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cbd & hemp oil skincare: the glossary

Confused by terms like “CB2 receptor,” “endocannabinoid system,” and “phytocannabinoid?” Here’s a quick reference guide for all the cannabis terminology you’ll likely encounter as you dive into the world of CBD oil and hemp oil skincare, hemp seed oil benefits for skin, and other natural products.

You wouldn’t jump into treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, poor cardiovascular health, or other health issues without learning about your treatment options, right? The same is true of your skin care. From full-spectrum hemp oil vs. CBD oil to omega acids, essential oils, antibacterial activity, and hemp seed oil benefits, there’s a lot to take in. Even just small amounts of knowledge can make a significant difference in your care. So, start by getting familiar with some of the key terms having to do with hemp seed oil, CBD oil, terpenes, and other elements of cannabis skincare.

Affinity
Chemically speaking, affinity refers to the attraction, bind, or compatibility between two elements, like CBD and CB receptors. CBD has little binding affinity for both CB1 or CB2 receptors
Alkylamides
Alkylamides are the components in echinacea plants that create their cannabimimetic effects.
Anandamide
Anandamide (ANA), or N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA), is a fatty acid neurotransmitter that regulates neuron signaling and inflammation and creates a sense of mental well-being and happiness. Small amounts of it can even be found in chocolate!
Anti-Inflammatory Properties
A terpene or other ingredient is said to be anti-inflammatory or have anti-inflammatory effects when used to reduce inflammation, whether in the case of skin care or another health need.
Broad-spectrum
Just like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum extract contains minor cannabinoids, flavonoids, and usually a fair amount of terpenes, but has all of the residual THC removed from it, leaving 0% THC.
Cannabigerol
The non-acidic form of cannabigerolic acid, cannabigerol (CBG) is an adaptogenic molecule and is the “parent molecule" from which several other cannabinoids are made. CBG has been making headlines for its numerous reported health benefits.
Cannabimimetics
Cannabimimetics are various plants and other ingredients that mimic the properties of CBD, acting as cannabinoid-like compounds so far as their impact. Some common plants with cannabimimetic effects, which act in a similar way to CBD, include black pepper, echinacea, black truffles, flaxseed, cacao, kava, electric daisy, and the essential oils of these plants as well as rosemary, clove, lavender, and cinnamon.
Cannabis Plant
The term “cannabis” marks a genus of flowering plants, including cannabis sativa (also called cannabis sativa l.), cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Also known as hemp, cannabis treatment may come as medicinal marijuana use, CBD oil, THC, hemp seed oil, or other variations. Particular cannabis strains (typically divided between sativa and indica varieties) will have different potential benefits and terpene profiles or may come in the form of hemp seed oil or other derivatives.
CBD
Short for Cannabidiol, CBD is a derivation of the cannabis plant. Unlike its cousin THC, this cannabinoid is non-intoxicating (won’t get you high) and affects the human body, not the mind. Think of CBD as a molecule that brings harmony back to the skin and body with its positive effects. It’s used to soothe distressed skin and restore its natural bliss, amongst its other numerous potential health benefits CBD oil is rich in nutrients and amino acids (in fact, it’s a complete protein chain). You can find CBD as unrefined or refined oil on its own, as well as in skincare products, balms, tinctures, capsules, emulsions, and more, each with a lower or higher concentration of CBD depending on the product. You may also find that certain products have different potential risks, from mild irritation or discomfort to something more serious—when in doubt, talk to your doctor about what works best for you, considering potential side effects and interactions.
CBD isolate
Pure, white, powdery CBD isolate is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids, leaving about 99.9% crystalline CBD.
CB1 receptor
The cannabinoid receptor type 1, or CB1, is the receptor found in the brain and throughout the body. The CB1 receptor is responsible for the psychoactive effect produced by THC. Like its affinity for CB2, CBD has a low affinity for CB1 receptors.
CB2 receptor
The cannabinoid receptor type 2, or CB2, is the receptor found primarily in the gastrointestinal and immune system. CB2 is associated with anti-inflammatory effects. Like its affinity for CB1, CBD has a low affinity for CB2 receptors.
Cortisol
Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone and is responsible for symptoms like acne, clogged pores, and increases in hormones. In conjunction with the endocannabinoid system, CBD and its terpenes can help regulate natural cortisol levels and improve skin health.
Distillate
Distillate or “disty”, is the word for CBD extract in its more crude form, including Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD. Distillate is very thick and sticky, like a dark honey.
Dosage
With CBD oil, in particular, a dose ultimately determines whether the therapeutic benefits will work for you. Ideally, you will consult an expert before using CBD products or other cannabis derivatives to determine how many ml or teaspoons or what combination with other ingredients is right for you, as well as whether a lower or higher concentration is a good fit.
Endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system whose purpose is to maintain balance in the body, through a network of neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes. The ECS helps regulate basic bodily functions that affect how we relax, eat, sleep, sweat, forget, and protect. The endocannabinoid system also plays a role in the therapeutic benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids, including chronic and acute inflammation.
Endocannabinoids
Endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids are produced by the body and act as neuromodulators to regulate various systems in the body. Anandamide and 2-AG are the two that experts have identified to date.
Entourage effect
The theory is that cannabinoids and terpenes work best together! Whole plant extractions typically include CBD, THC, and more than 400 trace compounds. The entourage effect proposes a synergistic relationship between the active compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes and suggests that their relationship leads to enhanced benefits than if they were used solo.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (or FAAH) is an enzyme in the body that weakens anandamide‘s function. CBD is an FAAH inhibitor, allowing for a greater concentration of anandamide.
Flavonoid
Although they sound like they’d be responsible for flavors, they are actually responsible for the rainbow of colors found in nature! They may have medicinal benefits as well and are being studied for potential antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Full Spectrum
A full-spectrum CBD product is a CBD extract that has retained the other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds from the plant, including a small amount of THC (< 0.3%).
Hempseed oil
Hemp oil is the dark green oil with a nutty flavor that comes from pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp oil is a very nutritive seed oil that’s high in antioxidants, oleic acid, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids but contains no cannabinoids, no CBD, THC, CBN, etc. Hemp seeds and cold-pressed hemp seed oil have been available in health food stores for decades and are abundantly present in smoothies and skin care. Hemp seeds and hemp seed extract do not contain CBD but do offer a rich profile of nutrients.

The hemp plant is of the same species as cannabis, but you’ll find hemp in cosmetics, rope, lighting oil, and more. Hemp seed oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid (alpha-linolenic acid/gamma-linolenic acid), both essential fatty acids, or healthy fats, which contribute to the benefits of hemp seed oil in combatting skin problems. The health benefits of hemp seed oil include anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, among others, benefiting skin conditions like acne vulgaris and others. Like CBD oil, you’ll find both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum hemp oil with different terpene profiles.
Homeostasis
Homeostasis refers to the tendency of the body’s physiological processes to favor equilibrium. Clinical trials suggest that the maintenance of homeostasis is one of the potential therapeutic applications of CBD.
Macrophage
Macrophages are immune system cells that recognize and destroy infecting or damaged cells and organisms. Research and clinical studies suggest that CBD may inhibit macrophages, which may contribute to the cannabinoid’s effect on the immune system.
Medicinal Plants
Medicinal plants are those herbs and plant species with therapeutic effects on the human body, including echinacea, ginseng, green tea, liverwort, and of course, cannabis Sativa and derivatives like hemp seed oil and CBD oil. These plants, their components (like stalks, leaves, buds, or flowers), and their derivatives (like hemp seed oil, extracts, emulsions, and other products) are often used in traditional medicine, with a long history of (admittedly anecdotal) evidence behind that use in not just treating skin conditions but easing a variety of other ailments.
Olea Europaea Fruit Oil
An ingredient commonly found in skincare products, you’re likely more familiar with this in cooking, though it’s more commonly referred to as “olive oil.” In skin care, olive oil’s beneficial effects include moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cleansing, and anti-aging properties.
Oxidation
Chemically speaking, oxidation refers to the process of a compound losing electrons when its level of oxides is increased. In terms of skin care more specifically, oxidative stress can worsen wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of premature aging, create uneven skin tone and texture, or lead to sagging skin. The skin creates a protective barrier to prevent the effects of oxidative stress and, when that is lacking, skincare products can help rebuild that barrier and support it with anti-oxidant properties.
Patch Test
A patch test is a simple way to avoid adverse reactions or unwanted side effects when trying a new hemp oil or CBD product (or, for that matter, any skincare product) for the first time. Ideally, experts suggest testing a new product on a small, hidden piece of skin (such as the neck or inner arm) for four days to ensure you don’t face any unexpected redness, irritation, dryness, itchiness, or other symptoms.
Phytocannabinoids
Phytocannabinoids are produced by plants, as opposed to those produced by the body (endocannabinoids) or by synthetic means. These have a similar effect when interacting with cannabinoid receptors much like endocannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoids could. *Fun fact the cannabis plant is not the only plant that makes phytocannabinoids — echinacea, red ginseng, carrots, and cruciferous vegetables can too!
Plant Peptides
Peptides are short chains of amino acids linked by peptide bonds—in this case, produced by plants. Plant peptides like orange blossom and pomegranate offer potential benefits like collagen formation and anti-aging effects.
Psychoactive
Also called psychotropic, is a term for chemical substances that change a person's mental state by affecting their perceptions, moods, and/or consciousness. Alcohol, caffeine, THC, magic mushrooms, etc.
Skincare Needs
Just like you’d look for the right nutritional supplement to treat a deficiency in vitamins or nutrients or other health needs, you can consider your skincare needs when choosing new products or formulations with particular skin benefits. But, if you’re not struggling with an irritating symptom, you might not recognize those needs. Talk to a dermatologist or consider some common concerns for those with all ranges of skin types, including dryness, dermatitis, oily skin, redness, wrinkles, breakouts, enlarged or clogged pores, rosacea, increased collagen production, and other skin conditions.
Terpenes
Terpenes are the aromatic oils that play an important role in giving plants their unique scents, such as piperine in black pepper, myrcene in hops, or limonene in basil. These compounds are known to carry an array of medicinal benefits also including modulating mood (aromatherapy) and increasing well-being. In nature, different terpenes attract pollinators or repel predators with their aromas. In beauty, the benefits of terpenes include anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties and controlling sebum production or oil production.

You’ll find a few common terpenes in Fifth & Root products you may use, like d-limonene, humulene, pinene, beta-myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, linalool, and others. Each has particular benefits—for instance, pinene and beta-caryophyllene are thought to be useful in combating psoriasis, eczema (atopic dermatitis), dry skin, and similar irritations. While the role of terpenes may vary by product and ingredients, they will certainly prove to be a crucial component of your new beautiful skin. At Fifth & Root, you’ll get the benefits of these terpenes without being diluted by MCT or coconut oil—just all the benefits of cannabis terpenes.
THC
Short for tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is a major cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects, or intoxicating effects of cannabis. Different cannabis products have different levels of THC. But you won’t find THC in most CBD skincare products (or, if you do, it will be only a trace amount of tetrahydrocannabinol) including Fifth & Root’s, meaning you don’t have to worry about your favorite facial or body oil or lotion getting you high or showing up on a drug test.
US Food and Drug Administration
The United States FDA is a governmental authority that regulates food, drugs, biologics, medical devices, electronic products that give off radiation, cosmetics, veterinary products, tobacco products, and individual items within these categories. The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated Fifth & Root products or CBD products more broadly. While current research and recent work promote the benefits of CBD and hemp oil for medicinal purposes, these therapeutic effects and efficacy of these products are not confirmed by FDA-approved research.
Vitamin C
Like Vitamin E, Vitamin C is a key ingredient commonly found in CBD skincare products. It is used for its hydrating and brightening effects, as well as its ability to even out skin tone.
Vitamin E
Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E is a key ingredient commonly found in CBD skincare products. It is used for its healing and moisturizing benefits, as well as its ability to strengthen the skin’s natural barriers.
Whole plant medicine
Studies have shown that the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components are magnified when they stay together so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.
Yangonin
Yangonin are the components in kava plants that create their cannabimimetic effects, interacting with CB1 receptors to produce benefits similar to those of cannabis. You may be familiar with kava already for its use as a calming tea or as a natural supplement with anti-anxiety properties.
2-AG
Like anandamide, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a prominent endocannabinoid that helps regulate appetite, promotes immune system functions, and benefits pain management.

Of course, more clinical research needs to be done before the terpenes CBD and other plants offer can be truly understood. However, in the meantime, we can take advantage of cannabis compounds from CBD skincare to hemp seed oil.

*Terpene benefits are “known” therapeutic benefits and are not meant to be interpreted as drug claims approved by the FDA.