Top 5 Differences between Hemp and Marijuana
One of the most common questions we receive is why CBD is different from marijuana. It can be a confusing topic when experts start talking about different strains, clones, sativa vs. indica and a hundred other things that aren’t really answering your question. To make this simple we’ve outlined the 5 major differences between Hemp and marijuana.
Classic marijuana or cannabis is grown to have THC. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives you a high. Marijuana’s value is derived from it’s THC content, with higher amounts costing more. The complete opposite of this is Hemp which has near zero levels of THC and high levels of CBD. Hemp has been specifically grown over the years to increase the amount of CBD and REDUCE the amount of THC. Hemp that has less than .3% of THC is considered industrial hemp and is allowed to be grown according to the 2014 Farm Bill.
Hemp is extremely hardy and rugged compared to marijuana. Hemp can grow in virtually any climate or terrain and is almost grown outdoors. Since nearly the entire plant is used in CBD products, hemp provides an extremely large yield of usable plant material. Marijuana on the other hand is normally grown indoors in highly controlled environments to maximize the yield of the flowering bud portion of the plant. The chemistry of the plant is integral to the THC potency of marijuana making it necessary to tightly control every aspect of the growing process.
Hemp is one of the most versatile renewable plants on the planet. Hemp was originally used for paper, oil and rope. As technology has advanced hemp has found uses as ethanol based fuels, building materials, food sources, cloth and textiles. Marijuana on the other hand has only one primary use as a psychoactive plant.
There are two primary types of cannabis, Sativa and Indica. Indica is normally high in THC and is usually associated with strong psychoactive effects. Sativa can also be psychoactive, however to a much lower level. Strains of Sativa that were lower in THC were considered hemp and in the 2014 Farm Bill the definition of industrial hemp requires it to be from the cannabis Sativa family.
Depending on what state you live in you may need a medical license and be registered with the state to use marijuana. In states like Colorado and Washington you don’t necessarily need a medical license but you do need to show your driver's license for either recreational or medical marijuana. The only difference between medical and recreational marijuana is the THC content. In medical marijuana there is a much lower THC content and a higher CBD content. This allows patients to use their CBD medication with minimal psychoactive effects.
You do not need a license, registration or driver's license for hemp derived CBD. Most CBD sellers will only sell to people 18 years and older so that there isn’t a parental consent issue, however technically there isn’t an age requirement.
As consumers have access to more information and CBD becomes more readily available, understanding the differences between hemp and marijuana will become more common. For now this primer should give you a good start.
This article represents the opinions of the author and in no way represents medical or legal advice. Always consult with your physician before taking any supplements.