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What does the c in cbd oil stand for

CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Cannabis contains over 113 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two types of chemical compounds derived from cannabis. In recent years, interest has grown in the potential health effects and benefits of cannabis. Much of this interest has centered on these two cannabinoids.

This interest is likely to continue to grow as cannabis and marijuana products become legal in more states. A number of different products have emerged that contain CBD, THC, or both that are designed to alleviate ailments such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. In order to understand the side effects and potential benefits of these products, it is important to first understand the differences between CBD and THC.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, usually referred to as CBD, is the second most prevalent chemical compound found in cannabis. First discovered during the 1940s, CBD has recently become more popular as a natural treatment for a range of conditions. It can be derived from hemp or from marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD still contains trace amounts of THC, while marijuana-derived CBD may contain more.

What Is THC?

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC activates the brain’s reward system by signaling the release of the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and pleasure. By triggering a higher-than-normal release of dopamine, THC causes people to experience feelings of euphoria. THC is often administered by smoking marijuana, but it can also be found as an ingredient in capsules, edibles, and oils.

CBD vs. THC: Key Differences

THC and CBD have an effect on the endocannabinoid system, a system that plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis. Researchers are still working to understand the ins and outs of this complex system, but they do know that it is associated with processes including memory, appetite, sleep, mood, and fertility.

While THC and CBD share similarities, there are some key differences between the two compounds.

Psychoactive (produces a high)

Sourced from marijuana

Non-psychoactive (does not produce a high)

Typically sourced from hemp

Psychoactive Properties

CBD and THC affect different receptors in the brain. Because of this, CBD typically does not have psychoactive effects—in other words, it won’t cause you to get high.

THC, on the other hand, does have psychoactive effects. It is the compound that produces the high that people associate with marijuana.

Chemical Structure

Both CBD and THC have a chemical structure that is similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that act in the brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that relay signals between nerve cells in the body. They play an important role in a wide range of functions including sleep, pain, appetite, mood, and the immune system.

CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, but there are differences in how these molecules are arranged that are responsible for the differing effects they have. By mimicking endocannabinoids, they bind with receptors and cause different effects in the body.

Sources

While CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana, it is often derived from hemp in order to avoid the addition of larger amounts of THC. THC, on the other hand, is derived from marijuana.

CBD that comes from marijuana may contain more THC, which may not be ideal for people who are trying to avoid THC. Some CBD products that are produced from cannabis, for example, may contain more THC than the label suggests.

Potential Benefits of CBD and THC

While research on the potential health benefits of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids is still in the early stages, there is evidence that these substances may be helpful for conditions including:

  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
  • Pain
  • Opioid dependence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Movement disorders

While CBD and THC often have similar effects and are often used to treat many of the same ailments, there are some differences.

CBD is often used to alleviate symptoms associated with:

  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Seizures

THC, which may be administered as medical marijuana, may be used to alleviate symptoms of a number of conditions. It may be helpful for conditions such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea; it may be helpful for alleviated nausea caused by cancer treatment
  • Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches
  • Poor appetite; including appetite problems caused by cancer treatment
  • Tremors

FDA-Approved Medications

While cannabis itself has not been FDA approved to treat any condition, there are a few drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contain CBD or THC.  

  • Epidiolex contains CBD and has been approved to treat seizures associated with two severe types of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
  • Marinol and Syndros are drugs that contain dronabinol, a synthetic THC. These drugs are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
  • Cesamet contains nabilone, a synthetic substance that is similar to THC. This drug is used to treat weight loss and appetite problems associated with chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS.

Side Effects of CBD and THC

Some research suggests that CBD and THC are generally safe and result in few side effects.

However, while these substances appear safe, that does not necessarily mean that you won’t experience some unwanted effects. Some adverse effects that have been reported include:

  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
  • Nausea and dizziness

THC use may also result in unpleasant side effects such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, and memory loss.

Marijuana itself can have a number of short-term and long-term adverse effects, including impaired short-term memory, altered judgment, and impaired coordination. Research also suggests that marijuana can alter brain development and may lead to cognitive impairment.  

NIDA also notes that THC alters how the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex function. These areas of the brain are important in the formation of new memories and the ability to shift attention from one thing to the next. This not only affects a person’s ability to learn and form new memories, but it also makes it difficult for people to perform difficult tasks.  

Legality of CBD and THC

When choosing products containing CBD or THC, it is also important to consider their legality. Both marijuana and THC are included in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which means that they are not legal under federal law. As of July 2020, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted policies allowing medical marijuana and products containing THC to be prescribed by a doctor. Some states also allow recreational use of marijuana and THC-containing products.

Although CBD in certain forms is legal in most states, the specifics of the legality of any THC or CBD product can vary from one state to the next. Several states have also approved the use of marijuana and THC for recreational purposes.

Because the laws regarding the use of cannabis and cannabis products are rapidly changing, you should always check your state’s laws before using products containing CBD or THC.

How to Take CBD and THC

Both THC and CBD can be consumed in a number of different forms. THC may be consumed as marijuana by smoking, but a number of other cannabis products are also available including:

  • Oils
  • Tinctures
  • Sprays
  • Vape products
  • Edibles including gummies and chocolates
  • Beverages containing marijuana oil

Like THC, CBD can also be consumed in a number of different forms. CBD oils can be formulated for vaping, although there have been recent concerns about the health dangers posed by vaping.

It can also be added to lotions and salves to apply to skin. It is important to note that the effects of these topical products will be localized since they are not being ingested.

CBD can also be taken orally as a tincture, oil, capsule, or spray. Edible CBD products are also popular and include gummies, candies, and beverages.

When choosing CBD products, it is also important to consider its formulation. Isolate products contain only CBD. Broad-spectrum products contain other cannabinoids with the exception of THC, while full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.

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Which One Should You Take?

The product you choose may depend on the effects you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to reduce stress or sleep better, for example, CBD may provide benefits without the negative side effects associated with THC. THC might be a better choice for symptoms or conditions for which the substance has demonstrated benefits, such as tremors or poor appetite.

Some research suggests that the potential therapeutic effects of THC and CBD tend to be greater when the two cannabinoids are taken together at the same time.   This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.

Taking CBD along with THC has also been shown to help reduce some of the unwanted effects that THC may have. For example, one study suggests that CBD may potentially reduce some of the negative cognitive effects of regular cannabis use.   For example, people who use cannabis, particularly when it has high THC levels, may have a greater risk of experiencing psychiatric symptoms such as paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis. Studies have found, however, that CBD may help mitigate these effects.

One study found that CBD helped block some of the potential psychiatric effects of THC.   The authors of the study suggest that such findings have important implications for the use of cannabis products. People who are prone to unwanted side effects, for example, may be able to still gain the potential health benefits by sticking to products that are low in THC and higher in CBD content.

It is also important to remember that CBD and THC work in a number of different areas of the brain and researchers do not yet fully understand the effects that these cannabinoids have, either alone or in conjunction with one another.

Some evidence suggests that the combined effects of CBD and THC may be dependent on dose. A 2019 study, for example, found that low doses of CBD actually played a role in amplifying the psychoactive effects of THC, while high doses of CBD reduced THC’s effects.  

Drug Testing CBD or THC

Because THC is the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, it can be detected on most standard drug tests. CBD may be detectable as well, but many drug tests are not designed to look for cannabidiol.

However, many CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC. While these amounts are small, they may still be detectable if you are consuming large quantities of CBD or if the products you are using contain more THC than the packaging label claims.

Research has found, for example, that as many as 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and contain significantly more THC than labels suggest.   Because of the lack of regulation of these products, it is difficult to know exactly how much THC you are actually getting.

Both THC and CBD are stored in body fat, which means that both can potentially be detected on drug tests for some time after you have stopped using them.

Before You Take CBD or THC

THC and CBD may also have an effect on some health conditions and can interact with certain medications, so you should always use caution before taking these products. These substances might impact how medications are metabolized by your body. They can also heighten feelings of anxiety in some cases.

Before choosing a THC or CBD product, it is important to check your state laws to ensure that these products are legal where you live. Federal law mandates that hemp-derived CBD products should contain less than 0.3% THC, but even those trace amounts are still illegal in some states.

A Word From Verywell

Both THC and CBD may have a number of benefits, but you should always talk to your doctor first before you try any products containing these cannabinoids. Both CBD and THC hold promise for alleviating symptoms and even treating some medical and mental health conditions, but research in this area is still relatively new and further investigation is needed.

Every Question You Have About CBD—Answered

Does CBD get you high? What are the actual benefits? Will it show up on a drug test? Here’s everything you need to know about the product that’s suddenly everywhere.

An article by ‘Health.com Editorial Team’ indicates a collaborative effort from our in-house team. Sometimes, several writers and editors may contribute to an article over the years. These collaborations allow Health.com editors to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information available. The editors at Health.com are a dedicated team of experienced health editors, writers, and other media professionals who strive to bring trustworthy and responsible health and medical content to their readers. As a team, we have decades of experience in health journalism, and have worked at legacy publishers and some of the biggest news and media companies in the U.S.

There’s no question that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment. If you live in a state where it’s currently legal, you might feel like CBD has gone from being sort of around to absolutely everywhere all at once. Coffee shops sell CBD lattes, spas offer CBD facials, beauty companies are rushing to release lotions with CBD or hemp oils in their formulas. And everyone from your anxious coworker to your arthritis-suffering dad wants to get their hands on some CBD gummies.

But even though it’s infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world (hi, vegan CBD brownies!) many people still find CBD a little confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the stuff you’re buying is, you know, actually legit. Below, we asked experts to answer the most pressing questions about CBD.

OK, first things first. What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant, whish is also known as marijuana or help, according to the US National Library of Medicine.

It’s a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.

So you’re saying CBD won’t get me high?

Nope. The cannabis plant is made up of two main players: CBD and THC. “CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria,” says Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.”

There are two possible exceptions to this. The first is that some people, for unknown reasons, just react differently to CBD. According to Dr. Chin, about 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. “Usually they’re the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol,” she says. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely under supervision.

It’s also crucial to buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance (more on this later). Because the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised, or even contains small amounts of THC.

Where does hemp come in to all this?

You’ve probably heard the terms cannabis, marijuana, and hemp all tossed around in relation to CBD. The plant Cannabis sativa has two primary species, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but there’s a much higher percentage in hemp, which also has very low (less than 0.3%) levels of THC compared to marijuana.

When people talk about hemp oil, they’re referring to oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. There are no cannabinoids—CBD or THC—in hemp oil. This ingredient is packed with healthy fats and often appears in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits.

What are the health benefits of CBD?

The only CBD medication that is currently FDA-approved is Epidiolex, which the agency approved last year for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. But many people swear CBD has helped with a slew of other health conditions, including back pain, osteoarthritis, even cancer.

“My practice has patients walking in every day asking about CBD,” says Houman Danesh, MD, director of integrative pain management for the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But while there’s lots of anecdotal evidence, he says, “it’s still very difficult to say” what the real benefits are due to a serious lack of research.

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“Right now, you just have pharmacies trying to make some sort of sense out of it and say, ‘Yes, it works for this,'” he says, “but that’s not the way medicine is practiced—it should be based on evidence, and there’s not a lot of evidence to really support these claims.”

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Still, is CBD worth trying for pain management?

There are two main types of pain, Dr. Danesh says: musculoskeletal and nerve. “There could be benefit for both conditions,” he says.

The tricky part is that there’s some evidence suggesting CBD works best for pain when combined with a little THC, says Dr. Danesh. “Depending on what type of pain you have, you might be able to do just CBD, but sometimes you need CBD and THC.” This makes accessing a product that will actually help you more difficult due to different regulations in each state. In New York, where Dr. Danesh practices, for example, CBD is available over the counter. But as soon as you add THC, you need a prescription.

Figuring out how much you should take is challenging as well; the dosage that alleviates one patient’s pain might do very little for someone else. “And until we can study it, it’s the wild west,” Dr. Danesh says.

The takeaway? “I think CBD is a safe thing to try,” says Dr. Danesh. But he urges patients to push for more research by putting pressure on representatives to get national bills passed that allow scientists to look closer at CBD and the conditions that respond to it.

What about my anxiety—can CBD help with that?

CBD might be worth trying to manage symptoms of anxiety. “[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe,” Dr. Chin says. “It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response,” she says, so people with anxiety may find it helps them feel more relaxed.

Still, one of the biggest misconceptions about CBD is that it’s a wonder drug. “A lot of times people think CBD is a cure-all, and it’s not,” Dr. Chin says. “You should also have a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good nutrition—CBD is not going to fix everything.”

I’ve heard of edibles, tinctures, vape pens. What’s the best way to take CBD?

It really depends on what your goal is and why you’re taking CBD in the first place.

Some people don’t want to ingest anything and therefore prefer a topical CBD cream or ointment. “You can apply it to muscles, joints, and ligaments and still get a nice, localized release,” Dr. Chin says.

The biggest differences between tinctures, edibles, and vape pens are speed of delivery and how long the effects last. Vape relief is faster but wears off faster too—usually in about two hours, says Dr. Chin. “Say you wake up in the morning and pulled your back out, you might want to take CBD through a vape pen, which delivers in 10 minutes.”

Tinctures and edibles take longer to work but last four or five hours. “A tincture looks like a little liquid that you put under your tongue, and you feel relief within half an hour,” Dr. Chin says. “If you prefer to taste something, you choose an edible, whether it’s a capsule, gummy, or baked good.”

What should I look for when shopping for CBD products?

“There are literally hundreds of CBD brands at this point,” says Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicals and an executive vice president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping.

What does the label look like?

We don’t mean the color or millennial font. If it’s a dietary supplement, it should have a back panel with an FDA disclaimer and warning section, according to Beatty. “Ideally, it would be preferable to have access to their third-party lab testing results too.”

Speaking of which: Has it been third-party tested?

Nearly every expert Health spoke to agreed that your CBD products should be tested by a third party to confirm the label’s accuracy. This is a real concern in the industry—take the 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study, for example, which tested 84 CBD products and found that 26% contained lower doses than stated on the bottle. Look for a quality assurance stamp or certificate of analysis from a third party (aka not the actual brand) or check the retailer’s website if you don’t see it on the product’s label.

What’s the dosing?

This is a confusing one for many people. “A lot of brands don’t do a good job of clearly instructing their consumer on the dosing,” says Chris Roth, CEO and co-founder of Highline Wellness. When thinking about dosing, also consider whether your CBD is full-spectrum or isolate: Full-spectrum could include other cannabinoids like cannabidivarin or cannabigerol (this is important, since “there’s something called the ‘entourage effect’ when all together, they’re more effective than any one of them alone,” Roth explains), while isolate is 100% CBD. “Some people might only need 10 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD, but with isolate, even taking 80 or 100 milligrams might not have the same effect,” he says.

Does it claim to cure any diseases?

If so, hard pass. “You should avoid any company that makes disease claims,” says Beatty. “If so, it means they’re either willing to break the rules or they’re not aware of the rules.”

Is there a batch number?

You know how you check your raw chicken or bagged lettuce every time there’s a recall to make sure the one you bought isn’t going to make you sick? You should be able to do that with CBD products too. “This is a huge indicator as to whether they are following good manufacturing practices,” says Beatty. “There should be a way to identify this product in case it was improperly made so the company can carry out a recall.”

Are there additional ingredients in there?

As with any supplement, you want to know everything you’re ingesting in addition to the main event. For example, “sometimes I notice that [CBD manufacturers] will add melatonin,” says Dr. Chin.

Are you buying it IRL?

You can find CBD products in shopping malls, convenience stores, even coffee shops in many states right now. But when in doubt, natural grocers are a safe brick-and-mortar place to buy CBD, Beatty says. “Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you.”

That all sounds good, but is it legal?

First, a little background. Industrial hemp was legal in the United States until Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. (“Some of our early presidents grew hemp,” notes Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, a cannabis industry attorney based in Oklahoma.) Nearly 80 years later, the 2014 Farm Bill took the position that states can regulate the production of hemp and, as a result, CBD. Then last year, President Trump signed a new Farm Bill that made it federally legal to grow hemp.

This means that “consumers everywhere, if they’re compliant with their state, can grow hemp and use hemp products,” Parrish explains, “and among those will be CBD.”

In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA’s, purview. “Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge,” Parrish says. “But while it’s legal under federal law, it’s up to each state to set their own policy.”

These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. In 23 states, it’s legal in some form, such as for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states permit just CBD oil. But both are illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to the specific laws in each state.

“It’s kind of ironic,” says Parrish. “With marijuana, we have got the federal government saying ‘No’ and a bunch of states saying ‘Yeah, it’s OK’—but with hemp, the feds say ‘Yeah, it’s OK,’ but we still have some states saying it’s not.”

Can you travel with CBD?

That same 2018 Farm Bill means you can now travel between states with legit CBD products. “Flying with CBD should pose no issues now,” Parrish says. However, if you’re traveling with a tincture, be mindful of TSA limits on how much liquid you can carry on an airplane, she adds. (You can also mail CBD products, just like “companies that comply with the Bill can ship their hemp-derived CBD products anywhere in the U.S.,” Parrish notes.)

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Will CBD show up on a drug test?

It should not, as long as you’re buying third-party tested CBD with no added THC, says Dr. Chin. But she does point out that athletes, who often are required to take drug tests that are more sensitive, “could potentially test positive” for trace amounts of THC if they’ve been using CBD products.

Last question: Can I give it to my dog?

Tempted to give your pup one of those CBD dog biscuits? “Generally we expect CBD products to be safe, and they could show some benefit for anxiety in pets,” says John Faught, DVM, a veterinarian based in Austin, Texas.

But the challenge when considering CBD products for pets is the same as with people: lack of research. “I believe there are good products out there today, but I also don’t know how to distinguish them at this time,” Faught says.

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What Does CBD Stand For? And The Other ABCs of Hemp

Every industry has its fair share of technical jargon. The hemp industry is no different. With so many three-letter abbreviations, it’s easy to get a little turned around. Even those who work in the hemp industry have a hard time with all the shorthand.

  • “What does CBD stand for?”
  • “What’s the difference between CBD and CBG?”
  • “What is a COA?”

In this post, we’re going to define some of the more common terms that you should know.

What Does CBD Stand For?

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol ( C anna- B i- D iol,) one of the dozens of naturally occurring chemical compounds produced by the hemp plant. These compounds, known as cannabinoids, are under-researched but present many potential health benefits.

The cannabinoid CBD, second to only THC in popularity, is not psychoactive nor is CBD addictive. The World Health Organization has stated that “…in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

How Does CBD Work?

CBD interacts with our bodies in a number of ways— the main being with our endocannabinoid system which is a system that helps our bodies regulate:

  • Mood
  • Stress
  • Appetite and metabolism
  • Inflammation

It’s believed that consuming CBD helps our endocannabinoid system run more efficiently by facilitating the uptake of beneficial chemicals and curbing the uptake of harmful chemicals.

There is still plenty of research to be done, but early studies suggest that CBD can help with pain management, feelings of nausea, inflammation, and managing seizures.

Credit: Nationwide Testing Association, Inc.

Is CBD A Drug?

In the most technical sense, CBD is a drug. It’s a substance that you can take to help you relax, improve your focus, and manage your sleep.

CBD is also the main ingredient in Epidiolex, an FDA-approved anti-seizure medication.

However, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp (and its active ingredient— CBD) was removed from the Controlled Substance Act. So while CBD can be thought of as a beneficial substance, it would be incorrect to consider CBD a drug in the same way that narcotics are.

What Does CBDa Stand For?

The letters CBDa are an abbreviation for cannabidiolic acid ( C anna- B i- D iolic A cid,) the acidic precursor molecule of CBD.

Cannabidiolic acid is mainly found in raw, unprocessed forms of hemp and will convert to CBD through a process called decarboxylation.

As of right now, less is known about CBDa and its potential health benefits. Some early studies indicate that CBDa may help with inflammation and seizure management.

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a process in which CBDa is subjected to heat and drops a few of its atoms called a carboxyl ring. Once this happens, CBDa becomes CBD and is considered activated and ready for consumption. Decarboxylation is often overlooked by folks the first time they attempt to make CBD edibles.

What Does THC Stand For?

The only cannabinoid more widely recognized than CBD, THC is an abbreviation of tetrahydrocannabinol ( T etra- H ydro- C annabinol.) More specifically, THC is often used interchangeably with Δ9-THC— spoken as delta-nine-THC.

Δ9-THC is a schedule I substance in the United States. Under the greater THC umbrella, some legally murky THC analogues exist, like:

  • Δ8-THC (delta-eight tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • Δ10-THC (delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • THCv (tetrahydrocannabivarin)
  • THC-O (THC-O acetate)
  • HHC (hexahydrocannabinol)
  • And more…

THC and its analogous molecules are best known for their psychoactive properties like euphoria, heightened awareness, and time dilation.

What Does THCa Stand For?

THCa is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid ( T etra- H ydro- C annabinolic A cid,) the acidic precursor molecule of THC.

Tetrahydrocannabolic acid is mainly found in raw forms of marijuana and recreational cannabis. THCa will convert into Δ9-THC via decarboxylation.

What Does CBG Stand For?

CBG is short for Cannabigerol ( C anna- B i- G erol,) another of the dozens of natural cannabinoids produced by hemp and cannabis plants.

CBG is still relatively under-researched and in pre-clinical stages. As of right now, CBG research is limited to animals, but there are some promising early results like:

  • CBG is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • CBG has been shown to slow and inhibit tumor growth in animals
  • CBG is believed to have neuroprotective properties and could further research into Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and several other auto-immune diseases.

CBG also has an acidic precursor just like CBD and THC, but CBGa is a little more special than the rest. By way of a process called “CBDa/THCa synthase” CBGa will actually turn into each respective molecule + a hydrogen peroxide molecule.

It’s also believed that synthase may contribute to the cannabis plant’s self-defense system. Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial agent.

What Does CBN Stand For?

CBN is short for cannabinol ( C anna- B i- N ol,) and is another of the dozens of naturally-occurring cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants. CBN, like its precursor cannabinoid THC, is considered to be mildly psychoactive.

CBN is one of the newest cannabinoids on the market. CBN is underresearched and its potential benefits are probably overhyped. That said, there is some evidence to suggest that CBN may help:

What Does CoA Stand For?

CoA is short for C ertificate o f A nalysis— a document, usually provided by a neutral third-party laboratory, that certifies what’s in a product. In the hemp and cannabis industry, certificates of analysis are used to verify potency, dosing, and to ensure no harmful substances like solvents or heavy metals are in the product.

You should always ask to be provided a CoA when purchasing CBD or cannabis products. Reputable vendors should happily provide you with one. Have a look at ours here!

We also have a guide explaining in-depth how to read your very own CBD CoA. Learn how to read your CoA here

Honorable Jargon Mentions: What Is…

What Is Hemp And Is It Different Than Marijuana?

This is a question we get all the time. Hemp and marijuana look, smell, taste, and smoke the same, so what’s the difference?

The difference is a question of legality. Hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis plants. Hemp, as defined by the 2018 Farm Bill, contains less than 0.3% Δ9-THC by dry weight.

Cannabis plants are considered marijuana when they contain more than 0.3% Δ9-THC by dry weight.

What Is The Difference Between Hemp Flower And CBD Flower?

There is no difference between hemp and CBD flower. The two terms are used interchangeably. It really comes down to preference. Vendors likely use them both to increase their keyword traffic.

What Does Kief/Keef Mean?

Kief is the name for a collection of trichome heads that develop on flowering cannabis plants. These trichomes are where desirable cannabinoids form and as a result, kief is a highly sought-after cannabis concentrate.

What Are Terps?

“Terps” is short for terpenes. Terpenes are the organic compounds found in essential oils and give cannabis plants their fragrance and flavor. It’s also believed that a cannabis plant’s terpene profile can work in conjunction with its cannabinoid profile to produce different desired effects.

What Are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and also cannabis plants (to a much lesser extent.) Flavonoids work in tandem with terpenes to give cannabis a distinct smell and taste profile.

Sources:

“CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report.” World Health Organization , World Health Organization , Nov. 2017,