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cbd terms


A list of important CBD terms for reference.

American Society for Testing and Materials

Broad Spectrum

Containing more than just CBD, such as some minor cannabinoids and terpenes, but typically no THC.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

One of the primary cannabinoids found in cannabis. Not associated with the typical psychoactive effects.


Molecules produced by the cannabis plant.

Certificate of Analysis (COA)

A certificate/report provided by a testing facility as verification that certain tests were performed, as well as their results. Often contains potency tests, heavy metals tests, solvent tests, and/or terpene tests.


A consumption method requiring cannabis concentrates that are heated and inhaled. Separate from vaping or smoking.


Cannabinoid molecules produced naturally by the body.

Entourage Effect

A concept where all of the components (cannabinoids, terpenes, etc) in the plant work together in the body, boosting each other to create a balanced, synergistic effect. Typically lacking in isolate products.

Full Spectrum

A cannabis product that contains not only CBD, but also some other cannabinoids (usually THC), and terpenes in their naturally occurring quantities.

Any cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.

Hemp Oil

An oil that is derived from hemp cannabis. Usually as hemp seed oil, but can be CBD oil.


Hybrid strains contain a mix of sativa and indica genetics. Depending on their lineage, hybrids can take on characteristics from both strain families.


Typically, Indica strains of cannabis are short, bushy plants with wide leaves. Indica plants tend to grow faster and have a higher yield than the sativa variety. Medicine derived from Indica strains have higher CBD and lower THC counts. These plants are known for their calming and relaxing effects.


A cannabis product that contains only CBD.


Sativa strains of cannabis are generally a lighter shade of green and grow tall and thin with narrow leaves. Sativa strains take longer to grow, mature, and require more light. Medicine derived from Sativa strains have lower CBD and higher THC counts. These plants are known for their energizing and uplifting effects.


A consumption method that entails you applying the product under the tongue.


Oils found in all plants that give the plant scent, flavor, and additional benefits.


Traditionally used to describe alcohol based products, but now used to describe even oil-based products. Typically used sublingually or orally.


A product or method that requires you to apply the product to the skin topically. Does not get into bloodstream.

The list of terms in use by the hemp / CBD community can be intimidating. Here we break down some of the common terms for your reference.

A Beginner’s Guide to Common CBD Terms and What They Mean

Speaking CBD on a background of marijuana leaves

If you believe every advertisement you read, CBD can do everything from chilling you out, to soothing your skin, to revving your engines (see that lube again), and with the CBD industry as a whole on track to hit an estimated $22 billion dollar business in the next few years, it would seem that most people not only do rely on marketing, but that advertising works. But what exactly is CBD?

According to the scientists beginning to dive into CBD research, it’s not what the advertising and marketing claims of most CBD products, most of which do not match any existing research (which is still very preliminary — though promising) would have you believe. Even the FDA is still looking into establishing guidance on the safety and/or efficacy of CBD products but has not shared any information as of yet, leaving the marketplace a wild west of claims and assurances with little foundation. Just because CBD might not be able to live up to every company’s current claim (and frankly, what could), doesn’t mean to write it off or stop watching the space. And many of the oils, gummies, vapes, and chocolates currently on the market can be tantalizing. Here, we break down a few common terms to help parse what you are actually buying.

This compound, known as CBD, is derived from the cannabis plant. CBD has been shown to help shield the body from oxidative stress (which can cause cell damage and disease). Anecdotally, some claim it’s anti-inflammatory and can help relieve anxiety and pain. But CBD is not regulated by the FDA, except for one prescription medication to treat severe childhood epilepsy, says Dustin Lee, an assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University. “Most of the research is preclinical. We need controlled studies before we can advise the public on how CBD can be used efficaciously.”

When a CBD product contains more than .3 percent of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), it is considered mind-altering. Seeing “psychoactive” (or “THC”) on a label means you might get high. Be careful of how much you’re ingesting.

Refers to a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant and the fibers it contains, which were originally used to make fabrics. Hemp is now bred with higher amounts of CBD and is legal in more states than marijuana. Slightly confusing fact: CBD derived from hemp and marijuana is identical. Unless the product contains THC, it is not psychoactive.

CBD has become the word (and ingredient) of the moment, but what exactly is it? Learn everything you need to know about CBD, plus eight other important terms, like terpenes, full- and broad-spectrum, hemp, and more.