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When you hear hemp what comes to mind? Lucid colors, the pointed canabis leaf, the 70s and the quite fashionable bellbottoms embroidred with flowers? All these things that remind us of Marijuana. Well, I am here to enlighten you, the hemp in your mother’s lotion is in fact not the same as the weed your friends smoked in college.
Hemp, mainly industrial hemp, is grown for the use of its fibers or seeds. Like marijuana, it is a form of cannabis sativa. However, It is specifically grown to have low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, or cannabidiol. After the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, industrial hemp was removed from the controlled substances list and became legal to grow.  In order to remain legal, hemp must have less than a .3% THC content. However, it does have a high content of CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis. If you care to read more about CBD, click here. The bad thing about hemp is that it is a hyperaccumulator, which means it can grow in soils with metals or possibly pollutants and absorb them.  This is why knowing where the hemp from a certain product is sourced is very important.
Marijuana, also a strain of cannabis sativa, is different from hemp in its THC content. It is grown mostly for its buds, which contains the highest content of cannabinoids of the plant. It contains anywhere from 3%-15% THC on a “dry-weight basis”,  which means the presence of water is ignored. Some strains can have up to 30% THC.  Any products containing marijuana-derived CBD, even if the THC content is below .3%, must be regulated by state law. Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug. This means it has no known use for medical treatment and has a high possibility for abuse. 
It was reported that there is no way to discern between marijuana and hemp without testing THC content.  The CBD content of the marijuana strain of cannabis sativa is found mostly in the seeds and stem, whereas hemp has CBD in all parts of the plant. CBD products derived from marijuana often contain slightly more THC than .3%. This can have its own benefits. CBD and THC working together is known as the entourage effect,  in which the drugs work synergistically to produce a high without the effects of paranoia or anxiety. Since CBD and THC interact differently with the endocannabinoid system (read more about it here), THC can cause the psychoactivity while CBD lessens the intensity of the high.
Products that contain both CBD and THC are full spectrum, meaning it contains all products found naturally occurring in the plant, such as terpenes, oils, and both cannabinoids. Products with CBD as the only cannabinoid could be either broad spectrum or isolates, which removes THC or all other plant components, respectively. So, if you are looking for the full plant and its benefits, a product with both CBD and THC is what you might be wanting.
The downside is that marijuana is still largely regulated, and anything with a THC content greater than .3% is subject to state and federal laws. For many states, you must have a medical card or be over a certain age to purchase anything marijuana-derived. If you are looking for the benefits of CBD, and you do not mind missing out on the psychoactive possibilities of THC, then hemp-derived CBD is right for you.
Hemp-derived CBD has its own benefits in that the hemp is grown with an already naturally high content of CBD. It contains little to no THC, so for users who are afraid to get high, no such thing will occur. It also is easily purchased online in all 50 states. Hemp-derived CBD can come in broad spectrum and isolate forms. The broad spectrum has all the plant compounds except THC, whereas isolate has purely CBD. These choices allow a user to select a product based on extraction process and level of concentration.
Hemp and marijuana are both forms of cannabis sativa and are almost identical, except for their THC content. Hemp contains less than .3% THC by law and is grown mainly for its fibers and seeds, with a higher content of CBD. Marijuana is utilized for its buds, has a higher THC content, and is thus controlled by more laws. Hemp-derived CBD oil and products are the best for those who worry about legality and do not want any chance of getting high.
RESEARCHED AND AUTHORED BY:
ANGIE T. BIOCHEM MAJOR @ UCLA IN LOS ANGELES, CA
Any blog content is based on our research and opinions and does not claim professional accuracy. The information and products contained on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. You are advised to consult with your health care provider prior to use.
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