Glossary of CBD Terms

Glossary of CBD Terms

Curious about CBD? A key step to understanding CBD and its role in health is to learn the vocabulary related to the cannabinoid.

If you’re thinking of using CBD products or incorporating them into your business, it’s important that you understand the lingo surrounding the widely used cannabinoid.

This glossary of CBD terms is a helpful resource for anyone learning about CBD, its benefits, where it comes from, how it interacts with the body, and the laws regulating its use.



Broad Spectrum

A type of hemp oil that contains the same full list of compounds as full-spectrum hemp oil, except for THC. Broad-spectrum CBD oil has had the trace amounts of THC that are found in full-spectrum CBD oil removed.


The non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid in cannabis that is widely used to promote balance and wellness. Cannabidiol, more widely known as CBD, is most abundant in hemp but it also found in marijuana.


A class of active chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors located in our cells as part of the endocannabinoid system to alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Cannabinoids can be either endocannabinoids, which means they’re synthesized by the body, or phytocannabinoids, which means they’re found in plants like hemp.

Cannabinoid Receptors

A class of cell membrane receptors under the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily. Cannabinoid receptors are a crucial component of the body’s native endocannabinoid system. Found in mammals like humans and pets, they work closely with chemical messengers called cannabinoids. When cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids come together, they trigger a series of reactions designed to bring functions back into balance. The two most widely understand cannabinoid receptors are the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and the cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor.


A genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae that is used to produce fiber, food, and wellness products, or to consume for intoxicating purposes. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants.


The acronym for cannabidiol, a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis that is widely used as a wellness product.

CBD Capsules

Ingestible capsules that contain either full-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate. CBD capsules are often preferred by those seeking the most convenient way to consume CBD.

CBD Concentrate

A natural botanical extract sourced straight from the hemp plant. CBD oil concentrate has a thick, viscous consistency and can be swallowed or absorbed under the tongue.

CBD Edibles

Ingestible food-type products infused with full-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate.

CBD Isolate

A pure crystalline powder containing only the CBD chemical compound. CBD isolate is CBD oil that has been refined down to a highly concentrated powder containing 99 percent CBD through a proprietary filtration process. This process eliminates hemp oil’s plant material, waxes, chlorophyll, and more. CBD isolate is the most concentrated CBD product available.


A natural, non-intoxicating extract of the hemp plant. CBD oil, also commonly referred to as CBD hemp oil, can be consumed on its own or infused into a variety of products to promote wellness.

CBD Tincture

A liquid extract containing a mix of full-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate and vegetable glycerin, ethanol, or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. A CBD tincture is often preferred by consumers who prefer their CBD product in liquid form.

CBD Topical

Balms, salves, lotions, oils, hair care products, and other beauty products that have been infused with CBD or CBD oil. CBD topical products are applied directly to the skin and hair.

CBD Vape Oil

A CBD-infused liquid designed to be paired with a personal device called a vaporizer to produce a pure CBD filled vapor that can be inhaled. Vaping CBD oil is an extremely efficient way to absorb CBD through the lunges.

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CECD)

A theory that aims to explain why in some cases the endocannabinoid system is unable to properly keep the body balanced. Introduced by researchers EB Russo in 2001, clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, or CECD, proposes that a deficiency in cannabinoids leads to a dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system, leading to health issues.


A term used to describe the potency of a cannabidiol (CBD) product. For example, a CBD tincture bottle containing a total of 200 mg of CBD would have a CBD concentration of 200 mg. CBD concentration generally varies by type of products, with CBD oil concentrate and CBD isolate often having a higher concentration, and CBD tinctures and CBD edibles having a lower concentration.

Controlled Substances Act

The statute establishing federal U.S. drug policy under which certain substances are regulated. Signed into law in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, the most restrictive category. Hemp was removed from the list of controlled substances with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.


The process of heating cannabis to activate the compounds within the plant. Raw cannabis contains cannabinoid acids, which are inactive cannabinoids that have an extra carboxyl ring attached to their molecular chaint. Decarboxylation converts the molecular structure of these cannabinoid acids by removing a carboxyl group. This activates the cannabinoids so that they can freely and directly interact with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors in the brain and throughout the body. For example, decarboxylation converts cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) to cannabidiol (CBD).


A class of naturally occurring active chemical compounds made by the human body. Endocannabinoids act on cannabinoid receptors located in our cells as part of the endocannabinoid system to alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. The two primary endocannabinoids include Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol.

Endocannabinoid System

A complex signaling network responsible for keeping the body balanced and functioning at its peak. Also known as the ECS, the endocannabinoid system responds to external influences to maintain homeostasis. It is made up of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and throughout the body. It is through the endocannabinoid system that the naturally occurring cannabinoids interact with our bodies to promote health and wellness.

Entourage Effect

A theory used to describe how all of the compounds found in cannabis work together synergistically with the body. Introduced in 1998 by renowned researchers Raphael Mechoulam and S. Ben-Shabat, the entourage effect theory suggests that the natural benefits of cannabis are enhanced when a product contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other natural compounds that are naturally found within the plant.


The separation process used to separate a desired substance, such as to pull oils from plants. Extraction methods may include CO2 extraction, steam distillation, solvent extraction, and cold press extraction.

Farm Bill

Also known as the Agricultural Improvement Act, the Farm Bill is a comprehensive omnibus bill renewed every 5 years to shape food, agriculture and more. The 2018 Farm Bill contained provisions that clarified the legality of hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD oil in the United States. The provision amended the federal list of controlled substances with regard to hemp and reclassified the plant as an agricultural commodity, allowing U.S. farmers to grow, process, and sell the plant commercially. It also legalized hemp nationwide for any use.


A naturally occurring group of phytonutrients responsible for the hemp plant’s vivid green color pigments. Roughly 20 flavonoids are thought to be in cannabis, and only a few are exclusive.

Flavonoids protect cannabis plants by filtering out UV rays and preventing diseases, pests, and fungi. Besides contributing to the color and overall sensory experience of cannabis, flavonoids are also active compounds that naturally promote wellbeing.

Full Spectrum Hemp Oil

A term used to describe the unadulterated extract of the hemp plant, including all of its active compounds. Full-spectrum hemp oil contains the entirety of compounds naturally found in the hemp plant, including CBD and a list of other trace cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and dietary nutrients like proteins, fiber, and fatty acids. Full-spectrum CBD oil is also a natural source of many vitamins and minerals, including B complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium.


The non-intoxicating member of the Cannabis sativa L. plant species. Grown all over the world, hemp is the food and fiber variety of the cannabis plant. It naturally contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating phytocannabinoid that elicits euphoric effects. Unlike its cousin marijuana, hemp is legal at the federal level in the U.S.

Hemp Oil

Often used interchangeably with CBD oil. Hemp oil describes any and all oil that is extracted from any part of hemp, including the plant’s stalks, flowers, and seeds. That includes CBD oil, as well as hemp seed oil.


A term used to describe the dynamic stability of your internal environment. The endocannabinoid system is tasked with maintaining homeostasis in the body and in its systems.

Industrial Hemp

A term used to refer to hemp cultivars grown for their stalks and seeds to produce thousands of products, including food, paper, rope, textile clothing, naturally biodegradable plastic, hemp body care products, and cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil products, to name a few.


The purest form of CBD. Isolate, or CBD isolate, is made from all-natural hemp oil that undergoes a purification process to eliminate all other compounds found in the plant, including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, other trace cannabinoids, and more. Isolate comes in the form of a fine white powder made up of 99% pure CBD.


The intoxicating member of the Cannabis sativa L. plant species. Marijuana is grown to encourage the production of flowers that are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the phytocannabinoid responsible for euphoric effects. Marijuana remains illegal at the U.S. federal level.


A term used to describe cannabinoids that naturally occur in plants, including cannabis. There are more than 110 phytocannabinoids identified so far in the cannabis plant. Two of the most widely recognized are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Phytocannabinoids share a similar molecular structure to endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids that are synthesized by the body. This allows phytocannabinoids to interact with cannabinoid receptors to influence the behavior of the body’s endocannabinoid system.


Used to describe the entire spectrum of chemical compounds found in plants. In cannabis, phytochemicals include cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, fiber, protein, and chlorophyll.


A term used to describe a substance that affects the mind. CBD is often mischaracterized in sources as ‘non-psychoactive,’ when in reality CBD has demonstrated influence on one of the body’s major native regulatory networks, the endocannabinoid system. CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system alters the release of neurotransmitters in the brain and elsewhere, naturally promoting balance in the body and its functions.

Rather than CBD being labeled as non-psychoactive, a more accurate description would be that CBD is ‘non-intoxicating,’ because the compound does not elicit any euphoric effects.

Supercritical CO2

An extraction process that separates one component from another using fluid CO2 as a solvent. This process is used to remove an unwanted component, such as caffeine from decaffeinated coffee. Supercritical CO2 can also be used to collect specific components, like a plant’s essential oils, terpenes, and other valuable components. Liquid CO2 is an effective and safe solvent for creating CBD oil extract.


The phytocannabinoid in cannabis that is responsible for producing intoxicating effects. Tetrahydrocannabinol, more widely known as THC, is only found in trace levels in hemp. It is most plentiful in marijuana.


Essential oils in cannabis that give the plants their distinct smell and taste. More than 200 terpenes have been identified in cannabis so far, and evidence shows that they also interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to support health.


The acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol, a well-known phytocannabinoid found in cannabis.


A personal device designed to vaporizer substances for inhalation. Vaporizers can be used with CBD vape oil to produce CBD-filled clouds of inhalable vapor.

Learn More About CBD and CBD Terms

Discover even more about CBD and its role in promoting wellness through our CBD Oil Education page.

Shop for CBD products through the HempMeds® online CBD shop, or reach out to become a HempMeds® CBD wholesaler.

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