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CBD Glossary of Terms for Beginners

Learning about CBD products can be overwhelming, and the terms used doesn’t make it any easier. For many new users, unique and unfamiliar terms only adds to the confusion.

That’s why we created this CBD glossary to help beginners understand some of the common terms mentioned on our website and in our CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook.

In addition to the brief descriptions below, most of the terms are also linked to articles on our website and other reputable websites that provide more in-depth information about each term.

CBD Terms

Bioavailability – also referred to as absorption rate. Bioavailability is to the amount of CBD that actually enters your bloodstream and is used by the body.

Broad Spectrum – one of the 3 major categories of CBD products. Broad spectrum products are made from hemp extract but have undergone special processing to remove as much of the THC as possible. They contain an array of naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes but undetectable levels of THC based on lab testing.

Cannabidiol (CBD) – one of the primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Not associated with the typical psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Cannabinoid – chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant. CBD, CBG, CBN and THC are all examples of cannabinoids.

Cannabis Oil – an oil derived from cannabis. Can be used to describe CBD oil, but is often used to describe oils that are high in THC.

Carrier Oil – an oil that is extracted from the seeds, kernels or nuts of a plant. Carrier oils are used in CBD tinctures to dilute the raw hemp extract and increase the body’s absorption rate of the CBD. The most common carrier oils are MCT coconut oil and hemp seed oil.

CBD Oil – a product extracted from cannabis that has high levels of CBD. Products with less than 0.3% THC are considered to be derived from hemp. Conversely, products with more than 0.3% THC are considered to be derived from marijuana.

Certificate of Analysis (COA) – a certificate or report provided by a testing laboratory that contains the results of their lab testing on the product. A COA will tell you what cannabinoids and terpenes were found in the product and at what levels. It will also tell you whether the product passed testing for heavy metals, solvents, pesticides and other potentially dangerous substances.

Dabbing – a consumption method whereby cannabis concentrates are heated and inhaled. Dabbing is a different method than vaping or smoking.

Endocannabinoids – chemical compounds produced naturally by the body. Similar in molecular structure to cannabinoids which are produced by the cannabis plant.

Entourage Effect – the concept that all of the natural components of cannabis (including the array of cannabinoids and terpenes) work together in the body and compliment each other to create a balanced, synergistic effect.  

Full Spectrum – the most popular of the 3 major categories of CBD products. Full spectrum products contain all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds from the source plant. To be classified as full spectrum, the product must have detectable levels of THC based on lab testing.

Hemp – any cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.

Hemp Oil – an oil that is extracted from the hemp plant. It’s most commonly used to describe hemp seed oil which contains no CBD. But it can also be used to describe CBD oil derived from hemp. Third-party lab reports will tell you whether a product described as hemp oil contains CBD or not.

Hemp Seed Oil – an oil that is extracted specifically from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil itself contains no CBD. It’s most commonly used as a salad dressing or pasta oil. It’s also used as a carrier oil in the CBD tinctures of some brands.

Isolate – a product that contains only pure CBD with no other cannabinoids or terpenes. Raw isolate is CBD in its purest form and is in either powder or crystalline form. 

Marijuana – any cannabis plant containing over 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.

Microdosing – a dosing method where you take very small doses throughout the day, instead of larger ones once or twice a day.

Oral – a consumption method that entails you ingesting or swallowing the product (commonly capsules or gummies).

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) – a highly-concentrated oil that has been extracted from marijuana. Typically high in THC and low in CBD.  

Sublingual – a consumption method whereby you place CBD oil drops under your tongue and hold them there for at least 30-60 seconds. This allows the oil to absorb sublingually into your bloodstream. 

Terpenes – essential oils found in all plants that give the plant scent, flavor, and additional benefits.

Terpsolate – a cannabis product that contains CBD isolate and terpenes.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – one of the primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Associated with the typical psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Third-Party Lab Report – see “Certificate of Analysis” (COA) above.

Tincture – also referred to as CBD oil drops which are consumed sublingually or orally. The term tincture has traditionally been used to describe alcohol-based products. But now it’s also commonly used to describe oil-based CBD products. 

Topical – a product that is applied directly to the skin. CBD topicals include lotions, balms, salves and creams. requires you to apply the product to the skin topically. Commonly used to nourish the skin or provided targeted relief. Topicals absorb into the skin but typically do not enter the bloodstream.

Transdermal – a variation of topicals whereby the product is applied directly to the skin. Special permeability enhancers allow the product to enter the bloodstream.

Water Soluble – a product that mimics water solubility, often through the use of liposomes or nanoemulsion techniques.