The world of hemp and CBD is full of confusing terminology for those that are not familiar. We thought it would be best to clarify these terms and also give some personal commentary that most companies try to avoid.
CBD - This stands for Cannabidiol and is a chemical found inside both Cannabis and Hemp that is responsible for a lot of the great benefits we love to talk about aka the healthy stuff.
Hemp - This is the legal term for a cannabis sativa plant bred and grown to contain .3% delta 9 THC or less by weight naturally. This plant does not have psychoactive effects and will not get you high. Hemp has been grown for thousands of years and has over 1200 uses like paper, clothing, food, supplements, fuel, plastics, and more. Fun fact: 1 acre of Hemp produces as much paper as 3.5 acres of trees annually and can be recycled over twice as many times as tree paper. (Check out our hemp business cards)
COA - This stands for Certificate of Analysis, the single most important thing to know about your product. It contains the full chemical breakdown of everything in the product including CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, heavy metals, and more. It is essentially the carfax, birth certificate, and everything you need to know all rolled into one.
Tincture - Yes, we know that if you google tincture the first result defines a tincture as product suspended in alcohol. That's not always the case. The Cannabis and Hemp industry has been using the term tincture for years because it implies medicinal benefits. Look at the ingredients list to be sure its only a CBD extract with a high quality carrier oil.
Full Spectrum - This is one of the key terms that we really want people to know. Full spectrum hemp oil is used to define an oil or extract that is taken from the hemp plant in form that contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytochemicals naturally found in the plant. Think of it as all the great stuff from the whole plant condensed into one little bottle.
Broad Spectrum - This a a close cousin to full spectrum that has all the same great properties expect for one, THC. Broad spectrum oils are extracts that contain every chemical, but has had all of the THC removed.
Solvents - This is a general term used to describe chemicals that are used to extract CBD from plants. Bad solvents are ethanol and hydrocarbons. Sticking with CO2, steam, or heat will make sure that you do not risk toxic trace elements in your products.
PCR - This stands for Phytocannabinoid Rich hemp oil, and is a more confusing term for a lot of people. In 99% of cases, it is a full spectrum hemp oil. In some cases it is not. Looking for terpenes on the COA will help if you are skeptical of the label. Usually most products will also have full spectrum somewhere on the label.
MCT - This stands for Medium Chain Tricylcerides. These wonderful fatty acids, high in capric and caprylic acid, have some great health benefits. Coconut MCT oil is the go to choice for a carrier oil in CBD products because it provides the right fatty acid balance to deliver the CBD extract to your system. Check out the blog here from our friends at CoCoTherapy, the experts on coconut oil, for more information.
CBG - This stands for Cannabigerol. This little jewel of the Hemp plant is often missed due to relatively low concentrations. Some companies are now breeding plants to contain higher concentrations. There are tons of research studies on the effectiveness of CBG for many conditions due to being a vasodilator, having neuroprotective properties, and even its ability to destroy MRSA. One of the great members of the entourage effect.
CBC - This stands for Cannabichromene. This cannabinoid has received a lot of attention lately for its various properties and helping with things like depression, cancer, cognitive issues, etc. While we are waiting for further studies to confirm, it is one of the main members that make up the entourage effect.
CBN - This stands for Cannabiniol. This one gets a little tricky as its often found as a byproduct of THCa and does have a mild intoxicating effect. Studies show that CBN can be twice as powerful as Valium. Its main attributes are as a sedative, but, also as an appetite stimulate. Fortunately, this cannabinoid is found in very low concentrations in hemp. Trace amounts in your CBD products help add to the entourage effect.
Terpenes - These sidekicks to cannabinoids are what provide the smell and flavor of cannabis and hemp products. They also have an interesting property of making the cannabinoids more effective on the body. As you could probably guess, these also add to the entourage effect.
Entourage Effect - It's about time we finally tell you what all the excitement is about. The entourage effect is the name given to the synergistic combination of all the great chemicals and elements to work together to help bring the ECS and body into homeostasis. This teamwork is where the real magic happens to help you feel so much better.
THC - This stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. Specifically, delta 9 THC is the cannabinoid that causes the "high" when using marijuana. Although hemp is a distant relative of marijuana, it contains .3% THC or less and will not get you high, trace amounts do help with the entourage effect and THCa oxidizes into CBN.
Isolate - This term is used to describe any product that has been isolated from its source to create a pure form. CBD isolates contain only CBD and nothing else. Isolates can be formed from any cannabinoid and while they do have their place, isolates lack the entourage effect.
Distillate - A distillate is a stepping stone to an isolate. Through either, heat, solvents, or other methods, hemp extracts are distilled to draw out the CBD in higher concentrations. In some cases this can lead to a product that is a "high CBD broad spectrum" or can be a low power isolate. These are not commonly found as a consumer product.
ECS - This stands for the Endocannabinoid System. This is the name used for the system of cannabinoid recptors that exist inside the body composed mainly of CB1 and CB2 receptors. Its the part of our bodies that naturally produces cannabinoids and is what CBD products stimulate to produces wonderful effects in our bodies.
These definitions are what we generally accept as an industry standard, but for certain reasons, usually marketing or legal, they will be used interchangeably for things like Full Spectrum or PCR. The most important thing we stress is to only buy from a trusted source and avoid companies that are only focused on profits. We strive to bring you the best products we can find.