Is Hemp the same thing as CBD? 


Written By Dr. Chantelle Davidson, Pharm.D.

chemist and skin care formulator 

Author Bio 

No, hemp is not the same as CBD. Hemp is a plant, and CBD is a molecule made by both the hemp and marajuana plant. 

When it comes to Google, the U.S. banking system, and Federal Law Enforcement agencies, there is an enormous difference between hemp and CBD. When it comes to our bodies, there is no difference. 

Confused yet? 

As you most likely know, hemp is a plant. Like many plants, hemp manufactures numerous wonderful molecules. Similar to other plants, hemp makes green chlorophyll, colorful carotenoids, and sweet smelling terpenes. What sets hemp apart from most other plants is that she also makes a powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial substance called cannabidiol (CBD). 


CBD is just one anti-fungal and antibacterial molecule that hemp makes. CBD has a cousin molecule, its very similar, yet very different, called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that it also produces. THC is the psychoactive molecule that causes a person to feel “high”. In summary, the hemp plant manufactures both CBD and THC. 

Now here comes the tricky part. Hemp has an almost identical sister, Marajuana. Marajuana also makes CBD and THC. The kicker is, the government cares very much which plant your CBD comes from. We’re talking possible jail time difference. So it is important to understand. 

Hemp and Marajuana are both part of a similar linage of the cannabis family. There is not a smoking gun, or a large fundamental biological difference between Hemp and Marajuana. It was the US government who decided what the difference between the two are, not a botanists. 

A plant is considered Hemp if the amount of THC it makes is less than 0.3% of its total weight. Hemp is federally legal. If the plant produces more than 0.3% THC, then the government considers it illegal and that plant is labeled as marajuana. 

Fun fact though, the CBD molecule which hemp produces and marajuana produces are chemically identical. There is no difference. 

However, if the CBD molecule was extracted from a marajuana plant, EVEN IF the chemist did NOT extract any THC as well, just because it came from a marajuana plant, then it is considered illegal CBD. 

All of this is of course, needs to be documented. Or at least it is supposed to be. Every product you purchase containing CBD should have a paper trail leading back to its original mother hemp plant so that you know you are purchasing legal CBD products. The company websites are required to provide a copy of the lab and batch tests to prove this. 

There you have it. Knowledge is power. Now go forth and be powerful. 

Read more about CBD here, and find out some cool facts you may not have known. Or watch our Video on YouTube about how CBD pain creams work, or check out my latest blog series.  



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