Published on:
Friday, April 19, 2019

What is the Difference Between Hemp CBD and Cannabis CBD?

Hemp and cannabis are two plants of the same species but are not the same. They are often referred to as the same plant and their terms are often interchanged incorrectly. There are several differences between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD. This guide will help you distinguish what to look for when purchasing CBD products from both plants.

Visual Difference between the Plants

 The first difference is in the plants. Hemp plants grow tall, bamboo-like stalks and tend to be thinner. Hemp plants can give off the same aroma as cannabis but it’s often not as strong as cannabis plant aroma. Hemp plants do flower, but smoking a hemp flower bud doesn’t produce a high, to those seeking a high, smoking hemp is pointless.

Cannabis plants tend to grow wide and tall whereas hemp is thin and tall. Cannabis plants can spread to be several feet wide, taking up a bigger space during cultivation.


 The legality of hemp CBD is still a gray area. Most manufacturers obtain hemp CBD from the mature stalks of the plant. The DEA has flip-flopped on its definition of “usable” portions of the plant. Most of the time, CBD derived from the mature stalks of hemp plants are legal because the mature stalks are often considered to be waste.

CBD derived from cannabis plants is only locally legal in states that have some form of legal cannabis policy in place. Some states are CBD-legal only states.

Even though hemp CBD is considered to be legal in all 50 U.S. states, there are still just over a dozen states that aren’t hemp CBD friendly.

The debate regarding legality is ongoing.


 Hemp and cannabis share many of the same compounds, with the most prominent being cannabidiol. However, cannabis plants have far more compounds due to varying THC compounds. Hemp CBD contains higher amounts of CBD and lower, if any, THC. With cannabis, it is reversed. There is more THC than CBD, except in cannabis strains that have been adapted to grow as CBD dominant strains.

THC Structure

So, with hemp CBD products, manufacturers often add terpenes (which are natural) to increase the efficiency of the hemp CBD product. Terpenes also help develop the flavor of a product. Cannabis CBD products often have terpenes added as well, where just the CBD is isolated and other compounds are left out.

There are at least 60 compounds that both the hemp and cannabis plants have in common. THC and CBD are the most common, however, as mentioned; cannabis plants contain far more THC than hemp plants.

Full Spectrum Options

 Full spectrum means whole plant. This means that full spectrum hemp-based products use the entire hemp plant. Necessary compounds and terpenes are maintained and no nutrients/minerals/vitamins within the plant are lost. Even with full-spectrum hemp products, terpenes are often added to increase the effectiveness and create a more pleasing taste to the products.

Full spectrum cannabis CBD products also use the whole plant, but often contain a little THC. This still allows you to experience the “entourage effect” because no components of the cannabis plant are missing. There is not enough THC in a cannabis CBD product to produce a high, even for children.


 There really isn’t a noticeable difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD as they are often blended with other terpenes. Cannabis CBD, however, can have different flavors. Some CBD strains naturally taste like fruit or citrus while others may taste more earthy with pine undertones.

Hemp CBD has a very earthy taste. To make the flavor of hemp CBD products (mostly tinctures and oils) taste better, manufacturers add natural terpenes found in spices, flowers and herbs.

Social Acceptance

 CBD, in general, is accepted by a wider variety of people in society because it has scientifically proven medicinal benefits and doesn’t produce a high. Children and senior citizens are the most common demographic groups to use CBD products as parents don’t want their children “stoned” and older generations may not want to feel “high”. For those that work in industries that aren’t cannabis and hemp friendly, CBD is often their only option for healing their bodies naturally.

Cannabis has a negative stigma associated with it that is slowly diminishing. Hemp is very misunderstood. Hemp has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits and its use in textiles, fibers and other industrial applications.

A larger variety of society can take hemp CBD products and not worry about risking their jobs. Even pregnant women, doctors and pilots use hemp-derived CBD products.

Option for Pharmaceutical Resistant or Intolerant Persons

 Some health conditions, like Dravet-syndrome and MRSA infections, are pharmaceutical resistant. Hemp CBD and cannabis CBD both can be used as alternative treatment options. Cannabidiol works naturally in the body to help correct some imbalances and return proper regulation to the endocannabinoid system.

If you are sensitive to medications and the list of the medications you “can” take gets smaller, CBD may be an option. Hemp CBD helps a lot with nausea, anxiety and inflammation. These are common symptoms of hundreds of health conditions. If you can’t take a pharmaceutical and are afraid to try cannabis-derived CBD, using a hemp-derived CBD can produce the same results.


 Cannabidiol is the same compound regardless if it is in a hemp plant or a cannabis plant. It still does the same thing, regardless of its origination. The main difference is that cannabis-derived CBD has more THC than hemp CBD.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there aren’t many major differences between hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD. Both are beneficial equally. Cannabis plants just have more natural compounds than the hemp plant, so more natural terpenes are likely to be needed with a hemp-derived product to achieve maximum effectiveness. This is okay though, terpenes won’t make you high either. As mentioned before, terpenes are found naturally in hundreds and hundreds of plants like herbs, spices and flowers – not just hemp and cannabis plants.

The post What is the Difference Between Hemp CBD and Cannabis CBD? appeared first on Grasscity Magazine.

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