To begin, it’s important to know that when we talk about CBD, hemp oil, marijuana, and THC, we’re really talking about the cannabis plant and its derivates. Because while there are important legal differences between hemp and marijuana, when it comes to the science, hemp and marijuana are actually just two versions of the cannabis plant. This causes a lot of confusion (and it is, admittedly, confusing!), but it’s important to know that when we say cannabis, it applies to both marijuana and hemp.
Cannabinoid is a name that describes a ground of similar compounds that are found in the body (called endocannabinoids), found naturally in plants (called phytocannabinoids), and even made in a lab (in this case they’re called synthetic cannabinoids). Cannabinoids interact with a larger system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is often described as a major regulatory system. The ECS is responsible for the side effects (good and bad) of using cannabisâ€”whether that be in the form of hemp oil, CBD oil, or smoking marijuana. The endocannabinoid system is composed of the endocannabinoids that the body produces naturally and also a family of receptors called cannabinoid receptors. The two cannabinoid receptors to know about are CB1 and CB2, and they explain in large part why cannabis has so many healing properties and also why THC causes intoxication while CBD does not.