In recent years, cannabis legalization has taken the country by storm, and excitement has been brewing as this plant is studied more rigorously. One cannabinoid that has captured the attention of many—even those who were initially hesitant—is CBD. Touted as a cure-all of sorts, people have talked far and wide about it being a miracle for their anxiety, stress, pain, and sleep issues—minus the psychoactive experience that THC provides.

However, there has been confusion around the difference between CBD and hemp-derived CBD. While there’s still more to learn about this topic, here’s what we know.

There are three species of the cannabis plant: indica, sativa, and ruderalis. Hemp-derived CBD comes from a sativa species of cannabis, while CBD can be sativa, indica, or ruderalis. While the cannabinoid remains the same regardless of the source—hemp or cannabis—legally, hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD are different. 

Hemp products must contain less than 0.3% THC by law. This means that hemp won’t get you high, and if these standards are upheld, is federally legal—meaning, you can purchase hemp products online or in a shop in your state. Hemp can also be made to create clothes, textiles, paper, building material, food, and much more. Unlike cannabis, hemp doesn’t require the same amount of specific attention when growing, and as such, is normally grown outdoors in a range of climates. 

CBD, on the other hand, can be more than 0.3% THC, and—unlike hemp—can have intoxicating side-effects, depending on the amount of THC that is present. This means that this particular kind of CBD is only legal to buy at licensed stores and delivery services in states with medical and recreational cannabis laws. 

Additionally, cannabis has a wider spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes than hemp, thanks to the higher amounts of resin present on the buds. Cannabis-derived CBD often has higher amounts of THC (even if just a little!) that provide a synergistic experience known as the Entourage Effect. 

Since the 2018 farm bill passed, hemp was officially reclassified as an agricultural commodity—and no longer considered a Schedule I controlled drug. The CBD industry has surged since then, and hemp-derived CBD products—like tinctures, oils, and even hemp flower—flooded the market for consumers to enjoy.