CBD Terms


Agonist | A compound that activates a receptor. In this case, CBD agonizes, or activates, endocannabinoid receptors in the mind and body to promote overall health. 

Bioavailability | The relative amount of a substance that enters the circulatory system and is made available to the body. For example, the bioavailability of sublingual CBD (ie, CBD oil) is usually around 30%. 

Broad Spectrum | A designation for CBD products that contain CBD, terpenes, and other trace compounds, but no THC. Many CBD oils on the market today can be considered broad spectrum. 

Cannabidiol | More commonly called CBD, cannabidiol is the primary cannabinoid found in hemp. It binds gently to receptors found within the endocannabinoid system and other related physiological systems. Unlike fellow cannabinoids such as THC, CBD promotes health without inducing psychotropic effects. 

Cannabinoid | Any molecule that interacts with the human endocannabinoid system. There are two primary types of cannabinoids: phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis (and hemp) plants, and endocannabinoids produced within the body.

Cannabis | An annually flowering plant known for its signature leaf structure and production of cannabinoids. There are two types (chemotypes) of cannabis. The low-THC, high-CBD type is known as hemp; the high-THC type is known simply as cannabis or its misnomer, marijuana. 

Cannabis Oil | An oil derived from any type of cannabis. “Cannabis Oil” may be used to describe CBD Oil (often from hemp) or THC-rich oils (often from cannabis). Regardless, cannabis oil is high in cannabinoids and other plant compounds. 

CBD Oil | A type of Cannabis Oil, often derived from hemp, that is rich in CBD.

COA | Short for Certificate of Analysis, a COA is a type of lab report that verifies the quality of products like CBD oil. In order for CBD products to be legal, their THC content must be verified to be below .3%. Other common COA-featured tests determine potency, the presence of heavy metals or residual solvents, or terpene/trace cannabinoid levels. 

Dabbing | A delivery method that involves inhaling heated cannabis concentrates. Often a ‘dab rig’ is used to heat cannabis concentrates up to their smoke point while capturing their vapors at the same time. 

Endocannabinoids | Short for endogenous (inner) cannabinoids, endocannabinoids are naturally produced by the body, for the body. Once released they bind to endocannabinoid receptors and ‘smooth out’ synaptic activity. In other words, endocannabinoids promote health and homeostasis.

Endocannabinoid System (ECS) | A physiological system composed of three parts: endocannabinoids, their receptors, and their breakdown enzymes. The ECS operates ‘upstream’ of the nervous system or muscular system, which means it’s able to promote full-body balance from the inside out. One landmark study called it “one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” 

Entourage Effect | The cumulative effect of all hemp’s phytocompounds working together to promote health. As it turns out nature knows best: the whole impact of CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. is far greater than the sum of its parts.  The entourage effect is thought to be most active within full spectrum hemp or cannabis products. 

Full Spectrum | A designation for CBD products that contain the full spectrum of hemp’s ‘active ingredients’: CBD, THC, terpenes, and other trace compounds. Many CBD oils on the market today can be considered full spectrum. 

Hemp | A chemotype of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, even when fully mature. Hemp is also often rich in CBD. 

Hemp Oil | An umbrella term describing any type of oil derived from hemp. There are several types of hemp oil. These include CBD oil (derived from hemp’s flowering tops) and hemp seed oil (derived, as you might expect, from hemp’s seeds). 

Isolate | A cannabis product that contains only a single isolated cannabinoid. One such example is CBD isolate, a common type of CBD product that contains only isolated CBD.

Marijuana | A misnomer for cannabis; any cannabis plant that contains over 0.3% THC by dry weight, even when fully mature. 

Microdosing | A strategy that involves taking very small (micro) doses of a cannabis or hemp product frequently throughout the day.

Oil | A cannabis or hemp-derived, oil-based product used orally or sublingually (ie, under the tongue)

Oral | A delivery method that involves ingesting any given cannabis or hemp product. For example, CBD-infused gummies and capsules are taken orally.

Phytocannabinoid-rich Hemp Oil | A type of hemp oil; the technical term for CBD oil derived from hemp flower. Also called PCR-hemp oil. Most PCR-hemp oils are full spectrum.

Rick Simpson Oil | An ultra-concentrated cannabis oil made artisanally with strong solvents. Rick Simpson Oil, also called RSO, is generally a high-THC oil derived from cannabis.

Sublingual | A type of cannabis or hemp product used sublingually, or under the tongue. Common sublinguals include oils and tinctures. 

Terpenes | A class of aromatic oils found in many plants that provide scent, flavor, and an assortment of health benefits. The cannabis and hemp plants are uniquely rich in a wide variety of different terpenes. Terpenes greatly contribute to the overall entourage effect. 

Terpsolate | A cannabis or hemp product containing both CBD and terpenes. Often terpsolates begin as CBD isolate and through distillation have their terpene content re-infused.

Tetrahydrocannabinol | More commonly called THC, tetrahydrocannabinol is the primary cannabinoid found in high-THC cannabis. It binds strongly to receptors found within the endocannabinoid system and other related physiological systems. Unlike fellow cannabinoids such as CBD, large amounts of THC cause noticeable psychotropic effects. (Keep in mind that the small amounts of THC naturally present in hemp oil do not!)

Third-Party Lab Report | A Certificate of Analysis (COA) provided by a third-party lab, rather than an in-house one. Third-party lab reports are the gold standard for CBD product testing and quality assurance.

Tincture | A cannabis or hemp extract with an alcohol base. Though technically a tincture must contain alcohol, the term has expanded to include products with oil bases, too. Tinctures are taken sublingually or orally.

Topical | A product or delivery method involving application of the product topically, ie. to the skin. Topicals do not usually reach the bloodstream, though they are highly effective for localized discomfort. 

Transdermal | A product or delivery method involving application of the product transdermally, ie through the skin. Transdermal products often come in the form of patches and are designed specifically to increase the skin’s ability to absorb specific nutrients. For example, a CBD transdermal can be used to increase the skin’s absorption of CBD. 

Water Soluble | A cannabis or hemp product (usually an oil or tincture) designed with liposomal or nanoemulsified cannabinoids. A water soluble CBD product might contain smaller CBD molecules than usual, allowing these molecules to mix in water — and allowing increased absorption rates within the body.