Differences Between Marijuana and Hemp
Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
What is the difference between marijuana and its brother hemp? This is a compelling question. Hemp has been living in marijuana’s shadow for so long that few of us know anything about its potential health benefits.
Just trying to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana can put you on a hamster wheel. Terms such as cannabis plant, cannabis, marijuana, Cannabis Sativa L, cannabinoids, CBD, cannabidiol, hemp, industrial hemp, THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, and MJ, can be confusing. How can anyone tell the difference?
Marijuana and hemp both come from the genus Cannabis Plant, and they are both made up of naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the psychoactive compound that gets you high, is the primary cannabinoid in marijuana. While hemp is CBD (Cannabidiol) rich, the cannabinoid CBD does not get you high. It is not psychoactive, rather it is known for its potential health benefits.
THE SIMPLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA
To make it simple: the bottom line difference between marijuana and hemp is the amount of THC in the hemp extract, its use and for now, and how it is grown.
Growing marijuana is a science. Marijuana is grown indoors in high tech state-of-the-art computer managed greenhouses. Each plant is unique and gets TLC by the bud-tenders. Each seedling is identified with its own UPC to track it to its end product. Growing marijuana is a science. Well known strains such as Blue Dream, Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) and Gorilla Glue are grown in greenhouses equipped with machinery that controls the air quality, the temperature, the irrigation system, and the light. As the plant grows, the lighting changes, the temperature changes, and what’s in the irrigation system changes. All this is calculated to produce the perfect strain with its unique characteristics.
According to the farm bill, industrial hemp is defined as hemp with less than .03% THC. Industrial hemp is CBD rich. Traditionally hemp is grown outdoors and maintained as an overall crop. Hemp plants can grow comfortably close together and yields an abundant harvest. Hemp adapts easily to its environment and can be found growing wild in several parts of the country. Hemp plants can reach heights of 15 feet with long massive stalks. These tall woody stalks are used primarily in textiles, biomass, paper, bedding, construction materials, and paper; however, these are all imported because hemp cultivation in the United States is restricted.
The preconceived notion by most of the world is that marijuana and hemp are the same. There is nothing further from than the truth; they are entirely different. This is probably the biggest hurdle that anyone in the hemp extract industry encounters. However, media reports and specials such as CNN’s, Sanjay Gupta’s, Weeds, Dateline’s: Growing Hope, TV series, Weed Wars, and several documentaries, belie reefer madness. Marijuana gets you high, hemp does not.
More and more people are becoming familiar with CBD and its potential health benefits. The market for CBD is growing every day. Most people purchase CBD products for reasons ranging from pain to anxiety and sleep to seizures. Although there have not been any clinical trials to back these uses in the United States, studies in other countries have shown these as potential benefits of CBD.
Eventually, the US will catch up with the rest of the world and we will be able to conduct the clinical trials necessary to support the healing properties of hemp.