Differentiating Hemp CBD or Cannabis CBD with THC

These two terms may seem interchangeable, but they represent very different things – especially when it comes to CBD products.

People cultivate industrial (a.k.a. agricultural) hemp around the world (and it’s just become legal to grow in the US for the first time in many years) for numerous uses such as textiles, ropes, building materials, bio-fuel, food, and more.

Industrial hemp often grows to be over six feet tall, has few flowers (and they are usually quite small, when present), and contains virtually zero THC (the active alkaloid in cannabis that causes users to get ‘high’), and only small amounts of CBD. Due to the lack of THC, abundant supply, and legality in many parts of the world, industrial hemp is the most common source for CBD products.

People most often cultivate cannabis for its high THC content, and these plants are usually much shorter and bushier, with an abundance of the prized flowers that contain most of the THC, terpenes (aroma molecules, like pinene), and other cannabinoids (such as CBG, CBN, CBC, and CBDv).

People have bred cannabis over many generations to favor strains that produce as much THC as possible – but that trend is changing in recent years. Many cultivars now exist (such as Charlotte’s Web or Harle-Tsu) that have CBD as the dominant cannabinoid, but there remain measurable quantities of THC – making high-CBD cannabis a no-go for people who need to avoid THC entirely (for drug tests or similar reasons).

In summary, CBD products sourced from industrial hemp contain a smaller variety of cannabinoids, and little to no terpenes – yet are almost always safe for those needing CBD without the risk of failing a drug test. CBD products sourced from high-CBD cannabis contain abundant terpenes and a broad spectrum of cannabinoids (greatly enhancing their therapeutic potential) but are risky for people looking to avoid THC completely.