As you may expect, I spend a lot of time talking about what hemp is. I spend an equal amount of time talking about what hemp isn’t – generally as a response to any number of pot jokes (at this point, I think I’ve heard them all – but feel free to post ’em!). Let’s dive in…
Aren’t hemp and marijuana the same thing?
Nope, not so much. They are both cannabis, for sure (hence the “cousins” title), but they are grown differently. Hemp grows like bamboo. This is intentional because all parts of the hemp plant are useful. The fiber can be used for everything from clothing to concrete. The stalks and flowers can be used for hemp oil – both the type that you use to dress your salad or smooth your hair and the type that contains healthful compounds for your endocannabinoid system (more on that in a second.) Marijuana grows as a shorter, bushier plant as it does not have the secondary uses and the focus is on the flower. The other major difference is the amount of THC that occurs naturally in the plant. Industrial hemp plants contain about .3 – 1.5% THC, while marijuana plants contain more like 5-10%.
There are actually more than 80 different compounds, or cannabinoids, found in both hemp and marijuana plants. THC (and it’s variants) are the only ones with psychotropic effects. That means that there are lots more compounds that occur naturally in the plants that do things other than get you high. Of these, CBD is the next most studied. We all have something in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system. This system works to keep us in neutral. Neutral means something different in our heads, and hands, and gut. Therefore this compound goes to work differently depending on where your body needs to be brought back to “neutral.” And, shocker, your body already makes cannabinoids. If you take in more from a plant, then those phyto (phyto just means from a plant) cannabinoids are just an additional support.
I’m often asked if cannabinoids from marijuana are the same as those from hemp. This can actually be a topic of great debate for plant enthusiasts, but the short answer is yes. If you’re getting CBD from a hemp oil supplement or CBD from marijuana, it’s still the same CBD. You are simply not getting enough THC from hemp to have a psychotropic impact. That is, assuming you are buying your product from a reputable source that is testing their hemp oil to ensure that everything you want (the correct percentage of CBD or other compounds) is in the product and that anything you don’t want (more than .3% THC, pesticides, heavy metals) is excluded.
For more details see CBD Buyers Guide