘Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes’ found plenty of evidence that terpenes have medical benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and antiseptic properties. This means that adding them to CBD isolate increases the health benefits of the product. Whilst terpsolate won’t offer the kind of entourage effect associated with full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products, it is likely to offer more health benefits than CBD isolate alone.

Another benefit of terspolate is that terpenes add smell and taste to a product. This can be beneficial to people who enjoy the purity of isolate but would like more flavour without having to mix it with something else. Scientists have identified many types of terpene related to hemp and cannabis plants, but examples of better known ones are:

  • Limonene: This terpene is found in citrus fruits and has a citrusy taste and smell. It can lift mood, energise and relax.
  • Linalool: Found in lavender, this is a floral terpene that helps relieve anxiety and promote good sleep.
  • Mycerene: This terpene has an earthy smell and helps to sedate and relax.
  • Pinene: This comes in two types: alpha and beta. It is found in pine needles and has energising qualities.

How can CBD Terspolate be Used?

Terpsolate can be used in the same ways as both isolate and distillate, including vaping and dabbing. It can be added to food and is excellent for creating extra taste, for example adding a citrusy twist to a smoothie or herbal tea. It can also be placed directly under the tongue and enjoyed without any other ingredients.


The differences between isolate, distillate and terspolate offer consumers a wide variety of choice in how they wish to take CBD. If you like your CBD completely pure and wish to avoid any traces of THC at all, isolate may suit you. If you want to add a little taste and flavour to your isolate, then terpsolate is a good choice. If you want to enjoy the entourage effect of a broad spectrum product, then go for distillate. Whatever you are looking for, there is a CBD product available that offers exactly what you need.

If you want to find out more types of CBD products with a view to setting up your own CBD brand, then why not check out our CBD whitelabel service, which will help you establish everything from your R&D and sourcing to your brand design, order fulfillment and distribution.

Since January 2019 CBD has been considered a ‘novel food’,  meaning that you need to apply to the FSA for authorisation to sell it in the UK. At JM Wholesale, all the CBD products we stock are Novel food compliant, meaning you can buy with confidence, knowing they’re fully approved by the Food Standards Agency.

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