December 22, 2021

Cannabis, Hemp & CBD: What's The Difference?

These days you can find quite the collection of cannabis creations — from CBD oil patches and hemp edibles to cannabidiol spray and cannabis capsules.

Cannabis, hemp, and CBD. Those all mean the same thing, right?

Not exactly. These three terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different things.

Let's get some definitions straight.

Clarifying Cannabis

Cannabis is the plant species that's part of the plant family called Cannabaceae. Cannabaceae has over 100 plant species in the fam, but the cannabis we're talking about today is called Cannabis sativa L.

Cannabis encompasses both the marijuana and hemp subspecies. You can think of marijuana as the "high THC, low CBD" species of cannabis. And hemp is generally seen as the "high CBD, low THC" plant.

While you can find marijuana-derived CBD — hemp-derived CBD is much more accessible. Because hemp-derived CBD is federally legal in the US, while marijuana-derived CBD is only legal in select states.

So we'll keep the focus on hemp and the hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) that's available to consumers.

Highlighting Hemp

Hemp — a variety of the Cannabis sativa L. plant — is a super star. Pretty much all parts of the plant are usable, so hemp shines in a wide range of applications. While grown in many locations globally, American hemp is synonymous with quality.

Hemp seed oil, seeds, and fibers can be incorporated into a myriad of products. For example, hemp fibers are used to make textiles, construction materials, and paper products. Seeds are an insanely nutrient-dense food source. The oils extracted from hemp are also popular ingredients in beauty products, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. There are essentially no cannabinoids (like CBD) in hemp seeds.

CBD extract is yet another wondrous hemp-based product. It’s typically produced from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant and is loaded with cannabinoids.

Investigating Industrial Hemp

Industrial hemp refers to the legally-grown hemp in the US — containing less than 0.03% THC content. Hemp-derived CBD comes from industrial hemp.

For just about everything you wanted to know about hemp, peruse our past blogs:

  • Take a tour of hemp legacy in A Look At Hemp & CBD Use Throughout History
  • Marvel at all the applications of hemp in Hemp — It's In There! [Hemp Uses & Products]

Considering CBD

As mentioned earlier, CBD can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp. Hemp just tends to contain more CBD and less THC. And hemp-derived CBD oil is the legal version across the US. The non-psychoactive qualities of hemp-derived CBD have made it a truly remarkable wellness item.

Where people get confused is when it comes to the types of CBD. And we don't mean different CBD products like CBD gummies versus CBD oil drops. We're talking about the three different kinds of CBD you can get in your CBD products.

Tackling The Types Of CBD

Doesn't matter whether you're looking to buy CBD pills or CBD bath bombs — CBD comes in three types.

You got CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD:

  • Isolate CBD. This is a pure cannabidiol substance. (Nothin’ else in there!)
  • Broad-spectrum CBD. This is CBD extract with all the plant compounds and cannabinoids — except for THC, which has been removed. Broad-spectrum CBD may have trace amounts of THC (no more than 0.3%).
  • Full-spectrum CBD. This is CBD oil that’s kept all the planty compounds intact including the naturally-occurring THC. Full-spectrum CBD may have more than 0.3% THC content.

Clear as mud? Don't worry. We cover each type in depth, including all the pros and cons, and provide a handy illustration to help you understand. Shift on over to Different Types of CBD: Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum & Isolate for more.

Cannabis Vs. Hemp Vs. CBD: Same Source, Different Product

Cannabis, hemp, and CBD are terms often flung about without a lot of clarification.

Simply put, CBD comes from hemp (or sometimes marijuana), which is a strain of the cannabis plant. Recent laws have allowed for the cultivation and production of hemp that contains ≤ 0.3% THC in the US — making hemp-derived CBD federally legal, accessible, and affordable.

Now that you know the difference, you can use this info to make a more informed decision when buying CBD oil or hemp products.

And if you're still itching to get into the weeds of CBD, head over to the blog for everything you wanted to know about CBD — from how it's made, to how it works in your body, and more!


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