There’s a lot of brand hype out there, and most of it is confusing. Understanding all the jargon and trying to compare products to one another is not easy. Not all manufacturers use the same terminology or disclose the same product, processing and ingredient information. But armed with the basic information contained here, you can feel confident about your ability to choose wisely. After all, it’s your health.

  • Start by reading the product label to see the full list of ingredients and how many milligrams of “hemp extract” or “CBD” are contained PER SERVING.
  • Seek brands that publish third-party testing that verifies the information stated on their label. This is known as a Certificate of Analysis (COA).
  • Legitimate manufacturers will typically reveal the source of their raw hemp plants. Domestic hemp is the purest and highest quality, but some companies buy inferior hemp flower from Asia and Europe.
  • Lastly, consult your physician or healthcare provider before taking CBD products, or if you are pregnant, nursing or taking any medication.

CBD – CBD is the abbreviation for Cannabidiol, one of many cannabinoids found predominantly in agricultural hemp (see below). CBD is non-psychoactive (does not make you “high”) and is considered very safe.

THC – THC is the abbreviation for Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive cannabinoid (i.e., can get you “high”) found in high levels in marijuana and in very low levels (0.3% or less) in agricultural hemp.

Broad-Spectrum Hemp/CBD Oil – Broad-spectrum refers to whole plant hemp oil that contain 0.0% of detectable THC and contains high levels of cannabinoids such as CBD, plus beneficial phytonutrients including terpenes (beta-caryophyllene, humulene, and limonene), flavonoids, polyphenols, and others.

Full-Spectrum Hemp/CBD Oil – Full-spectrum refers to whole plant hemp oil that contains 0.3% or less (the legal limit) of THC and contains high levels of cannabinoids such as CBD, plus beneficial phytonutrients including terpenes (beta-caryophyllene, humulene, and limonene), flavonoids, polyphenols, and others.

Endocannabinoid System (ECS) – The ECS is biological system within the body that helps regulate homeostasis (balance). It is composed of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids naturally produced in the body), enzymes, and cannabinoid receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2) found on cells in the central and peripheral nervous systems and immune system.

Cannabis – Properly known as Cannabis Sativa, it is the “parent” plant of both marijuana and agricultural hemp, which are two very different plants cultivated and utilized in very different ways.

Agricultural Hemp – Part of the Cannabis Sativa plant family, by definition agricultural hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC (see below) and high levels of cannabinoids including Cannabidiol, aka CBD. Hemp became legal to cultivate in the United States in 2018 with the passing of the Farm Bill.

Marijuana – Part of the Cannabis Sativa plant family, marijuana differs from hemp due to a much higher level of THC; thus, marijuana is considered a drug.