Hemp vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD

Kay Tamillow

Brightfield Group has conducted a number of studies in recent months to better understand the CBD market, and in doing so, has discovered that - despite the expanding presence and acceptance of cannabis throughout the United States - there  is still much confusion surrounding cannabis products and their characteristics, especially when it comes to CBD.

In the Western United States, for example – a region where 10 of the 13 states accounted for have legalized cannabis use (either recreationally or medically) - 35% of those polled in May 2017 were not familiar with hemp-derived CBD, and about half that number were unfamiliar with marijuana-derived CBD. Furthermore, in a survey conducted in partnership with HelloMD and over 2,400 members of its medical cannabis community, though most were eager and enthusiastic CBD and THC users, over 8% of respondents (current cannabis users) did not know which types of products they were using.

To clarify this topic for our readers, below we have outlined the two umbrella categories of CBD products, as well as some pros and cons associated with each.


First, what are the differences between the two main CBD categories?

Hemp-derived CBD products

These are cannabis products such as edibles, oil cartridges, and topicals, that offer medical benefits, are derived from industrial hemp and have less than 0.3% THC content by nature. Although these products are still being sold across the U.S. under manufacturers’ and distributors’ assumptions that CBD is legal if derived from hemp, a new drug code has in fact classified all extracts from cannabis plants (no matter how little THC they may contain) specifically as Schedule I, making hemp’s transfer between states effectively illegal.


Marijuana-derived CBD products

These are cannabis products derived from marijuana (rather than hemp), that offer medical benefits and include varying amounts of THC. CBD products are either less psychoactive than their THC-dominant counterparts or not psychoactive at all, allowing users to avoid feeling "high”. A concept termed the "entourage effect," theorizes that some cannabis compounds (such as CBD and THC) have no effect by themselves, but affect the human body only when combined with other components. According to this theory, marijuana-derived products that include a THC element may provide greater relief than hemp-derived or CBD-only products.

Below are some advantages and disadvantages associated with the two types of CBD


Last Updated: September 2017