As Americans we have interchanged the terms marijuana and cannabis for years. Hemp was considered one and the same as well. So, for lack of better knowledge we all assumed that cannabis was cannabis and it would all get you high … some strains more so than others.
But that simply isn’t true. Like many other plants, various forms are grouped together for descriptions on how to grow or other similarities. There are two cannabis families: Indica and Sativa. Whereas marijuana can be from either family, hemp cannot. Hemp is exclusively from the Sativa cannabis family.
A different name
This is just the beginning of the variances between hemp and marijuana. It may help to remember that a plant has a different name because it is different. Whether it is the biological makeup, the flower or the leaf, there is a genetic difference that affords that particular plant a distinction.
There are several of those distinctions when it comes to hemp and marijuana. Whereas they are both in the cannabis sativa family, the biological makeup of each is quite different. (Marijuana can actually be in both the Indica and Sativa family.) A marijuana plant tends to be more bush like with broader leaves. The marijuana flowers produce pods.
In contrast, hemp has a long stalk like center and produces its thinner leaves only at the top of the plant. Marijuana tends to be grown in a more controlled environment exclusively for medicinal or recreational purposes. Hemp is grown for industrial purposes. Whether extracting the oil, or harvesting the fibers, industrial hemp is cultivated for multiple purposes, typically on a mass scale.
THC versus CBD
There are two important components of the cannabis sativa family that matter most when it comes to these plants. These two components are referred to as cannabinoids; they are tetrahydrocannabinol (referred to henceforth as TCB) and Cannabidiol (referred to as CBD moving forward.) The most concerning factor is the pscyho-altering component THC. THC is what produces a high in your brain.
After decades of research, we now understand that both THC and CBD have profound medicinal benefits to the human body. This is why the medical use of marijuana is rapidly becoming legal in the United States. Currently, there are over 30 states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
In a marijuana plant you can expect a 5-35% THC presence. In contrast, an industrial hemp plant will contain .3% or less. It is less than a third of 1% in the industrial hemp plant. There is a consensus in the medical field as well as the scientific community that there is not enough THC present in hemp to achieve a high.
To further the argument for distinction, lets look at additional components of each strain. Whereas THC is present in both marijuana and hemp, it is much more present in marijuana. Moreover, the high levels of CBD in hemp actually help to counteract the extremely low levels of THC, rendering it ineffectual even further.
After decades of research, we now understand that both THC and CBD have profound medical benefits for the human body. This is why medical use of marijuana is rapidly becoming legal in the United States. Currently, there are over 30 states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana.
Whereas marijuana is used recreationally and medicinally, industrial hemp has over 25,000 known uses. From clothing and shoes to wood products and paper, hemp fiber is the strongest of any other plant. Moreover, CBD oil extracted from hemp is gaining in notoriety. From supplements to skincare, CBD oil has a long list of benefits as well.Thus, hemp and marijuana should never be considered the same plant. The uses and genetic makeup of each are incredibly different. Now that you know, you can educate others. There is no reason for anyone to fear using CBD infused products or producing hemp crops. This incredible herb can go a long way in meeting the needs of 21st century America.