Common Cannabis and CBD Terms Explained

CBD Dog Health Hemp CBD oil for Dogs

“Oh yes I give my dog a tincture with full-spectrum 1100 mg CBD hemp oil with all of the cannabinoids and terpenes possible!”

Did that sentence sound like a foreign language? It certainly did to me when I first started learning about CBD. I was constantly asking and Googling terms, and eventually I enrolled in the University of Vermont to learn more. But, you don’t have to enroll in a degree program to understand some of the basic terms that are frequently used.

Is CBD the same as medical cannabis?

This is one of the most common sources of confusion, and for good reason. CBD and medical cannabis are often used interchangeably.

Medical cannabis (aka medical marijuana) for people typically has THC. Although it is often considered taboo because of the psychoactive effects, THC has several positive uses and can treat depression, PTSD, and a whole range of other ailments and diseases.

CBD is short for Cannabidiol. This is a cannabinoid from the cannabis or hemp plant (we will get into what a cannabinoid is later). CBD oil can be extracted from the hemp plant, which is a type of cannabis plant with less than .3 percent THC. CBD has positive effects for all mammals, including lowering depression, stress, and anxiety, reducing inflammation, and even treating tumors. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is the most prominent naturally-occurring cannabinoid component found in the hemp plant, constituting up to 40% of the plant.

While medical cannabis and CBD are similar, it is important to note that in many states, medical cannabis must be prescribed, whereas CBD from the hemp plant is 100 percent legal in all 50 states.

Cannabinoids defines cannabinoids as: “any of a group of closely related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis.”

In plain english: cannabinoids are compounds from the hemp plant, many of which contain healing properties. Cannabinoids work with the endocannabinoid system within the body. Cannabinoids are strongest when combined with terpenes and when the whole plant is used.

Terpenes defines terpenes as: “any of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees.”

In other words, terpenes are what give plants their smell. Terpenes are not unique to cannabis — in fact, terpenes are what makes it possible for you to smell the relaxing aroma of a lavender plant, or the sharp smell of a lemon.

It may seem like the smell is not that important, but the cannabis plant has over 100 different terpenes and they interact in harmony with cannabinoids and, like cannabinoids, interact with receptors in the brain. Terpenes can help enhance the benefits of the plant, and can produce different effects just like cannabinoids.

Tinctures and Oils

You may hear terms like tinctures and oils used interchangeably. We are guilty of using both terms interchangeably at times. In short, oil can be the CBD oil in its plain state (a slightly thick liquid), it can be infused in food (like our treats), or it can be applied to the skin (like our salves). CBD oil for humans can be ingested through vape pens as well.

The term tincture technically means a medicine made by dissolving ingredients in alcohol. However, when used in the context of CBD oil, a tincture typically just means a CBD oil that is administered with a dropper to be ingested orally, be it put on food or swallowed directly. A tincture cannot be used in a vape pen.

Salves vs Balms

Salves and balms are often confused, even when not in the context of CBD. Of course, it gets even more confusing when people confuse CBD salves with beauty balms and lotions.

The easy way to remember the difference between salves and balms is that balms feel more firm, like chapstick or lip balm. Balms are made to create a barrier against elements, like chapped lips or burns. They often do not penetrate as deeply because they tend to be more oil-based and thick.

Salves are less firm than balms, but more firm than lotions, making them a better choice to deeply penetrate the layers of the skin without feeling greasy. Salves can contain a variety of ingredients, like essential oils, CBD hemp oil, shea butter, coconut oil, etc. Salves are often a better way to treat skin that has been damaged, dry, or is suffering from allergies.

Lotions are more water-based and often are not absorbed by the skin as easily. For dogs, salves are the best method to treat and prevent skin irritations.

What is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil?

CBD oil can be extracted from both the marijuana and hemp plants, which both are in the cannabis plant family. Hemp is marijuana without the THC. CBD hemp oil is just CBD extracted from the hemp plant, but which still has all of the healing effects of the plant.

Our hemp oil, is extracted from the stalks, flowers, and leaves of the hemp plant, and is has a full spectrum of cannabinoids (natural compounds and terpenes) that are only found in the cannabis plant family. CBD from hemp plants are extremely high in CBD and extremely low in THC. For this reason, your pet gets all the benefits without having the psychoactive effects of THC.

Hemp oil from the hemp plant is better than fish or flax seed-based oils, because it naturally has the perfect ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (3:1) which your dog needs.

Hemp oil moisturizes a dog’s skin and fur correctly because it is herbal, and has virtually none of the side effects of fish oil. Hemp oil can prevent and treat numerous skin disorders in dogs, including dry nose, acne, eczema, rash and dandruff.

Hemp seed oil (which is extracted from the seeds only) can enhance blood circulation and stimulate a dog’s cognitive thinking. Plus, it can thicken fur texture and lessen shedding. And because hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant, there are no psychoactive effects.


Full spectrum means that all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that can possibly be present, are present. While there are thousands of cannabinoids and terpenes present in each plant, and it is not possible to preserve every single one during the manufacturing process, full-spectrum means that none of the cannabinoids were purposefully removed. Full-spectrum still has the benefits of the entourage effect (the term for all of of the cannabinoids and terpenes working together) as well, making the cannabinoids pack more of a punch.

To learn more about common terms and to learn how to choose the right CBD oil for your pet, visit or

Angela Ardolino has been caring for animals since she was 8 years old and has operated a farm rescue for over 10 years.  She also is the owner of Beautify the Beast a natural pet salon and spa, and the founder of CBD Dog Health. Angela is an expert in medical cannabis and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief for pets of all kinds.  She has three dogs, and 4-10 at anytime that she is fostering, or boarding, visit to find out more or to find out more about Fire Flake Farm.