Where does your CBD come from? Learn the difference between hemp and marijuana CBD


Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound (or cannabinoid) within cannabis that has been found to have significant medical benefits. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, cannabidiol has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties, without the psychoactive or “head high” effects that THC provides.

 So why do THC and CBD impact the body and mind differently? CBD and THC interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors (CB1 receptors) conversely. While THC activates the body’s CB1 receptors, CBD cannabinoids suppress it’s CB1 receptors. These opposing interactions influence the level of euphoria obtained by ingesting cannabis, regardless of how it is consumed.  

 CBD strains, edibles and topical treatments have been growing in popularity due to their non-psychoactive results. And due to the growing demand, both hemp and marijuana growers have jumped into the CBD market. This means, users have many options when it comes to purchasing CBD products, so it's important to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana CBD.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

While marijuana and hemp are from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, they are harvested for different components. Marijuana is harvested for its flowers and leaves while hemp is harvested for its seeds and stalks. Marijuana naturally has low levels of CBD, while hemp naturally has high levels of CBD properties.

To be considered hemp, the plant can have no more than 0.3% THC in most places in the world. But in the United States to be considered “industrial hemp” it can have no traces of THC cannabinoids. Although in 2014, President Obama passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, which allows for hemp to be grown for research purposes, by certain entities.

So now the question is, should you get your CBD strain from hemp or marijuana?

 Hemp CBD

Hemp CBD products, like oils, edibles and topical treatments are made from “industrial hemp” (Cannabis sativa plants), but must have no THC cannabinoids to be sold in the United States. These hemp products, which are still under serious scrutiny from the DEA, follow strict regulations from the FDA and must meet federal government guidelines in order to be sold. This makes hemp CBD products accessible in all 50 states and ensures the products are cultivated in a healthy way.

Marijuana CBD

Marijuana-based CBD can found in oils, edibles and topical treatments like hemp but also in strains you can smoke, unlike hemp-based CBD. CBD products cultivated from marijuana rather than hemp will have anywhere from trace amounts of THC to heavy dosages of the psychoactive compound. This means, marijuana-based CBD products are not regulated by the federal government and can only be purchased in states where marijuana is legal.

So, unless you live in a state that legalized marijuana (in some capacity), your options are limited. But if you do live in one of the 29 states that has legalized medicinal marijuana, the question still stands, should you get your CBD products from hemp or marijuana?

According to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, utilizing products with multiple cannabinoids is likely more therapeutic than any individual cannabinoid compound alone. Meaning, having other active cannabinoids, like THC, in your CBD products may be more beneficial than solely-CBD products.

The “Entourage Effect”  

While research is still being done, the “entourage effect” is scientifically known as the theory that cannabis compounds work better together rather than in isolation. And while the federal government only regulates hemp CBD, there is mounting evidence that the benefits of the CBD cannabinoid are altered and often increased when paired with other cannabinoids naturally found within the cannabis plant.