The U.S. market for CBD, cannabidiol, is at an all-time high. It’s expected to grow by 107% annually by 2023. 

With all of that interest comes a variety of different companies and products made from both hemp and cannabis. But what is the difference between cannabis and hemp CBD?

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD. 

What Is CBD?

The reason why most people are drawn to CBD products is that CBD promises many different health benefits. From helping with anxiety and depression to helping with sleep and pain relief, it seems as if there is nothing CBD oil can’t cure. 

Scientific studies are being conducted to confirm CBD benefits for these conditions and more. There is some preliminary evidence that suggests CBD works with our endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is the body’s signaling system. 

CBD is the short name given to cannabidiol. It is the non-intoxicating meaning you can’t get high from CBD. THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in cannabis that gets people high. The difference between THC levels in hemp and cannabis is confusing and has caused many legal battles. 

CBD has more than 540 phytochemicals that are found in the cannabis Sativa plant. It’s a naturally occurring substance that is used in many products and may promote a feeling of relaxation and calmness. 

Hemp CBD

First things first. What is hemp? Hemp is a very specific strain of the cannabis Sativa plant. 

People have grown hemp for hundreds of years for its industrial usage. Hemp fibers can be used to make clothing, rope, sails, food, and many other useful items.

Industrial hemp has a long history going way back. Thomas Jefferson had a hemp farm and saw hemp production as an important crop in America.

In 2018, lawmakers passed the 2018 Farm Bill which reclassified cannabis Sativa plants with less than 0.3% THC as industrial hemp plants. Now producers can grow hemp legally across the majority of the U.S. 

Hemp plants do contain THC but at very low levels. In most cases, producers use the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant to make CBD hemp oil and hemp CBD products. 

Hemp plants contain a lot more CBD than plants that contain higher amounts of THC. This makes the hemp plant the perfect variety for producers looking to make CBD products.

Benefits of Hemp CBD

There are many benefits of hemp CBD, but one of the most common uses it to treat pain symptoms. Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. 

Recently scientists have discovered certain compounds in cannabis, including CBD, that is believed to provide pain relief. This is an amazing relief for people with chronic pain issues who would otherwise have to take narcotics to find relief. 

These studies have shown CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting our endocannabinoid receptor activity. This will reduce inflammation and interact with our body’s neurotransmitters. 

Another amazing benefit is CBD’s effect on people with anxiety and depression. Again, these illnesses are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs which can cause a number of side effects. 

There have been studies done to prove the effectiveness of CBD oil in the treatment of anxiety and depression. CBD oil is safe to use, it’s all-natural, and it has minimal symptoms associated with its usage.

It works by interacting with our brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates social behavior and our mood.

There are many other ailments people use CBD oil for including cancer, acne, heart health, and insomnia. CBD is quickly replacing pharmaceutical medications for people who are seeking an alternative approach. 

Cannabis CBD

Now that we have a firm grasp on hemp CBD it is time to learn what is cannabis and cannabis CBD. Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant that comes in three different varieties: cannabis Indica, cannabis Sativa, and cannabis Ruderalis.

There is also a range of different hybrid plants that are a mixture of these three main varieties. Cannabis plants contain much higher levels of THC than hemp plants. The cannabis plants also tend to contain lower amounts of CBD. 

A study was performed in 2016 to test the potency of the cannabis plant. The study found that the potency of cannabis rose from 4% in 1995 to 12% in 2014. This study also found the average CBD level decreased from 0.28% to 0.15%. 

All CBD products are required by law to contain less than 0.3% THC, so even if you purchase a CBD product that is derived from cannabis instead of hemp it should have the same amount of THC in product.

Any product that contains a greater amount of THC is categorized as recreational usage of cannabis and is not legal according to the federal government, although many states have written their own laws allowing recreational usage of cannabis. 

Since CBD that comes from cannabis plants and hemp plants is molecularly the same substance the benefits of CBD do not change. You can still get the many benefits listed above if you take CBD that is derived from cannabis. 

However, there are a few differences between hemp vs cannabis CBD. Keep reading to learn more about the difference in CBD produced by these two plants. 

Resin Content

One major difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD is the resin content of each plant. Cannabis resin can be found in the trichomes of the flowers of the plant. You can also find resin the leaves and other plant materials to a lesser extent. 

Cannabis plants usually contain a lot of resin, while hemp plants contain much less resin. Because of this a large amount of hemp is needed to create CBD oil.

However, there are many new types of hemp plants being cultivated. Some of these new plants are being grown specifically for their high concentrations of CBD such as Berry blossom, Cobbler, and Cherry Charlotte plants. These new strains of hemp can produce up to 20% CBD. 

Delta 8 cannabis has also exploded in popularity in recent years. This molecule looks pretty structurally similar to CBD. There is a lot of people may not know about this strain of cannabis and its many benefits that new research is uncovering every day.

Contamination Levels

Another major area where cannabis and hemp CBD differ is in the contamination levels. There is a lack of regulations on the production of hemp and the making of hemp CBD products. This could lead to inferior quality products or products that are super potent without the user’s prior knowledge.

For example, in China, there are few regulations placed on hemp. Hemp is categorized as an agricultural product and is grown as such. Hemp products that are produced in China tend to have much higher levels of contamination which leads to contaminated hemp CBD products. 

Due to the country’s unregulated mining activity, some regions of China are heavily polluted with heavy metals in the soil and water. These contaminants can be potentially harmful to CBD users. 

In order to make sure that your CBD hemp product is completely safe to use, make sure your hemp is grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals and comes from American hemp producers.

You should also check and make sure your product has been tested by a third-party who can vouch that the product’s potency is what the company says it is and the product is safe to use.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate products are products that only contain CBD. The CBD molecule is isolated from other molecules in the cannabis plant. These other molecules include terpenes, THC, and other types of cannabinoids.

If you wish to avoid these other cannabis compounds it is a good idea to look for a hemp CBD product that is an isolated product. These products are usually made from hemp, not cannabis. 

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD oil. Because of this, it is the perfect product for first-time CBD users. CBD isolate is also refined so it doesn’t contain a taste or odor. 

A study performed in 2015 proved that CBD isolate has many different health benefits. Some of these benefits were less noticeable when users tried a full spectrum CBD product.

The research showed isolated CBD products do have an effect on pain and inflammation. If you are looking to relieve these symptoms a CBD isolate product may work better for you. 

Also, if you are looking to take a higher dosage of CBD, a CBD isolate may also work better for you as well. Since there isn’t a noticeable amount of THC in isolated products THC should not appear on any drug test.

Be sure to thoroughly read the packaging to make sure the product is what it claims to be and always double-check to see if it has been verified by a third party. This will help you avoid adverse effects. 

Full Spectrum CBD

On the other hand, products known as full-spectrum CBD products contain more cannabinoids. These products are also referred to as whole-plant products.

A full-spectrum CBD product is derived from cannabis plants and contains a full extraction of all the components of the hemp plant – cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and low levels of THC. 

Full-spectrum products must still follow the rules and are required to have less than 0.3%  of THC in their product. THC in these low amounts is not enough to produce psychoactive effects associated with cannabis. 

These products can have more therapeutic benefits because of the added components to the final CBD product. These products can also be more potent than CBD isolates. These products can help with a wide range of ailments including the following: 

  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms
  • Anxiety
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Psychotic disorders

Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a CBD regime to make sure any medications you are currently taking will not be negated by the CBD oil. Your doctor can also take a look at your medical history and suggest if a full spectrum CBD or CBD isolate is right for you. 

What Is the Entourage Effect? 

The reason why research indicates that full-spectrum CBD products may have more benefits to them than CBD isolate products lies in what is known as the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is when all the components of the cannabis plant work together. The cannabinoids, terpenes, and other components have a more pronounced effect on the body when combined. This can help prolong the effects of the CBD or increase its overall potency. 

There have been various studies that show the entourage effect can help increase the efficiency of CBD products. One paper published in 2018 showed patients with epilepsy responded better to full-spectrum cannabis-rich CBD extracts when they included cannabinoids and phytonutrients in the mixture.

The study’s author, Fabricio Pamplona, Ph.D., observed that the patients reported lower dosages with full-spectrum CBD than those using a CBD isolate product to achieve the desired results. 

Patients who take full-spectrum CBD products also may experience fewer side effects. It’s not fully understood why this is the case at this time, but scientists say that it is related to the entourage effect that the other chemical compounds give to the full spectrum products. 

Which Is Right for Me? 

The style of CBD product you choose to use will largely depend on your reasons for using the product in the first place and the state you live in.

With the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill hemp CBD products are legal in all fifty states but only states that allow for cannabis use medically or recreationally allow cannabis CBD products to be sold in their states. 

If you have the freedom to choose which product you want to take, experts tend to prefer full-spectrum CBD products that use the full plant and all of its compounds. 

However, the use of THC is not required to achieve the desired medicinal effects of CBD. It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting a CBD regime and see if they have any suggestions for you personally. 

Full-spectrum products offer the entourage effect as well as a host of medicinal benefits, but if you are a first-time CBD user it may be wise to start off with an isolate CBD product until you know how it affects you. 

Hemp CBD vs. Cannabis CBD

It doesn’t appear that hemp CBD oil will be slowing down in popularity anytime soon. There has been massive adoption among the American population, many of which are tired of taking pharmaceuticals to relieve their symptoms and would prefer a more natural product. 

If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out our other articles on health and beauty.