Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD – What's the Difference?

Bottle of CBD Whole Hemp ExtractIs there really a difference between Hemp CBD and Cannabis CBD? Absolutely!
Hemp and cannabis plants are not the same. They belong to the same Cannabis family, but they are very different from each other.
So, what are their differences?

Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD

CBD is still CBD, regardless of its source. Its chemical structure won’t change just because it came from cannabis or hemp.
But to differentiate the two, cannabis CBD is CBD that came from cannabis, while hemp CBD is CBD that came from hemp.
Below are some of their other major differences:

  • It takes a high amount of hemp plants to make hemp CBD oil, compared to cannabis CBD. There are cannabis strains nowadays that contain very high CBD content.
  • Hemp CBD oil contains lower CBD levels at about 3.5%, compared to cannabis CBD oil that typically contains up to 20% CBD.
  • Hemp CBD oil contains a very small amount of THC, typically under 0.3%.

Cannabis CBD oil, on the other hand, can contain as much as 2% THC.

Cannabis CBD oil, on the other hand, may produce some adverse side effects. However, these side effects depend on the concentration of THC.

Plant Structure

Hemp has thin, skinny leaves which are mostly found on the top of the plant. As the hemp plant matures, it grows taller as well as thinner than the cannabis plant.
The Cannabis plant, on the other hand, is shorter, stouter, and broader than hemp plants.

Growth and Cultivation

Hemp requires minimal care. In fact, the hemp plant can easily adapt to any type of climate. They mature anywhere between 110 and 120 days.
Cannabis plants, on the other hand, need proper care and attention. These plants do best when grown in a controlled environment. Cannabis plant’s growth cycle is shorter and typically falls anywhere between 60 and 90 days.


Hemp plants are commonly used for industrial purposes. It’s typically used in the paper, automobile, construction, food, clothing, biofuel, and plastic industries. CBD manufacturers also extract CBD from hemp plants to create oils, tinctures, and capsules.
In fact, most CBD products on the market today are derived from legally and organically-grown hemp plants. These hemp plants are grown, cultivated, and manufactured by licensed providers. For it to be legal, the products should also have undergone testing by a licensed, certified, and professional third-party laboratory.
Cannabis plants, on the other hand, are typically grown and used for recreational and therapeutic purposes.

Cannabinoid Content

Hemp plants contain a high amount of CBD at about 2% to 3%. As for its THC content, it’s typically 0.3% or lower.
Cannabis plants, on the other hand, contain low CBD levels and very high THC levels. It can reach anywhere between 15% and 30%, depending on the strain.

Psychoactive Effects

Because of its low THC levels, hemp and hemp-derived products won’t produce any psychoactive effects. It won’t get you high, and there is no addiction risk.
Cannabis plants, on the other hand, produces psychoactive effects. Because of its high THC levels, it can get you high. It can also trigger anxiety and paranoia, and there is a risk of developing an addiction.
It is important to note though that, compared to opioids, both hemp and cannabis won’t cause an overdose. There are no cannabinoid receptors in the brain stem, the part of the brain responsible for heart and lung functions. This means that, with no cannabinoid receptors to bind to, cannabis and hemp won’t produce significant changes in your heart rate and respiratory rate like opioid does in large doses.


Cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States. It is illegal to grow, cultivate, manufacture, distribute, and transport cannabis products under federal law.
The laws regarding hemp-derived products are a bit murky and confusing. Despite the passing of the Farm Bill, it is still federally illegal to market hemp CBD products in all states. It only allows the growing and cultivation of industrial hemp and using all of its parts, provided its THC content is less than 0.3%.
However, each state has its own cannabis and hemp laws. So if you want to purchase legal cannabis and hemp products, always refer to your state’s cannabis laws. But remember, these products are still subject to FDA, DSHEA, and FTC regulations.
So to avoid problems when buying these products, make sure that you buy them only from legal and FDA, DSHEA, and FTC-complaint providers.

CBD Isolate Versus Full-Spectrum CBD

In searching for the best CBD products, you will also come across the terms CBD isolates and full-spectrum CBD.
Now, in a nutshell, CBD isolates contain only CBD. There are no other compounds found in the oil.
Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, not just contains CBD but other compounds as well. It may have THC, CBN, and CBG. It may also contain terpenes and flavonoids as well as vitamins and other essential acids.
As to what’s a better product – CBD isolates or full-spectrum CBD – you need to keep in mind the Entourage Effect.
While you can already benefit from CBD isolates, you will benefit more from the addition of these other compounds. These compounds – the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids – have an intricate and complex relationship with each other. They boost their positive effects and, at the same time, control their negative side effects.
A good example of the Entourage Effect is CBD’s effects on the psychoactive property of THC. When THC binds to the cannabinoid receptor type 1 or CB1r, it produces a high and induces psychoactive effects.
However, CBD has the ability to dampen these THC effects. It acts as an antagonist when it binds to the CB1r, decreasing THC’s negative side effects.

Are there hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD products?

Yes, there are actually hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD products nowadays. They contain a high amount of CBD with the addition of other cannabinoids like CBN and terpenes like linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene. No THC though, so this product is preferred by people who would like to avoid the side effects of THC.

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