Many misconceptions exist surrounding the differences between hemp and marijuana. Even amongst cannabis cultivators and sellers. That’s partly because the definition can vary depending on what country you are in as well as there being a vast amount of misinformation spread from untrustworthy blogs and news sources.
Add in the rise of the CBD industry and the legal minefield that it has created being a cannabis extract that isn’t abused for recreational purposes. It is important that all consumers understand exactly what CBD is and how to differentiate between marijuana and hemp.
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Marijuana versus hemp
Marijuana and hemp are both plants that fall under the category of cannabis. Hemp is simply a legal term for cannabis that has less than a certain amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), generally 0.3% in most countries. Marijuana is cannabis that has more than 0.3% THC.
THC is a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant. It is considered the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis and is what causes users to feel ‘high’ or ‘stoned’. It is the amount of THC present within the cannabis plant that determines whether a plant is classified as marijuana or hemp. This is why for legal reasons in most countries around the world THC is illegal.
Therefore, hemp is legal to cultivate in most countries and marijuana is illegal. Laws are generally relaxing for marijuana around the world, with, most notably, the full-scale legalisation of recreational marijuana in Canada in 2018.
CBD or cannabidiol is also a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant, just like THC. However, it doesn’t make the user feel ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ and therefore isn’t illegal in the UK or most countries around the world.
The cannabis plant has over 100 compounds that fall into the category of cannabinoids, not just THC and CBD. It’s just that THC and CBD are the most popular of all these compounds.
CBD has piqued people’s interest due to its wealth of apparent medical benefits, such as helping with inflammation, epilepsy and MS to name a few. Just like all the other cannabinoids, CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant and made into an oil. Hence, the most common way of consuming CBD is CBD oil benefits.
CBD from Marijuana or Hemp?
Because CBD is a compound found within the cannabis family of plants, it is present within both marijuana and hemp. Different strains of both marijuana and hemp have differing amounts of CBD.
There seems to be a common misconception amongst CBD users that CBD extracted from hemp differs from CBD extracted from marijuana. However, they are plants in the Cannabis family and CBD is the same compound hemp and cbd regardless of whether it is present in either hemp or marijuana.
Claims have been made that CBD oil extracted from hemp is dirtier and less effective than CBD from marijuana. This is incorrect because there is no difference between high-THC and low-THC cannabis that somehow makes the soil it grows in cleaner. As with all crops, it is the soil conditions and growing conditions that determine how clean the plant is.
Marijuana-derived CBD products are still considered illegal in the UK, regardless of the THC percentage in the final product. It is only hemp-derived CBD from cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC that is legal. However, if CBD oil derived from marijuana had the THC level reduced to a legal level after cropping the plant, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
The use of terms marijuana and hemp has caused many misconceptions about cannabis, but they become easier to understand when you see them as just legal terminology. Because they are used as part of the legal framework that surrounds cannabis, it is important to understand the differences between the two to avoid potential legal issues when using CBD products.