Defining language in the CBD industry
A scientific breakdown to help define CBD, Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp and why the terms are often used interchangeably.
General interest in and demand for CBD has grown significantly over the past decade as people have embraced CBD to help with various conditions including pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression. With such a wide range of health benefits and no risk of intoxicating effects, CBD products have become part of many people’s daily wellness routine.
Even as CBD has become increasingly popular, there still exists some confusion around the many different terms used in the industry. We often get questions about the differences between cannabis, marijuana, hemp, and CBD, and we’ll explain these terms to help you understand how these things differ, and what it all means for you.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis refers to a genus of flowering plants (meaning it’s a broad category of related plants). Within the genus Cannabis, there are about 170 different species. For example, you may have heard of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These are two different species within the more general genus Cannabis. There is some confusion in the industry when people use the term “Cannabis” to refer to a more specific category but technically, the term Cannabis refers to all plants within one genus.
Cannabis is a group of related plants and the broadest catch-all term on this list.
What is Marijuana?
Both marijuana and hemp come from plants in the Cannabis genus. The difference between marijuana and hemp has to do with a critical chemical distinction. Marijuana refers to plants that have greater than 0.3% THC. THC is what is responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana also known as a high. Plants with greater than 0.3% THC remain illegal at the federal level, though many states have now legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Generally the word marijuana is used to differentiate between Cannabis products that are hemp and Cannabis products that are not hemp based on percentage of THC.
Marijuana is any Cannabis plant that has 0.3% THC or greater. Federally illegal; legal in some states for medical or recreational uses.
What is Hemp?
Again, both marijuana and hemp come from plants in the Cannabis genus. Hemp specifically refers to Cannabis sativa. Hemp plants are known for having high concentrations of CBD and very low concentrations of THC (below 0.3%). Hemp has been grown for thousands of years and has been harvested for the production of many everyday commercial items. Today different parts of the hemp plant are used for a variety of applications:
- Seeds are generally used for consumption as the seeds themselves, or are made into oils, milks, cheeses, and more (hemps seeds are considered a super food!)
- Stalks are used for their fiber and can be used for textiles, building materials, paper goods, and even biofuel development
- Leaves and flowers are generally used for CBD products including topicals and ingestibles (our organic CBD oils come from hand-harvested leaves and flowers)
The 2018 Farm Bill officially made it legal to commercially grow, manufacture and sell hemp products to the public. The federal government uses the term hemp to describe Cannabis sativa plants with less than 0.3% THC. All hemp derived products are legal in the United States.
In the US, the level of THC defines the difference between hemp and marijuana. More than 0.3% THC is marijuana and less than 0.3% THC is considered hemp. Hemp has many uses and is legal at the federal level.
What is CBD?
Finally getting to the good part! CBD is a chemical compound that is found in Cannabis plants. It is one of more than 100 different cannabinoids that are found in Cannabis. THC is a cannabinoid, and CBD is a cannabinoid. However, these different chemical compounds have very different effects on the human body. Remember, THC is psychoactive, CBD is not. Cannabinoids produce different effects in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a “vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that are densely packed throughout our brains and bodies”(Harvard Medical).
CBD stimulates different receptors within the endocannabinoid system and influences both the brain and body and this is why CBD can impact pain, emotion, mood, inflammation, and more. There is ongoing clinical research on the potential therapeutic effects of CBD and there’s existing research that suggests CBD oil can help anxiety and depression, relieve pain, alleviate chronic symptoms and complications, and more. According to the World Health Organization “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential….To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
CBD is a legal, safe and non psychoactive chemical compound that naturally occurs in cannabis. CBD has many powerful applications for wellness.
Cannabis includes both marijuana and hemp. CBD can come from either. All of our CBD products come from organic hemp grown in Utah. Using quality CBD products is a safe way to care for your body and elevate your wellness. Don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself today! If you’re just getting into CBD, check out our starter pack.