If you’re wondering about CBD and just learning about the differences between Hemp vs Marijuana, we have prepared a guide to help you out. Indeed, the need for more knowledge about CBD grows with the market demand. As more people start to try the product and incorporate this into their lives, evaluators urge the companies to give more details about these products. While most users key into Cannabis as the primary source, Hemp plant vs Marijuana sources come into the periphery. This becomes a source of confusion for many users, beginners, and experts alike. So, let us clear things up.
Hemp & Marijuana: Definition
For starters, let’s re-establish the terminology first. We use hemp as a term referring to cannabis varieties that contain less than 0.3% THC content as per its dry weight. Earlier in the day, hemp refers to fibers used in building resources and fabric production. Now, it is a viable source of CBD oil.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is a variety that has more than 0.3% THC content as per its dry weight. This word has a negative connotation in cannabis culture. It may even have a possibly racist undertone to it. This is concerning how the smoking habit enhanced during the legal immigration of Mexicans to the US. You can read this article for reference. With that in mind, we use these terms concerning Cannabis use and production. However, the hemp plant vs. Marijuana does not only differ in definition.
The Confusion Presented by Hemp vs Marijuana
Let’s begin with the source of every product legalized as hemp or scrutinized as Marijuana: Cannabis. What is Cannabis? Primarily, this is a flowering plant classified under the Cannabaceae family, has three variants. We commonly recognize these variants as “strains,” namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Hybrid and Cannabis Ruderalis. Basically, we use these as legitimate terminologies for the plant nomenclature of Cannabis. In addition to this, there are wider propagations of Sativa Strains and Indica strains, as compared to that of Ruderalis.
Hemp and Marijuana, on the other hand, are terms borne from the culture of production and use. Unlike the three aforementioned strains of the plant, these are types based on a single characteristic. How much THC is in the plant is a particular characteristic. Some variants include more THC after processing than others, but this can also be affected by farming practices and extraction methods.
Let us make this clear: all Cannabis strains have both CBD and THC, alongside other naturally occurring compounds. However, hemp and Marijuana do not share the same composition. Now, to factor these in:
The Key Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
The struggle begins with how the two are virtually indistinguishable. It doesn’t help that they come from the same plant and generally contain the same naturally occurring compounds. When it comes to data on production methods and consumer practices, we can see how these plant products actually differ. This is where we focus on CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and their respective roles on how the contention between hemp vs Marijuana began. Let’s discuss composition, legality, cultivation, and usage.
Hemp vs Marijuana: Composition
As initially mentioned, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive compound present in all cannabis extracts. When the plant is processed into CBD oil, the THC amount in the extracts becomes relevant in differentiating hemp and Marijuana. More specifically, it is indicative of how the products will be classified.
With that, hemp products contain a 0.3 THC content or less, while marijuana-derived oils contain more. Many deem CBD oils, which are hailed to be more therapeutic and medical than recreational, to best be hemp-derived since they are more potent, pure, and free from trace amounts of psychoactive compounds.
Hemp vs Marijuana: Legality
The law plays a vital role in the establishment of these terminologies. Given the THC content as their primary indicator, hemp is the general term referring to “legal” Cannabis. Many people perceived Marijuana, on the other hand, as harmful because of THC’s intoxicating effects. The Farm Bill of 2014 was the first to draw the line between the hemp plant vs. Marijuana by defining it using its THC content. Over time, legislation passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. It followed the subsequent legalization of hemp cultivation, production, and consumption.
Another contributing factor to the prosecution of marijuana use is the racial undertone. While they are mainly from the same plant, marijuana use is often aligned with the activities of immigrants. This is also taken into consideration when analyzing how the terms hemp and Marijuana even came to be.
Hemp vs Marijuana: Cultivation
CBD oil companies had practically mastered the basics of how to grow Cannabis. Hence, cultivation methods also helped to differentiate hemp from Marijuana. Basically, we harvest fiber for hemp. This means that our growers propagate a particular variant to harvest cannabis stalks for hemp and eventual CBD oil processing. Meanwhile, we harvest the cannabis flowers for marijuana-derived products like canna oil and Kush. Because of this distinction, growers had resorted to selective breeding, which allows them to either cultivate variants with slender and tall stalks or ones with more buds and flowers.
It must also be noted that state and federal laws also put these farms under evaluation to ensure that the farming methods practiced are according to standard.
Hemp vs Marijuana: Usage
If we find the term “hemp” to be familiar, that is because the plant’s use dates us way back into history. Back in the day, people used hemp to produce textiles, building materials, paper, and even industrial items like ropes, netting, and canvas. These products are also identified as hemp or “hemp-sourced.” Then again, how we processed the cannabis plant has gone a long way since. CBD oil users almost equate hemp to a herb and Marijuana to a drug. However, these are just culturally-fueled terminology.
Hemp is now considered the legal source of potent CBD oil, particularly the THC-free broad spectrums and isolates. Companies have been able to process hemp into tinctures, topicals, and even edibles to make CBD oil easier to consume. Closely following these developments is the research supporting medical Marijuana.
Hemp-Derived CBD vs Marijuana Derived CBD
Aside from the difference in THC content, hemp and Marijuana have a few key similarities in their source. Plant genetics come in definitively with the main strains: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The shape of their leaves and their effects identify one from the other – with Sativa as the “upper” since it provides the user with energy and a head high; and Indica as the “downer,” since it reduces anxiety and lowers cortisol levels. With that, both hemp and Marijuana can be produced with any of these strains. In fact, many CBD oil products come in “flavors” that either promise energy or relaxation.
However, hemp-derived CBD products are more prevalent in the market. This is part and parcel of marketing its relaxing and therapeutic results. In fact, a 2015 study shows how producers prefer using Indica strains for hemp products. That being said, the strongest and most valid determinant is its high THC content. So, many companies prefer to process hemp for their products instead of Marijuana.
Is the Hemp vs Marijuana Distinction Useful?
Mainly, we use the terms “hemp” and “marijuana” within the cultural context. Furthermore, these are not scientific terms akin to plant nomenclature. These are the various methods of plant processing at play. We must take into account that the source remains the same. Produces will utilize advanced extraction methods to remove THC from the formulation until marijuana is qualified under federal and state laws, anyway.
We should objectively look at Hemp and Marijuana as cultural terms and not as scientific words. Companies still use “hemp-derived” as a product description for CBD oil. However, it can understandably be because of how the public still perceives Marijuana.
We can use this distinction in a way that can be useful in the regulation of CBD production. In a way, it allows us to categorize CBD oil as Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, or Isolate. On the other hand, Canna oil is still processed and used as a recreational product in states that allow marijuana use. The effects of THC are clearly part of the marketing. So, it must also be said that Marijuana is still a viable source of CBD oil. That is where processing comes in to extract THC for product certification.
Conclusively, hemp vs. Marijuana shouldn’t be pit against one another at all. While they ultimately differ in psychoactive properties and consequent consumption results, they are still useful sources of CBD products. With that, we hope we have cleared the smoke for you, and may you be more guided in the future.