What is the Difference between Hemp and Cannabis?
While cannabis becomes more and more mainstream, you’ll hear more terms used to discuss it. But are we all talking about the same thing or are there differences? Cannabis, marijuana, CBD, hemp, industrial hemp, agricultural hemp are all terms you may have seen in the news or on your products… but what does it all mean? What are the differences and how do you know which one to utilize? Because hemp and cannabis both derive from the Cannabis Sativa family, they share similarities; however, they have several very distinct differences.
Cannabis (AKA Marijuana)
Cannabis is the psychoactive dried resinous flower buds and leaves of the female cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa or C. indica) that contain levels of THC and other terpenes. Although cannabis is great for human consumption, it’s not the best option for pets due to the psychoactive nature of cannabis.
Federal Definition of Hemp
Federal law defines industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis”.
Hemp may be grown as a textile to be used in products like hempcrete (an alternative to concrete), rope, clothing, and more. On the flip side, the seeds and oils can be utilized for food and consumption and often boast contents of CBD.
Marijuana AKA cannabis features dense buds (flowers), broad leaves, and sits closer to the ground with a bushy appearance. In comparison, hemp grows taller and skinnier, with thinner leaves that grow in abundance toward the top of the plant.
Hemp-based CBD vs cannabis-based CBD – Why one is better than the other?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the same plant compound, regardless of whether it’s found in a low-THC or high-THC cannabis plant. Regardless of the source, CBD has an impact on stress and can improve anxiety levels. There has been some debate amongst the cannabis community about which source is best, and if both have great qualities in their own respect.
If you are looking to consume CBD for its medicinal benefits and live in a legal state, the cannabis plants bred for high CBD and low THC contents are the most beneficial. Strains that are known for this high CBD, low THC makeup include Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, ACDC, and Rhino’s Gift. These would also be considered “whole-plant” or full-spectrum CBD strains.
When you consume cannabis-sourced CBD, the benefit comes from the combination of additional terpenes, which delivers something called the entourage effect. According to the CBP Project, “Terpenoids and cannabinoids both increase blood flow, enhance cortical activity, and kill respiratory pathogens, including MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that in recent years has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.” Cannabinoids and terpenes work together within the body – each terpene doing a different job. By utilizing more terpenes available within the plant, you provide more value to your endocannabinoid system.
As mentioned previously, CBD from any source is still CBD. Hemp is typically utilized for its industrial use in fibers and raw materials, although hemp-based CBD products are also used for CBD health and food products.
Hemp may not be the better source for medicinal CBD because it is known to be a bio-accumulator, which means that it absorbs a lot of what is in the soil it’s been planted in. This means that it can suck up pesticides, chemical spills, fertilizers, and other harmful environmental toxins. This is typically due to agricultural conditions. Even more, hemp is not regulated in the same way that cannabis is regulated. This makes it more difficult to know if CBD sourced from hemp is as clean as CBD sourced from cannabis.
The best thing you can do is to source your hep-based CBD from a trusted grower that provides the details about the soil and conditions in which the crop was grown. Choosing a brand that provides test results is one of the easiest ways to learn about the contents of your CBD. To learn more about CBD myths, check out this article by Harper’s Bazaar.
Should you go with hemp or cannabis CBD?
At the end of the day, CBD from hemp or from cannabis is still CBD. Both options require thorough vetting to ensure the brand you’ve chosen has grown their crops with high standards and tests their product for harmful contaminants. For more medicinal benefits, cannabis-sourced whole-plant CBD is the best option. However, if you are looking to supplement your health regimen with CBD, a hemp-based source will do.
By Bri Smith
This website is informational and cannot diagnose or treat illness or disease. Medical marijuana aka cannabis should be used under the direction of a licensed healthcare provider. This site is intended for adults and legal medical marijuana patients. This site contains links to products we sell on our marketplace.
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