The word “cannabis” refers to the actual botanical plant, which comes in two forms: marijuana and hemp.
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, marijuana is defined as any form of cannabis containing more than 0.3 percent THC content.
Hemp, on the other hand, is any variety of cannabis containing 0.3 percent or less THC content. So though hemp and marijuana both come from the same plant, or “Cannabis Sativa L.”, what differentiates them are the THC levels.
Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds — of which cannabidiol (aka CBD) is just one. There are phyto (meaning plant) cannabinoids, and chemical compounds that mimic the actions of phytocannabinoids or have a similar structure. CBD and THC are the two most well-known cannabinoids. However, there are over 100 known cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as CBG, CBN, and CBDV.
THC aka Delta 9 THC
Probably the most famous and well-known cannabinoid, it’s the chemical responsible for the psychoactive feelings, or what people experience as a “high” effect, when smoking or ingesting the marijuana plant.
CBD aka Cannabidiol
CBD, on the other hand, is not associated with any “high” feeling. Rather, it's a cannabinoid found to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it an ideal ingredient for skincare and wellness. While found in both hemp and marijuana, CBD is most commonly derived from female hemp plants, and can be processed in three different ways: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD, also known as whole plant hemp extract, refers to when all properties of the hemp flower — and, yes, that includes the low levels of THC — are kept intact.
CBD Broad-spectrum CBD is when all properties of the hemp flower remain except for the THC, which is completely removed.
Isolate CBD, as the name suggests, is when all hemp properties are removed except for CBD.
Studies indicate that full-spectrum CBD is more effective than isolate CBD, however it is much less costly. So, many brands use CBD isolates in their formula.
Now, we couldn’t end our discussion around CBD without mentioning hempseed oil, which has been used in skincare for many years. Hempseed oil is what’s most commonly passed off to unknowing consumers as CBD because it is often listed on the ingredient list as Cannabis Sativia L Seed Oil. However, whereas CBD originates from cannabis flowers, leaves, and stems, hempseed oil is only extracted from the seed of the plant. It is a rich source of omegas, but it is not CBD and does not perform in the body or on the skin in the same manner as CBD.