The Language of CBD

The Language of CBD

You know the feeling you get when you’re talking to an expert about their passion? It’s like they seem to be speaking your language, but with a bunch of words that make you go, “huh?” Yeah, we get that, and it’s easy to feel that way about CBD, especially since it’s such a new industry. Since it seems like the new “it” ingredient in skincare, we want to give you a crash course on some key terms surrounding CBD so that you know what to look for when wanting to buy the best. Here, we decode the language of CBD.


CBD or Cannabidiol is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant but predominantly found in hemp—the fiber of the cannabis plant extracted from its stem. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating but has a lot of the same medicinal benefits. For the skin, CBD is full of anti-inflammatories and hydrating properties that work to treat a lot of skin issues from acne and pigmentation to fine lines and wrinkles, which is why it’s such a popular ingredient.

Most skincare companies will ensure that there is no THC present in their CBD extractions, plus, the presence of CBD lessens the effects of THC.


Some of us might recognize this acronym, but not delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)—it’s full name. THC is one of the 113 or so cannabinoids found the marijuana or cannabis plant, and it’s what gets you high. Extracted from the leaves and flowers of the plant, THC has a lot of similarities to other cannabinoid chemicals found naturally within our bodies. Aside from it giving some the munchies or making others awkward at parties, it has a lot of medicinal effects for mental and physical health.  

Isolate, Broad-Spectrum and Full-Spectrum

You might come across each of these terms when shopping around for CBD products. An isolate is when you isolate 100% pure CBD from all the other compounds that come from hemp extract. Its excellent anti-inflammatory effects are great in moderate doses but weaken as the dosages go up. 

Broad-Spectrum CBD is what is called whole-plant medicine, and includes all of the lovely compounds that come with the full extraction of CBD minus the THC. Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a high number of compounds, including other cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Using all of the compounds increases the effects of CBD and is known as the entourage effect. With broad-spectrum CBD, the more, the merrier because its effects increase as the dosages go up.

Full-spectrum CBD oil is the same as broad-spectrum but it includes THC. 


Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant. There can be anywhere from around 60 to 100 cannabinoids in any given plant. CBD (about 40 percent of the plant resin extract) and THC are the most well-known. Cannabinoids are full of incredible benefits to the skin and body.

The Endocannabinoid System

Our bodies have a system made up of receptors that only interact with cannabinoids (it’s almost like we were meant to use CBD or something). Although most of the research on the Endocannabinoid System (ES) surrounds the immune system and brain, researchers have started to ramp up their knowledge of how it helps skin functions.

We have cannabinoids in our bodies (endocannabinoids). When we get them from outside sources, they’re called exocannabinoids. Research has shown that our ES and cannabinoids help to keep our skin in chill mode, i.e., homeostasis or normal. If the skin has issues like acne, pigmentation, or even psoriasis, the ES will work to synthesize, release, transport, or degrade various endocannabinoid molecules throughout the skin to keep it in homeostasis—chill mode.

Cannabinoids will do their duty by interacting with cannabinoid molecules or receptors called CB1 and CB2. These molecules and receptors can be found on skin cells like protein cells, fibroblasts, sweat gland cells, and even hair follicles.

Bliss Molecule

One of our most prevalent endocannabinoids is called anandamide (a-NAN-da-mide). It’s also known as the bliss molecule because when roughly translated from Sanskrit, the word ananda means “bliss” or “joy.” When anandamide is generated, it binds to our CB1 and CB2 receptors to help skin reach homeostasis. Using CBD on the skin helps our bodies to produce more of this bliss molecule. 

Because of the recently changing laws regarding the use of the marijuana plant, we’ve only scratched the surface of what this medicinal plant can do. This shortlist of CBD terminology will inevitably grow, but for now, consider yourself ahead of the curve by learning the language of CBD.

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