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CBD From A to Z: Top 10 CBD Terms You Should Know

Between the scientific lingo, slangy abbreviations and endless words that are spelled almost-but-not-quite the same, it can really feel like learning about CBD requires learning a new language.

And, in many ways, it does. So we’re here with some of the top words that might make it easier to read between the lines – or at all – when checking out any articles on the subject.

1 – Broad-Spectrum

This is one of the three main varieties of CBD products sold throughout the country. (The other two include full spectrum and isolate.)

Broad spectrum refers to a product that contains some – but not all – of the naturally-occurring chemical compounds of the hemp plant. Most of the time, that means everything but the THC has made the final cut, but sometimes companies customize their own mixture of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes to create a unique product of their own.

2 – Cannabidiol

The scientific name for CBD, cannabidiol is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found within the hemp plant.

3 – Cannabinoid

This is a broad term describing a specific group of chemical compounds found within the hemp plant. (Other related compounds include flavonoids and terpenes.)

Cannabinoids are the parts of the plant that primarily interact with the human body – in particular, the endocannabinoid system – and what, ultimately, lead to any medicinal or therapeutic effects derived from hemp.

 All told, scientists have so far discovered more than 140 different types of cannabinoids in the hemp plant, including CBD and THC.

4 – Endocannabinoid System

Found within the human body, the endocannabinoid system (or ECS, for short) is designed to help regulate a number of different bodily functions, including everything from body temperature to hunger pangs.

It’s comprised of a system of receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors) spread throughout the body. CBD and other cannabinoids interact directly with the endocannabinoid system, creating most of the therapeutic effects CBD has become associated with.

5 – Entourage Effect

The phrase refers to a theory concerning all the different compounds within the hemp plant – including cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes.

The entourage effect theory proposes that all of these individual plant parts have an effect on one another, causing them to work differently when they work together and create a more potent impact in doing so.

Proponents of the entourage effect think that full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD, therefore, constitutes a more powerful elixir than a CBD isolate. 

6 – Full-Spectrum

Another of the three types of CBD product, full-spectrum represents the most “natural” take.

Nothing in a full-spectrum product has been extracted, which means that every naturally-occurring part of the hemp plant is present, including every terpene, flavonoid and cannabinoid – including THC.

In order to be legally sold in the United States, however, a full spectrum CBD product can not contain any more than 0.03% THC.

7 – Flavonoids

One of the parts of the hemp plant that help lead to its therapeutic effect on humans, flavonoids are particular type of chemical compound.

Specifically, flavonoids are responsible for giving color to the hemp plant – and many others, as flavonoids are also present in any number of fruits, vegetables, flowers and grasses. All told, there are more than 6,000 different types of flavonoids found throughout the natural world.

Inside the human body, many different types of flavonoids – including most of those found in the hemp plant – act like antioxidants, which help remove signs of stress from inside the body.

8 – Isolate

The simplest type of CBD product sold on the market, CBD isolates round out the choices created by full-spectrum and broad-spectrum options 

Isolate products contain CBD alone. They don’t include any other terpenes, flavonoids or cannabinoids, and are all void of THC as well.

9 – Tetrahydrocannabinol

The official name for THC, tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the 140+ cannabinoids found within the hemp plant. 

Perhaps the most famous type of cannabinoid of all, THC is, in fact, responsible for the chemical reactions that make a person feel high when they inhale or ingest marijuana.

10 - Terpenes

Along with flavonoids and cannabinoids, terpenes round out the type of different chemical compounds found within the hemp plant that lead to the plant’s medicinal properties. 

Terpenes are also found throughout nature, including in a wide range of grasses, grains, and flowers. The cannabis plant alone contains more than 100 different types of terpenes.

Terpenes are primarily responsible for creating different scents, which can have aromatherapy-like impacts on humans, though they have other beneficial effects after being broken down by the body, including antifungal and antibacterial properties.

There are plenty of other phrases to learn, of course, but hopefully, with this brief primer, the terminology you come across in the next CBD article you read won’t look quite as out-of-this world.


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