What is CBD isolate and how to use it

"What is CBD isolate?"

Updated May 2019

Cannabidiol (CBD) isolate, aka CBD crystal, slab or shatter, is the most pure form of CBD you can buy. The CBD molecule is isolated and extracted from hemp buds from the cannabis plant and sold as a white crystal or powder. CBD isolate is THC free, cheaper than other CBD products and can be used a number of different ways.

What is CBD isolate?

CBD isolate is single-molecule CBD. It’s what’s left after CBD has been isolated and extracted from other cannabinoids and plant materials. It looks like snowy-white crystals or powder and it contains no THC.

CBD isolate benefits:

  1. THC free
  2. Cheaper than other forms of CBD
  3. Easy to measure exact doses
  4. Can be used to make DIY CBD products
  5. Better tasting than oils
  6. Easy to take, less messy than oils

CBD powder vs CBD slab or shatter

The only difference between CBD isolate slabs / shatter and CBD powder is the structure of the isolate. It has the same medicinal qualities, absorption rates and effect.However, if you’re planning to do anything with the isolate other than absorb is sublingually (under tongue) or ingest it, you may be better off with one from over the other:

  • CBD isolate powder is easier to make homemade CBD products like edibles, creams or homemade vape juices. It can be eaten as is, or absorbed sublingually (under tongue)
  • CBD isolate crystal, slab or shatter is easier to use for dabbing, can be used to make edibles, creams, vape liquids, digested or absorbed sublingually

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It’s a key component of medicinal marijuana and has many medicinal properties & uses.
CBD isolate is a pure extraction of the cannabinoid from the plant.

CBD isolate for sale

These are all vetted suppliers who provide concentration and contamination testing details:



Price / gram

CBDistilleryIsolate powder$29.00 Order
Phyto FamilyIsolate powder$29.00 Order
Lazarus NaturalsIsolate$30.00 Order
Dr ganja CBD isolateIsolate powder ($99 for 7 grams)$14.15 Order

CBD isolate benefits over oils and other methods

CBD isolate contains no THC

High quality CBD isolate should by definition contain 0% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) – the cannabinoid responsible for causing a ‘high’.

We recommend buying isolate from suppliers, manufacturers or companies who provide product test results showing no THC content. When it comes to isolate, this is a strong indicator of quality.

Even trace amounts of THC can cause positive results. While it’s uncommon, some have tested positive to a THC test after taking a CBD hemp oil (a product containing <0.03% THC), despite the amount being too small to cause any kind of impairment.

For those who undergo regular drug testing, CBD isolate is a much safer choice compared to other methods.

Dosage is easily measurable

Of all the methods of taking CBD, isolate is one of the easiest to calculate dosage. Using a sensitive kitchen scale the weight of the isolate is exactly equal to the CBD content in milligrams (mg). This allows dosages to be much more easily measured out and experimented with.

This is not the case for CBD tinctures, creams and edibles, whose total weight only contain a certain percentage of CBD. Calculating how much actual CBD per drop of CBD oil and then accurately dosing can be confusing and messy.

Can be used to make homemade CBD products

CBD isolate can be used to make other CBD products at home. For example, it can be:

  • Mixed with food and drinks, and then be digested
  • Added to a carrier oil like coconut oil or MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) to make a CBD tincture/drops
  • Added to an e-juice and vaped with a vaporizing device
  • Mixed into a cream before being topically applied to the skin

This versatility is an advantage over other CBD products. For instance, CBD buds need to be heated (activated) before they can be used in cooking. CBD oils can’t be mixed into e-juice or vaped and don’t mix properly into creams.

These use cases are further discussed below.

CBD isolate is cheaper

Compared to CBD tinctures, oils and edibles, CBD isolate is a more affordable product when comparing price per milligram of CBD.

CBD isolate is usually sold as a white powder or crystal in 1 gram quantities, less often in half gram quantities. Its price range in America is approximately $25.00 – $40.00 per gram (1000mg) of CBD.

A tincture or oil containing the same quantity of CBD can be greater than double the price of the isolate product. Take the comparison below as an example:

CBD isolate vs full spectrum

High quality CBD isolate has no other ingredients, additives or any other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. While this can be it’s major advantage for those avoiding all traces of THC, it also means other beneficial cannabinoids from the cannabis plant are omitted.

‘Full spectrum’ is a term used to describe CBD products that, unlike isolate, contain a whole profile of other cannabinoids. Full spectrum products also include amounts of THC which are too small to feel, but potentially contribute to the effectiveness of CBD.

Raphael Mechoulam – the organic chemist who discovered how THC interacts with our bodies – was the first to refer to this phenomenon of cannabinoids working more effectively together rather than in isolation. He coined the observation the ‘entourage effect’.

CBD isolate effects:

CBD isolate effects

As expressed by the World Health Organisation, CBD has a diverse range of medicinal properties. These properties are the basis of the effects it has:



NeuroprotectiveA reduction in the rate of neuronal loss over time, reducing the damage to the brain and nervous system
AntiepilepticAn anticonvulsant. Used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Anticonvulsants can also be utilized as mood stabilisers
Hypoxia-ischemiaFunctional, biochemical, and neurobehavioral improvements following Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury
AnxiolyticCombats anxiety and depression
AntipsychoticUsed to manage psychosis and psychotic symptoms, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia and severe anxiety
AnalgesicPain relief (analgesia), works by reducing inflammation and by blocking pain signalling to the brain
Anti-inflammatoryReduce inflammation or swelling
Anti-asthmaticReduce inflammation of the airway passages and respiratory system
Anti-tumoralcSlow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells (in the early stages of clinical trials)

CBD isolate dosage – How much to take

CBD affects people differently depending on many variables, such as your size and sensitivity, as well as the type of condition being treated. What works for one person may not work for another. This means, when starting a CBD supplement programme, the individual needs to work out their own optimal dose.

Being able to measure out your dose of CBD isolate accurately is highly important. Guessing a dose of isolate is difficult and highly unadvised. Being able to exactly calculate and monitor CBD dosage is one of CBD isolates key advantages over other CBD products.

The optimal CBD dose is the minimum amount required to feel desired effect.

Steps for finding your optimal dose:

  1. Start with a low dose (5 – 10mg) to see how your body responds
  2. Take the same dose for a few days to give your body time to respond
  3. If desired results are not felt, slowly increase the dose by 5 – 10 mg at a time. With each increase, allow 2 – 3 days before increasing further
  4. Keep a record of your dose and how you were feeling each day
  5. Don’t dramatically increase dose
  6. If you feel any discomfort, reduce dosage
  7. CBD can have a subtle effect, there isn’t a ‘high’ or dramatically noticeable effect like THC (recreational cannabis)

When starting a CBD supplement program its recommended to consult your healthcare professional, especially if you take other medications as CBD drug interactions can occur.

How to use CBD isolate

CBD isolate has already been decarboxylated or activated, that means it doesn’t need to be heated in anyway for our bodies to absorb and benefit from the CBD.
There are a variety of different ways to use CBD isolate, each having their own advantages and drawbacks.

Ingesting – (The most easy method)

  1. Measure out desired dosage using sensitive kitchen scales
  2. Dissolve into drinks, mix into foods or swallow the isolate by itself. Isolate powder dissolves and mixes more easily than shatter/crystal, however its possible with either
  • Best to consume with other foods or after eating rather than on an empty stomach, as this makes it easier for your body to absorb the CBD
  • When ingesting CBD, the onset of effects takes longer, taking around 30 – 90 minutes to take effect. However, the effects also last longer than other methods.
  • A drawback of ingesting is less CBD is absorbed compared to sublingual, vaping or inhaling.

Sublingual – (An easy method)

  1. Measure out desired amount
  2. Rather than swallowing the isolate, place it under your tongue (sublingual) and allow it to dissolve in your mouth
  3. Leave it under your tongue for 90 seconds (or longer) if possible
  4. Wash down and swallow
  • This method results in the CBD being absorbed through blood vessels under the tongue and in the gums.
  • It’s a highly effective and efficient way to take CBD as most of it is able to be absorbed by the body

Most CBD isolate sold is flavourless, if you’re planning to take the sublingual approach, you may consider opting for a flavoured isolate product i.e.

Phyto Family flavoured isolates:

  • 1/2 gram sizes (500mg CBD)
  • $24.00 ($0.048 / mg)

See flavours

Topical cream – (Medium level difficulty)

  1. Thoroughly mix isolate into your favourite simple body cream
  2. The amount of isolate used varies greatly in CBD cream products on the market: from 1500mg per 100ml cream on the higher end, to 120mg per 100ml cream on the lower end
  3. Clean and dry skin
  4. Apply generously and massage
CBD Cream

CBD cream for pain

Regularly using a topical cannabidiol (CBD) cream is an effective source of targeted pain relief for many, especially for people suffering from multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or those who often have sore or inflamed muscles.

Dabbing – (Relatively difficult method of taking CBD isolate)

Dabbing is the ‘flash vaporization’ of cannabis concentrates i.e. CBD isolate. One dabs by using a dabbing rig to expose the isolate to very high temperatures and inhaling the vapour that is produced.

Dabbing is one of the most effective ways of taking CBD and provides immediate relief. The drawback of dabbing is that it’s an involved process that requires investment in equipment. Dabbing rigs start at $50.00 and can be priced into the hundreds.

It’s not a method recommended for first time CBD users.

Dabbing rigs consists of:

  • Housing (water pipe): specially designed to house a nail which will be heated and filter the vapour through water. The housings come in many different shapes and sizes
  • Nail: made from ceramic, quartz or titanium, the nail sits inside the housing and is heated with a blowtorch which vaporizes the isolate when it comes into contact
  • Cap dabber (wand): the tool used to place isolate onto the hot nail
  • Torch: you can’t use a normal lighter to heat the nail to temperatures hot enough. Butane torches are required to get to the temperatures required to dab – 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit ( 150 – 200 °C )


  1. Set up rig, place water into the housing and measure out desired dose into the cap dabber (wand). Start with very small amounts until you get the hang of the dabbing and inhaling process
  2. Heat nail to 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit ( 150 – 200 °C )
    To reach this approximate temperature, heat the nail for 20 seconds and allow to cool for 40 seconds. If the nail is glowing red it’s too hot (around 900 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures too high will combust the CBD resulting in lost potency and effectiveness.
  3. Using the cap dabber/wand add it directly onto the hot nail while slowly inhaling the vapor produced. Rotating the dabbing wand to make sure it’s all vaporized.

Vaping Isolate – (Relatively difficult method of taking CBD isolate)

In the same vein as dabbing, vaping involves heating up a substance to a specific temperature and inhaling the vapor gases that are produced.

Buying a pre-mixed e-juice or vape pen is the easiest way to try vaping as a method to dose CBD before mixing your own CBD isolate into an e-juice.

CBD isolate vape juice

Mixing CBD isolate into an e-juice is more complicated but allows complete control over dose and personal tastes. We recommend premixing CBD into vape juices for those who have experience vaping as the following must be considered:

  • E-juice is usually made from a combination the fluids PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (Vegetable Glycerin). These liquids are thinning agents which are able to be heated by the electric coils in vaping devices.
  • Different ratios of PG and VG affect the consistency and feeling of the vaped liquid. Certain vaping devices can only work with a certain level of PG and VG, check with instructions or manufacturer
  • CBD isolate dissolves much more readily into PG compared to VG: When making a mixture, first dissolved desired amount of CBD into a PG liquid by gentle heating or thorough shaking. Then mix with a high VG blend.
  • It is possible to be allergic/intolerant to PG-based e-fluid and adverse reactions such as skin irritation can occur
  • The more CBD that is used, the higher the chance of re-crystallization (the CBD isolate separating from the liquids) which can clog vaping tanks