The CBD industry is worth more than ever before and shows no time of slowing down. Yet, much of the general public still doesn’t know the difference between hemp and CBD. That’s why we’ll be clearing up any confusion about these terms with a thorough breakdown of what each one typically means when it comes to the market of hemp-derived goods that dominates the wellness industry today.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant that belongs to the cannabis genus, which is also known for marijuana. Hemp, unlike marijuana, is legal because it’s naturally non-psychoactive, offering only a trace amount of the mind-altering compound THC, which is abundant in marijuana.
It’s the flowering buds of the female hemp plant that contain cannabinoids including CBD. However, that’s not the only part of the plant. There are stalks and leaves that have their own unique chemical compositions but lack the cannabinoid content that most of desire. And, of course, there are hemp seeds as well.
What is CBD?
CBD is cannabidiol, and it is the dominant chemical compound in the buds of the hemp plant. It’s a cannabinoid, which is a type of chemical compound that naturally binds with cannabinoid receptors in the body to produce unique regulatory effects that can support overall wellness. CBD is a single compound, and it’s one of over a hundred that can be identified in any hemp plant’s bud. Also being the most popular, as you’ve likely noticed by now, largely because of its dominance over other compounds within the plant material, along with the fact that it’s easy to extract and has been studied the most extensively.
It’s worth pointing out that other cannabinoids in hemp, like CBG and CBN, may be highly useful as well, independently of CBD.
When the Terms are Used Interchangeably
A lot of confusion comes from the fact that the words “hemp” and “CBD” are used interchangeably in the market. We said that CBD is just one compound in hemp, and on the market, you’ll find lots of products labeled as “CBD” that have far more than just this single hemp compound in the formula.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate
There are “CBD” products that contain only this compound out of the whole hemp plant, and then there are “CBD” products that actually offer a variety of hemp compounds, including a variety of cannabinoids. What determines this is the type of extract in the product.
Hemp extract is, as the name implies, an extract made from the hemp plant. The process uses various means to lift the compounds from the actual plant material, so that you end up with a concentrate that’s rich in cannabinoids, terpenes, nutrients and other desirable compounds.
Three types of hemp extracts can be found in any CBD product:
- Full Spectrum Hemp Extract: Contains the entire array of compounds found in hemp buds.
- Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract: Boasts every compound except for THC.
- CBD Isolate: Pure, concentrated cannabidiol, all by itself.
But, full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate products can all be labeled as “CBD” products according to the manufacturer, which can be misleading, causing people to assume that there’s only CBD and no other hemp compounds in a product. This is why you should always check to see the type of extract that was used to produce the product.
The Hempseed Factor
Another factor worth noting is that many companies produce products that contain hempseed oil, and label them as hemp products. This can confuse people and make them assume that there’s CBD in the product. But the hemp plant’s seeds do not have cannabinoids, and so there is no CBD in any hempseed product. These seeds do, however, offer a rich array of essential nutrients, so we are not disregarding the value of hempseed oils and other products that you’ll find on the market.
Be aware that some companies will use confusing descriptive terms for their hempseed products, in hopes of attracting less educated customers who will assume that something called, for instance, “hemp oil” is a CBD product.
How to Know What Type of Product You’re Getting
If you have a preference when it comes to which of hemp’s many compounds are in a particular product, it’s important to read through a company’s product description. Here, there should be thorough information regarding what parts of the hemp plant were used, and the chemical compounds that are in the extract. Again, look for terms like “full spectrum,” “broad spectrum” or “CBD isolate.” Further, terms like “whole plant” and “entourage effect” indicate that you’re getting all of hemp’s compounds rather than just CBD.
Another thing that you should do before purchasing a hemp or CBD product is look for lab reports on the brand’s website. These lab reports come from a third-party testing facility, where each batch of hemp extract is carefully analyzed. A part of this analysis, which should be available to consumers, is a breakdown of the chemical compounds present. This is objective, unbiased information that will give you the complete picture of what’s in a particular product labeled as either “CBD” or “hemp.”
Remember, there really is no type of CBD or hemp product that’s objectively better than the others when it comes to its chemical composition. Each type of product has its own unique purpose and uses, including hempseed products, which can supply your body with high levels of nutrients. But, if you do find that, for example, full spectrum CBD products give you the best experience out of all hemp-derived goods, then you’ll want to look beyond the name of the product to find out more information, to ensure that you get the compounds that you desire.
Overall, “Hemp” and “CBD” Technically Mean Two Different Things
Yet, today’s wellness market rarely makes the distinction. This is why it’s always important to research a product prior to buying it – this way, you’ll get the cannabinoid experience that you’re seeking out.