CBD glossary

CBD glossary
Core glossary of CBD-related terms

An alphabetical list of words relating to CBD (Cannabidiol).



2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is an endocannabinoid that activates the CB1 receptor. This endocannabinoid is involved in the physiological processes that regulate emotion, cognition, pain, and neuroinflammation.



A substance added to food in small quantities to improve the taste, appearance or preserve it.



A cannabinoid produced by the body that interacts with the CB1 cannabinoid receptor.  These receptors are responsible for mental and physiological processes.



Bioaccumulation is the process where a living organism accumulates toxic substances. The hemp plant is a bioaccumulator and absorbs toxic substances from soil and pesticides. This is why it is important that the final product produced from hemp is tested for heavy metals to ensure these are at safe levels for human consumption.



The amount of the substance that enters the bloodstream and can be used by the body.


Biphasic effect

This is a term that describes the effect when a substance acts in two different ways as the concentration increases.



A CBD product that has more than one cannabinoid, but not all that occur naturally within the hemp plant. For example, a product that has had the THC removed is considered broad-spectrum.



The broad term used to cover a group of plants used to produce fibres, medicine, food supplements and by some as a recreational drug. This term includes the high THC varieties used for medicine and recreational use. It also includes low THC hemp which is used for CBD supplements and fibres for clothing, plastic and insulation.

Slang terms for cannabis include marijuana, skunk, Mary Jane, weed, pot, dope, grass and reefer. In general, these slang terms refer to the high THC varieties used for recreational consumption.


Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. CBC is one of the major cannabinoids and there is currently a large quantity of research being carried out to ascertain whether it has any wellness benefits.


Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol also known as CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in varieties of the cannabis plant as CBDa (see the next term). Cannabidiol available in the UK can only be produced from the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa L.) which is low in the intoxicating component THC.


Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa)

CBDa is a naturally occuring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that is the precursor to cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not a naturally occurring molecule, it is produced when CBDa is heated (decarboxylation) to remove the acid molecule. CBDa and CBD have different effects when consumed, which is why you can also purchase products that are high in CBDa such as hemp tea bags.


Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

CBDV is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. CBDV is found in higher quantities in Indica plants. Like CBD it is non-intoxicating.


Cannabigerol (CBG)

Cannabigerol is another one of the many cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. It is found in large amounts in some industrial hemp varieties as its precursor CBGa. Currently clinical research of how CBG works in the human body at an early stage. CBG is not a controlled substance in the UK or elsewhere.


Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa)

CBGa is the precursor to CBG. CBG in its raw form contains an additional acid molecule and is the building block to most well-known cannabinoids including CBD and THC.


Cannabinoid / Phytocannabinoid

Cannabinoids are chemical components found in the cannabis plant. They include THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol), CBG (Cannabigerol), CBN, CBC (Cannabichromene) and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). To date there are 113 known phytocannabinoids.


Cannabinol (CBN)

Cannabinol is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Like THC it is a controlled substance in the UK and should not be found in levels of more than 1mg per container in CBD products. CBN occurs when THC ages. It is mildly psychoactive and is believed to have effects as a neuroprotectant and in reducing intraocular pressure.


Cannabis oil

Cannabis oil is different to CBD oil in that it is produced from cannabis plants high in THC rather than hemp plants which are low in THC. Commonly cannabis oil is intended to be high in THC and low in CBD but can also be a balance of the two. This type of product is illegal in the UK unlike CBD oil produced from hemp plants. 


Carrier oil

Carrier oils are those that are used to dilute essential oils ready for application. These are usually made from vegetable oils such as coconut or avocado. In the case of CBD the most common are coconut oil (MCT oil), hemp seed oil and olive oil. Often carrier oils are odourless with a slightly nutty flavour. This taste can often be detected when you take CBD under the tongue.


CB1 receptors

Cannabinoid receptors, which form part of the endocannabinoid system, found on cell surfaces in the human body. Concentrated in the brain, central nervous system and some other organs.


CB2 receptors

Cannabinoid receptors, which form part of the endocannabinoid system, found on cell surfaces in the human body. Mostly in peripheral organs, especially cells associated with the immune system. CB2 receptors are believed to regulate inflammation.


Certificate of analysis (COA) / Lab certificates

A certificate of analysis or lab report should be provided as verification that the CBD product contains what it says on the label and is free of dangerous heavy metals and solvents. These reports can contain exact measurements of cannabinoids found in the product, heavy metals testing, solvent tests and terpene levels in the final product.

A high-quality lab report should be completed by a third party and include batch numbers so that products can be matched to the results.

Find out more about how to read lab reports for CBD products.



This is the chemical that gives plants their green colouring and contains various vitamins and antioxidants.


CO2 Supercritical Extraction

This is a method used to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant. It is used due the high level of control it has over temperature and pressure. This method ensures that the oil produced is both pure and clean whilst protecting the active cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant. 

Another advantage of this method is that you can separate the constituent oils and remove anything that is not wanted in the final product. For instance, THC, so a broad-spectrum oil can be produced to guarantee that it will not have too much THC and break UK law.



This is a common term used amongst cannabis and CBD consumers. A concentrate describes a substance where by the diluting agent is either reduced or removed altogether to produce a higher purity product (80-99%).

A CBD oil is usually diluted with hemp seed or MCT oil, this is referred to as a carrier oil. A concentrate will not have any of these additional ingredients. Examples include CBD crystal isolate, wax, shatter, crumble or live resin. These are normally consumed as dabs (a method of vaporisation) which are inhaled for fast acting effects.


Cold-pressed CBD

Cold-pressed CBD is a product type made using the ancient method of cold pressing. This method has been utilised for millennia as a gentle way of extracting compounds from plants.

The plant material is mixed with a carrier oil such as olive oil and then pressurised. This method uses minimal heat, which helps to preserve the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in the hemp plant.



The dictionary definition is the removal or elimination of a carboxyl from a molecule. With regards to cannabinoids this is the process whereby heat is applied to CBDa to convert it to the more desired CBD. The same process is used for converting THCa to THC and CBGa to CBG.



CBD distillate is highly-purified thick, golden amber liquid that is produced when hemp extract is winterised in ethanol and then distilled.



Edible refers to products containing CBD that can be eaten. This include CBD gummies, chewing gum, mints and chocolates.


E-liquid / Vape juice

A liquid that has been created to be compatible with use in an e-cigarette. This liquid is usually produced using a combination of Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). Often this is flavoured or enriched with other cannabinoids and terpenes, for instance we stock Love CBD e-liquid with added CBG and terpenes.

Vape oils are also available PG and VG free. We stock a 100% natural vape oil by CBD Ultra.



Refers to a protein compound (such as anandamide) which is naturally produced in the body. These bind to the same brain receptors (CB1 and CB2) as cannabinoids.


Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

A biological system that all animals and people have that maintains balance or homeostasis. Kind of like the classic fairy tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, our endocannabinoid system wants to keep our body, “just right”. This system regulates sleep, pain, appetite, memory, mood and inflammation. It is very complex and made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors, believed to be the most abundant receptors in the body, which interact with endocannabinoids and cannabinoids.


Entourage effect

The entourage effect is a term used to describe the process whereby a combination of cannabinoids is considered to be more effective than an isolated molecule.



An extract is a substance that has been obtained by pressing, distilling, or dissolving in alcohol. For example, hemp is pressed to obtain cannabinoids, flavonoids, and plant nutrients for use in CBD products.



These are a phytonutrient found in fruits and vegetables that give them their vivid colours. It is believed that these flavonoids like quercetin are associated with a diet including 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day is beneficial to health. To date there have been 19 flavonoids identified in the cannabis plant.


Food supplement

A food supplement is a manufactured product containing nutrients, vitamins, minerals, herbs or other active ingredients that can be eaten or swallowed. Food supplements can be produced through extraction from natural products or synthesising the chosen nutrient. CBD is sold as a food supplement in the UK.



Full-spectrum refers to the cannabinoids and terpenes in the oil produced from the cannabis or hemp plant. A full-spectrum oil will contain all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids. This is unlike a broad-spectrum product that will only include a select few. Some people prefer a full-spectrum product because the full range of cannabinoids contributes to the aforementioned entourage effect.


Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

A GMO is an organism that has been modified in a lab to favour certain traits. This can increase resistance to pests, grow larger, or increase nutritional value. Critics claim that GMOs are detrimental to the ecosystem, including human health.


Heavy metals

A heavy metal is a dense metal that is usually toxic at low concentrations. These include but are not limited to lead, mercury and arsenic. This is something that is often tested for in CBD oils as the hemp plant is a bio-accumulator and can easily absorb these from the ground and any nutrients used as part of the growing process.



Hemp is a strain of cannabis plant that is grown specifically for industrial uses. Unlike the variety used to grow recreational cannabis it is low in THC and has thick fibrous stems. Uses for industrial hemp include making rope, textiles, paper, bioplastics, insulation, fuel, hemp seed oil and extracting CBD.


Hemp seed oil

This is the oil produced by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. They are low in cannabinoids such as THC and CBD but high in vitamins and fatty acids. This oil is used for salads, cooking and as a carrier oil for CBD products.



Hybrid is a term used to refer to cannabis strains that have been bred to include elements of both Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica plants.



Indica, aka Cannabis Indica, is a member of the cannabis plant family. Indica plants are usually grown for their high THC levels, but with selective breeding, there are now a number of high CBD low THC varieties that are used by some brands such as the CBD Brothers in their Purple Edition products. 


Industrial hemp

Industrial hemp is a cultivar of cannabis grown for commercial use for the fibres contained in the stems or for its seeds and its cannabinoid-rich flowers.



A pure source of CBD (usually 99%), where during the extraction process, everything naturally found in the plant removed. This includes any trace of THC, terpenes, waxes, oils and chlorophyll. CBD isolate usually comes as a crystal or a powder.



Ketones are produced by the liver to convert glucose into energy.


MCT oil

Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oils are chains of fats. As they are shorter in length, they are easily digested which is why they are used as a carrier for CBD oil. MCT oils are usually extracted from coconut as it contains over 50% medium chain fats. MCT oils can also be produced from dairy and palm oil.


Novel Foods and the FSA

The FSA is the Food Standards Agency for the UK. The FSA is responsible for ensuring the safety, regulation, and hygiene of all food products in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland has their own organisation, called Food Standards Scotland.

Novel Foods is a set of regulations introduced by the EU and implemented by the FSA. These regulations relate to CBD and other food supplements. All food supplements must prove their safety before being sold, applicants must submit toxicology reports, manufacturing processes, ingredients, and safety information to prove that they are safe to eat.


Omega oils

Omega fats are well known as they are associated with a healthy diet and a reduced risk of heart disease. They are commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel and sardines. They are also found in vegetable oil, nuts and seeds.

Hemp seeds have both Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats. They are considered to be well balanced with a 3:1 ratio in favour of Omega 6, which is great for heart health.



Organic products are those that are grown using no artificial fertilisers or pesticides and produced with no artificial colours or preservatives. This is important when growing hemp as it is a bioaccumulator and can absorb heavy metals and dangerous chemicals from these products.



Chemical compounds used to kill pests such as insects and rodents, weeds and fungi which may damage crops. The term pesticides also includes herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. By their very nature they are harmful to animals and potentially humans.



Also known as phytochemicals, phytonutrients are produced by plants to protect them from insect attacks and UV rays. They are believed to contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These phytonutrients are what give plants their bright colours.


Propylene Glycol (PG)

PG is a preservative used in the food industry. It is colourless and has a slightly sweet taste. It is used as a base for CBD vape liquids along with Vegetable Glycerine (VG).



Psychoactive means something that acts upon the central nervous system to alter brain function. The alteration of brain function can cause changes in mood, perception and behaviour. For example, CBD is psychoactive.



Sativa, aka Cannabis Sativa L., is a member of the cannabis plant family. Cannabis Sativa L plants are grown as a source of textile fibres (harvested from the stems) and CBD (harvested from the flowers). Within the Cannabis Sativa L. family, there are other classifications, one of which is hemp, which is commonly used by the wellness industry to extract cannabinoids such as CBD and CBG.



A solvent is a chemical used to dissolve, extract or suspend another material. In relation to CBD this refers to a method of extraction whereby alcohol is used to extract the phytocannabinoids.



Sublingual literally means “under the tongue”. This refers to a method of CBD consumption whereby the liquid is held under the tongue to absorb the active ingredients.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

The most well know cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. THC is the cannabinoid that is known for the “high” feeling associated with recreational cannabis use. Many modern cannabis varieties have been bred to have higher levels of THC than any other cannabinoid.


Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa)

THCa is the precursor and raw form of THC. THCa itself is non-intoxicating but when heated the acid molecule is destroyed creating THC which is known for its high.



Terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis (and other plants) their particular aromas and taste. More than 120 cannabis terpenes have been identified. They exist in varying proportions in cannabis strains and are known to have different effects on humans and animals.



A tincture is a type of product where ethanol has been used as a way of extracting the active ingredients. A common term you may come across is CBD tincture; this means that the CBD and other cannabinoids have been dissolved in alcohol. This alcohol-based preparation is then used to take drops under the tongue, added to food or sprayed on the inside of your cheek.

The term tincture is often misused in the CBD industry. If you see it, check the ingredients, because often these products are just standard oils that have been mislabelled.



A product or method that requires you to apply it directly to the skin. Topical products are typically creams, balms, lotions and ointments. Topical products are not designed to cross to the bloodstream but to focus on the area it has been applied to.


Transdermal patches

Like a topical, a transdermal patch is designed to be applied directly to the skin. The key difference is that a transdermal patch has been designed to deliver a medication to the blood stream.


Vape pen

A vape pen is a small device, usually associated with e-cigarettes, which heats a liquid containing an active ingredient in some form of carrier oil, for inhalation. Vape pens come as disposables or with detachable cartridges.



A vaporiser (or vape) is a device used to heat a plant substance so that it can be inhaled. The idea is that by keeping the temperature lower, plant material is not combusted and only the active ingredients are inhaled e.g. CBD.


Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

VG is a colourless, sweet liquid used in the food industry. It is used in conjunction with Propylene Glycol (PG) as a base for CBD e-liquids.


Water soluble

Water soluble means that the product can be dissolved in water.


Whole plant

A whole plant CBD product is one that has been extracted and used entirely in its raw form without removing any plant lipids, fats, or flavonoids. Whole plant products are often slightly bitter and earthy as they have not been filtered.

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