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CBD VS Hemp: What You Need to Know

CBD VS Hemp: What You Need to Know


With the growing popularity of CBD, confusion continues to swirl around what exactly CBD is and how it relates to hemp. CBD has become a huge wellness trend, touted for benefits ranging from anxiety relief to skin care. But if you don’t understand the key differences between CBD vs. hemp, it’s easy to get misled.

This article will break down what each of these terms really means and clear up some common misconceptions. While CBD and hemp are closely related, they are not identical. Hemp refers to a species of cannabis plant cultivated for industrial use, while CBD is one of many chemical compounds that can be extracted from cannabis. Reading labels closely and educating yourself as a consumer is crucial so you know what you’re getting.

The list of CBD and hemp-infused products on the market keeps growing by the day. From CBD bath bombs to hemp apparel, it seems these plants offer solutions for everything. With so many uses crossing over into the mainstream, understanding cannabis sativa and its derivatives is more important than ever. Separating fact from fiction will ensure you buy and use CBD and hemp consciously and confidently.

This article will provide a helpful guide to navigating all things CBD and hemp. Consider it your primer to understanding terminology, legal issues, health claims and more surrounding these two game-changing plants. While research is still evolving on the potential benefits and risks of CBD specifically, knowledge truly is power when it comes to making informed choices for your wellbeing. So read on to become a CBD and hemp expert so you can cut through the confusion in today’s saturated marketplace.


What is Hemp?


Hemp refers to strains of the cannabis sativa plant that contain very low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), typically less than 0.3%. Unlike marijuana, hemp plants are not cultivated for their intoxicating potential. Instead, hemp has been utilized for centuries as a versatile material with applications across many industries.

Hemp offers an eco-friendly, sustainable crop that can be processed into a wide array of products. The fibrous inner stalks and long outer bast fibers can be made into clothing, homewares, paper, building materials like insulation, and even plastic composites for cars. The woody core of the hemp stalk, known as hurds, is useful for things like animal bedding and kitty litter. Hemp seed and oil can be consumed or used topically, offering nutrients like omega fatty acids, protein, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw or pressed into oil. The oil is also used in soaps, paints, and other products

Recent years have seen a resurgence in hemp cultivation, as hemp was prohibited for decades alongside marijuana due to its genetic similarities. With its negligible THC content, industrial hemp does not induce psychoactive effects and cannot be used recreationally. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp agriculture in the U.S., catalyzing growth in this sector. Today, hemp is poised to help meet global demand for alternatives like plant-based plastics and textiles in order to reduce environmental strain. With proper oversight, hemp offers economic and ecological advantages that make it an important crop for the future across many industries.


Key Differences


While closely linked, CBD and hemp are distinct from one another in a few key ways. First, CBD is a single chemical compound extracted from the cannabis sativa plant, including both marijuana and commercial hemp varieties. Hemp refers to the broader plant species that can be grown for purposes like food, fiber, and extractives.

In addition to CBD, the cannabis sativa plant contains over 100 other cannabinoids that may offer health benefits. And hemp itself has many uses beyond being a source of CBD. Hemp fibers and stalks can be processed into textiles, rope, fuel, building materials, and more, while hemp seeds and oils are nutritious food products. CBD, on the other hand, is a concentrated chemical compound used for supplemental or medicinal benefits.

It’s also important to note that CBD derived from hemp contains little to no THC, the psychoactive component responsible for producing a “high”. Hemp-derived CBD will not cause intoxication due to stringent regulations around legal hemp’s THC levels. However, CBD sourced from marijuana plants may contain higher THC that could induce impairment.

Additionally, regulations differ significantly for hemp versus isolated CBD. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, domestic cultivation and sale of hemp products are now federally legal in the U.S., though regulated by state programs. CBD’s legality remains more complex due to FDA oversight and restrictions around CBD additives in foods or labels making unsubstantiated claims. So in summary, while hemp can certainly be a source of CBD, CBD itself is just one small piece of this crop’s larger agricultural and industrial legacy. And when sourced properly from hemp, CBD will not cause the intoxicating effects associated with cannabis at large.


Common Misconceptions


Despite CBD and hemp’s momentum, common misconceptions still persist about what these cannabis-derived products can and can’t do.

One major falsehood is that CBD products will get users high, which is not the case. Properly sourced CBD extracted from hemp plants contains 0.3% or less THC, far too little to induce psychoactive effects. It is CBD’s non-intoxicating cousin THC that causes the cannabis “high”.

However, some CBD products may contain undisclosed THC levels, so checking third-party test certificates is advised. And CBD isolated from marijuana, not hemp, may have higher THC levels to beware of.

Another misconception is that popular hemp offerings like hemp hearts, protein powder, and oils contain CBD. While nutritious, these hemp food products are derived solely from hemp seeds, which do not naturally contain CBD. All CBD is extracted from other plant parts like flowers and leaves. So while hemp foods have benefits, they should not be viewed as sources of CBD.

Finally, the association between hemp and cannabis often creates confusion about which products actually come from hemp. For instance, marijuana-derived CBD products are still prevalent in places where recreational cannabis is legal. And not all fibers or textiles labeled “hemp” necessarily come from the hemp plant. Being an informed consumer means verifying hemp and CBD sources whenever possible.

Clearing up these common misunderstandings about hemp-derived CBD, hemp foods and cannabis products allows consumers to make educated choices. Seeking out quality CBD and hemp extractors who provide transparency around their practices through third-party standards and testing is key to getting what the label claims.




As we wrap up, let's revisit the key distinctions and interconnectedness between CBD and hemp. While both originate from the Cannabis Sativa plant, hemp is a specific strain low in THC but rich in CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of the numerous cannabinoids found in the plant but has gained significant attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. The relationship between the two is such that CBD is often extracted from hemp, as this ensures the product contains minimal levels of THC, adhering to the legal limit of 0.3%.

Being an informed consumer in this rapidly expanding market is crucial. The lack of strict regulations means that not all CBD or hemp products are created equal. Knowing the source of your CBD, the extraction method used, and the presence of any third-party testing can save you from ineffective or even harmful products. Always look for full or broad-spectrum CBD rather than isolates to ensure you're getting the entourage effect of all beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.

Looking to the future, the prospects for CBD and hemp appear promising yet complex. Legality is still a grey area, but with increasing societal acceptance and preliminary scientific backing, we can expect more states and countries to adopt lenient laws regarding their use. The Farm Bill of 2018 was a significant step forward in the U.S., legalizing hemp cultivation under specific conditions. It opened the door for more research, which is crucial for both consumer safety and broadening our understanding of the plant's potential benefits and drawbacks

As legislation becomes more accommodating and research advances, consumers can look forward to more standardized, potent, and safe CBD and hemp products. However, it will remain essential to be an informed buyer, equipped with the knowledge to navigate this evolving landscape.