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Hemp CBD vs cannabis-derived CBD

What is the difference?

CBD is produced by both hemp and cannabis. The molecule itself is the same regardless of its source plant, but there are still important differences between hemp- and cannabis-derived CBD products.


When talking about hemp, we’re referring to the low-resin industrial crop commonly used to make clothing, textiles, food, and other materials. And in this context, we’re using the word cannabis to describe the high-resin plants that are grown specifically for medical consumption or enjoyment.


Is one source better than the other? Here’s a glance at the pros and cons of each.


Hemp-derived CBD:


  • Pro: Hemp is legal federally in the US (but check your local laws to ensure it’s legal in your state), and hemp-derived CBD products are widely available for purchase online and in grocery and drug stores.
  • Pro: Hemp produces only trace levels of THC, making it appealing for consumers wanting to avoid THC altogether.


  • Con: Hemp produces a limited spectrum of therapeutic compounds compared to high-resin cannabis. 
  • Con: Hemp products are currently unregulated, leaving unreliable potencies, dubious claims, and questionable ingredients unchecked.

Cannabis-derived CBD:


  • Pro: Cannabis produces a wider spectrum of therapeutic compounds (and in greater abundance) compared to hemp. 
  • Pro: Cannabis-derived CBD products are strictly regulated and tested per state laws.

  • Con: Cannabis-derived CBD is only available in states with legal cannabis, making it unavailable to consumers outside legal states.