CBD - The Plant and Derivatives


This article is intended to educate readers on how to make informed decisions when reading marketing materials and selecting product from the Cannabis plant including its derivatives CBD and THC.

The Cannabis plant is one variation from the plant family Cannabacea.  While the family includes about 170 species there are few commonalities among them. This article focuses on the Cannabis plant and its derivative which are Tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and Cannabidiol(“CBD”).

The Plant

Three commonly accepted types of the Cannabis plant are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Terms commonly used liberally to market product are Marijuana, Cannabis and Hemp. Further with the terms Hemp, Cannabidiol (CBD) are also used in marketing speak. So let’s get to learning about these terms and how to cut through advertising speak.

THC/CBD – A Brief History

Once derivatives of the Cannabis plant were derived in the 1940s and the distinction on the effects of its two derivatives namely THC and CBD were understood smoking “pot: becoming a recreational activity. At that time, THC (and CBD) content in plants was relatively low. That “pot” included both THC and CBD.

Recreational marijuana growers began using selective methods to breed plant strains with increasing concentration of THC and little or no CBD. These are all variations of the three plant types Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. While recreational growers were working on stronger THC, industrial growers developed strains with little or no THC but high in fibers to manufacture products. Eliminating or dramatically reducing THC in their strains reduced plant theft from those seeking a psychoactive experience.


THC is the derivative of the Cannabis plant known to cause psychoactive effects such as a “High”. Legal production to retailing is highly regulated and as result marketing in usually clear and unambiguous. Our articles will not dive deeper into THC.


This is the other derivative of the Cannabis plant. CBD is generally considered have no psychoactive effects though many users report reduction in anxiety among other positive effects. Since CBD is less regulated and laws on what CBD are confusing, marketing in this segment of the market can be misleading.

Pure CBD is generally considered legal though still debated based on interpretations of laws. To make this even more confusing, some argue that there are distinctions drawn between CBD derived from industrial hemp sourced under federal Department of Agricultural rules and under state Medical Marijuana Rules. Then there is European sourced CBD which is a whole other topic.

Hemp is cannabis grown for industrial purposes and includes very little or no THC. This strain of the cannabis plant does however contain CBD. The CBD in Hemp is in the plant stalk, leaves, etc., but not in the seeds. So, “Full Spectrum Oil from Hemp Seeds” contains no CBD. The CBD is in the remainder of the plant.

Take Aways

  • THC marketing and labeling are well regulated and transparent
  • CBD marketing is less well regulated and terms can be misleading. Note that Hemp Seed does not contain CBD.
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Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash.com