Oftentimes a lot of things get lost in translation or in the case of science, in the murky world of technicalities. Over the last decade or so CBD has hit the mainstream. It is next to impossible to not come across something or someone constantly referring to the infiltration of CBD into our lives and the pros and cons associated with it. On the other hand, marijuana remains a taboo topic to have a conversation around. unless you are located in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it best not to have an open conversation regarding it.
So what is hemp? How is it different from Marijuana ? and Why was it banned for over 80 years?
I’ll start with stating the obvious, the only thing everyone really cares about Marijuana can get you high, whereas, well, hemp cannot. But to truly understand the difference, let’s rewind right from the beginning.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. It is a naturally occurring substance that is used in products to impart a sense of relief. It is not psychoactive like THC, which means you aren’t going to be getting high anytime soon with it.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a term used to classify varieties of cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content. This is the legal definition of hemp which had not been legitimized until the Agricultural Act of 2018. Before this, it was still cultivated though only for the industrialized use of its derived products.
Hemp has a rich history dating back to around 10,000 years ago when many believe it was one of the first crops to be cultivated. Hemp and marijuana have long been considered species or strains of cannabis, whereas they cant be considered as plants at all. They are just simple broad classifications of cannabis, not legitimate nomenclature for the cannabis plant.
Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers in the world and has endless possible applications, including but not limited to
Clothing & textiles
Hemp is also an important also plays an important role in plant-based pest control and has been used for many years as a natural method of curbing the growth of weeds and invasive plants. Due to their dense growth structure, they effectively crowd out the weeds present in the soil killing them without the need for pesticides.
It is also being viewed as a potential source of biofuel, presently most biofuel is produced from sources like cereal grains and dead plant matter.
What is Marijuana?
This is a term that is used to classify varieties of cannabis that contain more than 0.3% THC and can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects on the user. While it is commonly used nomenclature it is a gross misinterpretation of Cannabis. Due to the marijuana tax act of 1937, there was a blanket ban on all products related to cannabis. Which is where hemp also got into trouble even though it has no psychoactive properties
The Key Differentiator
As they are varieties of the same plant species, hemp and marijuana have a similar physical appearance and can be indistinguishable from one another. There however some major differentiating factors.
Both Hemp and Marijuana can have high amounts of CBD but at the same time have drastically different levels of THC. Hemp does not contain any more than 0.3 % THC whereas Marijuana has up to 30 % THC content.
Due to the stark differences in their levels of THC, hemp and Marijuana are treated very differently under the law.
Previously regarded as an illegal substance under the Controlled Substance ACT of 1970, its status as a schedule 1 drug has been amended under the agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, under which federally legal to cultivate hemp and produce hemp byproducts.
Marijuana, however, remains illegal on a federal level making it illegal to consume unless the state where you have approved recreational usage. Marijuana has also in recent times gaining visibility and is being legalized across the country for recreational as well as medical purposes.
Hemp and marijuana have widely different uses and so have very different growing conditions. Marijuana is grown selectively bred in controlled environments which are structured to effectively optimize a plant’s characteristics and produce female plants that yield budding flowers.
For a marijuana plant to yield well, a grower needs to pay close attention to the plant at every stage of its life cycle and maintain its environment i.e. lightning, temperature & humidity.
Hemp on the other end of the spectrum is grown to maximize its size and yield. For this to happen hemp is grown outdoors and does not require as much care as a marijuana plant does.
Hemp and Marijuana are used in a variety of ways all significantly different from each other. Hemp with its high concentration of THC has recreational as well as therapeutic uses. On the other hand, Hemp has a more wholesome variety of products backing it.
A big point of contention, however, is the derivation of CBD from both these sources. The CBD derived from either is the same but under the federal laws deriving CBD from marijuana is illegal.
The subject in its entirety of comparing weed and hemp can be extremely confusing. but I hope by reading you have been able to figure out what exactly is the difference between the two. Also if you are looking for medical marijuana new york, then see a 420 doctor before heading out to buy any cannabis products.