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Hemp-Derived CBD vs Marijuana-Derived CBD

Green, amber, and clear dropper bottles are laying on a white marble background with marijuana leaves placed around them.

Layne Alfred |

Hemp vs Cannabis-Derived CBD

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “hemp” used before as a synonym for weed. But hemp is a very different plant than marijuana, even though it is of the same species. The biggest commonality between the two plants is that they both produce substantial amounts of CBD, or cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis. Even though the CBD derived from hemp is identical to that derived from marijuana, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and is mostly produced for food and textiles.

Feeling Curious

With the decreased stigma on marijuana, more demographics across America have become open to exploring CBD to help reduce pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression and PTSD. Not surprisingly, corporations saw this as an opportunity to cash in on the craze, and now you can find CBD in pretty much everything from food to body lotion.

A white female hand holds three different CBD products, JustCBD vape juice, a Funky Farms CBD vape cartridge, and Hempzilla body relief lotion in front of a shelf filled with other CBD products.

Just because a product’s packaging has a cannabis leaf slapped on it, however, doesn’t mean much. The regulatory framework on CBD is still very limited, giving corporations free reign on the ingredients and process of developing their product. The FDA is still working out the guidelines on how to regulate the cannabis industry as a whole, meaning that even if a product claims to contain CBD, it could be snake oil for all we know. And hemp? As of 2018, it’s not considered a Schedule 1 drug, meaning hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal with some state exceptions.

Know Your Terms

A two photo collage of two different examples of CBD products. The right is a turquoise Select CBD box with the line that says it contains hemp oil underlined. The right is a Koi CBD vape cartridge with the info about their proprietary blend of cannabinoids and terpenes underlined.

If you live in a state where recreational marijuana is not yet legal, CBD products on drugstore shelves are probably made from hemp. Make sure that this hemp product actually contains CBD at all– some just contain hempseed oil but still depict what resembles a cannabis leaf. Hempseed oil is also said to be anti-inflammatory, but won’t have nearly the same potency or as many benefits as CBD (and you definitely don’t want to pay CBD price for a seed oil). CBD will be listed on the label as cannabidiol; hempseed oil could also be listed as cannabis sativa seed oil.

Only 11 states that have legalized recreational weed are likely to have marijuana-derived CBD available. In this case, the product is more likely to be free of pesticides, fillers and other chemicals because of the increasing regulation on marijuana. Even so, always check third-party lab reports to make sure the cannabinoid profile is up to par.

If you’ve determined that your hemp-derived product has been third-party tested, is safe and contains substantial amounts of CBD, the effects shouldn’t differ from the marijuana-derived CBD products on the market. The bottom line is to do your research on products that claim to contain CBD. Find out what your state’s laws are on cannabis and hemp, and decide from there whether to look for hemp-derived products or ones with CBD from cannabis.


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