The Weird & Wonderful Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
There’s more to these cannabis terms than meets the eye.
Hemp and marijuana are terms that get thrown around a lot — often incorrectly. People inside and out of the cannabis industry use these terms interchangeably to mean one singular type of cannabis. This is wildly inaccurate.
You see, they’re both varieties of cannabis but with very different legal statuses, uses, and benefits. One is completely legal across the US, while the other is strictly limited to states with laws permitting its use. So, in order to clear up the confusion, we’ve compiled a simple yet rigorous guide to hemp and marijuana.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp Oil vs. Marijuana Oil
|Hempseed Oil||Hemp CBD Oil||Marijuana Oil|
|0.012–0.018% CBD||10–20% CBD||0.5%–20%+ CBD|
|Almost no THC||10-35% THC|
|Non-intoxicating, no high||Non-intoxicating, mild buzz||Intoxicating, strong high|
|Federally legal||Federally legal||Federally illegal|
|Federally legal||Legal in 34 states||Legal in 35 states for medical use|
|Source of nutrition, supplements||Therapeutic benefits (anxiety, pain, sleep)||Medicinal benefits, recreation|
|Sold online||Sold online||Sold via dispensaries|
The main difference between hemp and marijuana is the quantity of delta-9 THC . Hemp is specially grown to carry less than 0.3% THC as per federal guidelines. If it carries more than 0.3% THC, it’s classified as marijuana, which is federally illegal (but legal in most states).
Historically, industrial hemp and its fibers have been used for clothes, rope, shoes, carpets, and paper. Specially grown high-CBD, low-THC hemp varieties are more commonly used to create CBD oil, CBD capsules, and CBD topicals for health and wellness.
Marijuana is used for a variety of different medicinal and recreational purposes. It carries large quantities of THC, the compound known to cause a “high” or feeling of euphoria. Many medical cannabis users consume high-THC marijuana for pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, appetite stimulation, and glaucoma. Recreational users enjoy the feeling of THC in social settings.
Marijuana plants tend to be short, dense, and bushy with broad leaves situated all along the plant’s stalk. Marijuana plant height is dependent on strain. Indicas are short and unlikely to grow any taller than 6 ft, while Sativas can grow up to 20 ft. Hybrids can either be short or tall depending whether they’re Indica or Sativa-dominant.
Hemp plants are slim and very tall, reaching a height of 18.22 ft. Hemp leaves are also very skinny and are commonly found nearer the top of the stalk alongside the trichome-rich buds. Hemp plant color varies. Some are a lighter green, while others have a greyish hue.
Yes. You can smoke hemp flowers (buds) and leaves, provided they’re cured and dried beforehand. Smoking hemp bud is a very popular choice among users wanting an instant hit of cannabidiol (CBD) and other valuable hemp plant compounds.
Yes. Hemp has buds which are often referred to as flowers. They appear in bunches or clusters nearer the top of the stalk and are covered in fine, crystal-like growths called trichomes. These bunches or clusters are also known as colas.
Yes. Hemp seeds can carry THC but in very small, almost negligible, amounts. Consuming the seeds of hemp will not cause a high nor will it produce any euphoria. There is some immunoreactivity if consumed in substantially large doses.
Yes. Hemp does contain CBD. The quantity of CBD found in hemp depends entirely on the strain. Regular industrial hemp carries up to 4-6% CBD, while specially grown varieties of hemp can have up to 20-25% CBD. The specially grown varieties of hemp are commonly used for CBD oils.
There’s no difference between CBD found in hemp and CBD found in cannabis. They’re exactly the same compound no matter where you find it. The effects and benefits within your body are the same.
Before diving deeper into hemp and marijuana, let’s introduce the Cannabis family
Before we even begin with hemp and marijuana, it’s worth exploring the cannabis family.
Every variety of cannabis belongs to a small family of flowering plants known as Cannabacae, which includes approximately 170 species across 11 individual genus types (a taxonomic rank sitting between family and species). Cannabis (hemp + marijuana) is a genus of the Cannabacae family, as is Humulus (the hop plant used for beer) and Celtis (a type of tree or shrub native to many parts of the northern hemisphere).
There are three main species in the cannabis genus, two of which you’ve probably heard of before:
The three main species in the cannabis genus include cannabis Sativa, cannabis Indica, and cannabis Ruderalis.
Cannabis sativa (C. sativa)
Cannabis sativa (we’ll simply refer to it as “Sativa”) is most likely one of two subspecies you recognize most. Originated in central and eastern Asia, specifically the Mongolian and southern Siberian regions, but was later introduced to many parts of Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
Of the 750+ cannabis strains in existence, roughly 450+ are Sativa varieties, each with varying levels of CBD and THC. Hemp, a Sativa variety, carries low amounts of THC but high percentages of CBD. Marijuana varieties are the opposite, carrying more THC than CBD.
Cannabis indica (C. indica)
Cannabis indica (we’ll call it “Indica”) is the other subspecies you probably recognize already. First discovered and used widely across the Asian subcontinent, as well as in some parts of central Asia (Turkey, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan).
As mentioned, there are roughly 750+ cannabis strains. An estimated 500+ are Indica varieties, none of which are hemp, only marijuana with high percentages of THC.
Cannabis ruderalis (C. ruderalis)
Cannabis ruderalis (“Ruderalis”) is the lesser-known cannabis subspecies, which sucks because it’s actually quite impressive. Originally discovered in the southern Siberian region. Adapted to very harsh climates, able to “auto-flower” without day-night cycles, and grows insanely quickly, making it very useful to cannabis breeders.
As you can see, hemp and marijuana are very broad terms for varieties of cannabis and are often used incorrectly, so let’s take a look at both in more detail.
What is hemp?
Hemp (otherwise known as industrial hemp) is a term used frequently to describe a variety of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, as per the Agriculture Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018’s definition.
However, this wasn’t always the case. The THC content was never factored into its definition. Hemp was simply a form of non-psychotropic cannabis used for industrial purposes (clothing, rope, textiles, etc) due to its incredibly strong and fibrous composition.
Today? Hemp is used not only for industrial purposes but also for CBD products available to you on the market. These products are marketed for their therapeutic value and physiological benefits (though not explicitly stated due to laws surrounding cannabis advertising).
Hemp has a long and colorful history
Hemp can be traced back to roughly 8000 BCE (more than 10,000 years ago!). It was found in hemp cloth belonging to ancient Mesopotamia, a region we know now as Iran and Iraq. Archaeologists also discovered traces of it in certain parts of Asia, notably China and Taiwan. Hemp cultivation is thought to be the oldest established industry, beginning in the Chinese Sung Dynasty (500 AD).
However, the earliest written reference to cannabis use for medicinal use was back in 1500 BC in Ancient China.
The Chinese Emperor Fu Si, a mythical emperor who came to life as a half-serpent being, often referenced the word “Ma”, a Chinese word for cannabis. He stated cannabis to be a very popular medicinal remedy and provided users with a yin and yang balance.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is a term used by many to describe varieties of cannabis with over 0.3% THC. These varieties do cause intoxication or, rather, a whopping great “high” feeling, all thanks to the high THC content. Other terms for marijuana include weed, ganja, bud, green, pot, and grass.
Unlike hemp, marijuana varieties have never been used for industrial purposes.
There are 5 main differences between hemp and marijuana
- Physical characteristics
- Public perception
One of the biggest differences between hemp and weed is its chemical composition (mainly how much CBD and THC they carry).
Hemp typically carries anywhere between 10-20% CBD and below 0.3% THC, alongside other major and minor cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). Marijuana generally carries anywhere between 10-25% THC but has been known to go up to 33-35%. Certain marijuana strains are bred to contain more CBD. When this happens, the scales tilt, and the THC content decreases.
It’s also important to differentiate between hemp and CBD, and how they’re used. As mentioned previously, hemp’s uses surpass simply being a variety of cannabis. It’s an extremely fibrous and robust plant. Not only houses cannabinoids and other plant compounds but also for many industrial purposes such as textiles, clothing, rope, etc. The seeds of hemp (not the plant) can be used for oil (hempseed oil). Carries very little to no plant compounds. Only useful for cooking, skincare, or as a carrier oil for CBD products.
CBD, as an isolated cannabinoid (plant compound), is just one part of the hemp plant (albeit a reasonably large one). Used primarily for its physiological and therapeutic benefits such as anti-anxiety, anti-stress, anti-inflammation, and pain relief. CBD is also found in marijuana as well.
There are no plant compounds exclusive to either variety
CBD and other plant compounds in hemp and marijuana are not different from each other. The CBD you find in hemp is exactly the same as you would find in marijuana. There are also no “exclusive” plant compounds present in either variety. You’ll find (and experience) most, if not all plant compounds regardless of whether you consume hemp or marijuana.
Appearance & physical characteristics
Hemp and weed strains look very similar, simply because they’re both Sativas. Both plants are very tall – the giants of the cannabis world. Taller than any other subspecies or variety (up to six meters tall). Long, thin, and sparse. Not particularly dense.
However, there are differences between the two.
During the growth process, you’ll notice marijuana has a higher population of thick and sticky resin, which looks like a bed of small white crystals on the flower buds. This resin houses all the valuable plant compounds (CBD, THC, etc).
Hemp, on the other hand, doesn’t carry as much resin. Most of the beneficial plant compounds are in the plant’s leaves. In fact, the leaves carry an abundance of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
The legality of cannabis varieties is complex but put simply: hemp is considered federally legal, while marijuana is deemed federally illegal. Why? It’s all down to their THC content.
Both hemp and marijuana varieties carry THC, which is listed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, under the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill), hemp is perfectly legal provided it carries less than 0.3% THC. Any higher than this and it’s immediately classified as marijuana, making it federally illegal.
State law, on the other hand, varies.
U.S. State law for hemp and hemp-derived CBD products
- 44 states allow hemp-derived CBD in one form or another — six states don’t allow any hemp-derived CBD whatsoever
- Legality of hemp CBD products in 16 states (incl. D.C.) varies
U.S. State law for marijuana and marijuana-derived products
- 16 states (incl. D.C.) allow medicinal and recreational marijuana
- 35 states allow the use of medical cannabis in some form or another — 27 of these don’t allow recreational marijuana use and 7 only allow medicinal CBD oil
When comparing weed and hemp, this is the least talked about. Despite both belonging to the cannabis family, hemp and hemp-derived CBD products are far more accepted now than marijuana, though the tide is beginning to turn for the latter.
In my opinion, federal hemp legalization across the U.S. opened up the discussion surrounding cannabis benefits, both medicinally and therapeutically. This, in turn, has encouraged a more widespread cannabis-positive vibe, particularly when it comes to non-intoxicating plant compounds e.g. CBD, CBG, etc.
Even THC is slowly gaining some acceptance, though the issue of being “high” still exists. Many still believe THC consumption is for stoners without any knowledge of how beneficial it can be. Marijuana, therefore, remains somewhat marginalized, especially among straight-laced individuals stuck believing everything the war on drugs told them.
Difference between hemp oil, CBD oil, marijuana oil
Vape oil extracted from marijuana flower
|Hemp Oil||Hemp CBD Oil||Marijuana Oil|
|AKA hempseed oil||AKA CBD oil||AKA THC oil, cannabis oil, or hash oil|
|Made from hemp seeds||Made from stalks, leaves, flowers of hemp plants||Made from the leaves and flower of marijuana plants|
|0% THC||Less than 0.3% THC||More than 0.3% THC|
|0% CBD||Up to 90% CBD||1-20%+ CBD|
|Non-intoxicating||Non-intoxicating but psychoactive||Intoxicating, psychoactive|
|Used for cooking, skincare, and as a CBD oil carrier||Used for health benefits||Same as hemp CBD oil + specific conditions = appetite stimulation, insomnia, muscle spasticity|
Is hemp or cannabis better medicinally?
Whether hemp or cannabis is better medicinally is really up for debate, though we believe it depends entirely on the condition being treated.
Speaking with Weedmaps, Dr. Adie Rae, PhD who has treated patients with hemp-derived and marijuana-based treatments believes neither is superior to the other, though CBD-rich marijuana extracts are potentially better for specific conditions.
“I treat patients with both hemp and marijuana CBD products and I couldn’t say one is more effective than the other. I can concur that most of my patients find that having THC, even the 0.3% found in hemp-derived CBD products, more effective than products with 0% THC”, adding, “I do believe, however, that CBD-rich marijuana extracts offer greater therapeutic value than full-spectrum hemp CBD, as it pertains to specific medical conditions”.
We agree on pretty much every level here.
Both hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD products and marijuana-derived products, on the whole, are incredibly beneficial, simply because they carry a whole arsenal of plant compounds, including CBD, THC, minor cannabinoids (CBN, CBC, CBG), terpenes (linalool, limonene, etc), and flavonoids.
Is hemp, CBD or marijuana better for sleep, anxiety or pain?
Marijuana is generally considered better for pain than hemp-derived CBD, simply because the “high” associated with THC can mentally mask how you respond to pain — almost like not caring about it. That’s not to say CBD isn’t useful. It’s very useful, particularly when combined with THC.
Marijuana (especially high-THC marijuana) is less helpful for anxiety than CBD. Large amounts of THC can actually increase anxiety symptoms by over-stimulating brain regions responsible for fear and fear perception, typically via CB1 receptors. CBD can counteract this THC-related fear response by altering the shape and size of CB1 receptors, which prevents THC from properly binding.
There’s a common misconception that THC-rich marijuana consumption can result in better sleep. This isn’t strictly true. THC can cause drowsiness, sure, but it can also cause restlessness, racing thoughts, and energy (10mg+ doses), which isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep. We recommend a mixture of CBD and THC here (high-CBD marijuana). CBD is soothing and may reduce racing thoughts and restlessness.
These plant compounds work together in synergy to create what’s known as the entourage effect
The entourage effect is a still theorized phenomenon whereby all plant compounds work together in synergy to produce enhanced benefits within your body. Researchers believe there are two different types of entourage effect:
1. Intra-entourage = An interaction among cannabinoids or terpenes e.g. CBD + THC + CBG interaction or linalool + caryohphyllene + limonene interaction.
CBD reduces a THC high and its associated side-effects via blocking cannabinoid receptors (mainly CB1). In this case, high-CBD marijuana consumption may produce a more balanced and well-rounded high by preventing THC from fully binding to these receptors.
2. Inter-entourage = An interaction between cannabinoid and terpenes e.g. CBD + THC + linalool + pinene + caryophyllene
Hemp-derived or marijuana-derived CBD products may produce mood-stabilizing effects via interactions between terpenes (myrcene + limonene) by somehow interacting with CBD and THC.
There are many other examples of intra and inter-entourage effect benefits but most, if not all are still being researched as we speak.
We recommend experimenting with hemp and marijuana to find out which one suits you best.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hemp and marijuana benefits. We believe the best way to figure out which one suits you best is to experiment with both.
Because hemp-derived CBD products don’t cause a high, we advise starting here first. A full-spectrum product is preferred. Perhaps try a 500-750 mg oil and place two or three drops under your tongue morning and night. The high-CBD content, along with all the other beneficial plant compounds.
If hemp-derived CBD products aren’t working as well as you’d hoped and you live in a state with legalized adult-use marijuana, try a cannabis-derived product instead.
If you’re new to higher levels of THC, find a product with a balance of CBD and THC. Something like a 1:1 CBD:THC oil or a 2.5-5 mg THC gummy. This balance won’t cause a whopping great high and will no doubt give you some physiological and therapeutic benefits.
Recommended Hemp and Marijuana Flowers
Hemp and marijuana flower are arguably the “purest” cannabis products you can get on the market. You can either smoke or vape dried cannabis flower for best results but, remember, you’ll get completely different effects.
Hemp flower won’t cause you to feel intoxicated but may produce slight euphoria due to brain and central nervous system stimulation via CBD and other plant compounds working synergistically with THC. Marijuana flower, on the other hand, will cause intoxication due to higher percentages of THC blooding your brain’s cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors.
Hemp flower recommendations
Plain Jane Acid Rock Indoor
Plain Jane’s Acid Rock is one of our favorite hemp flower products currently on the market. A hybrid of River Rock and Suzy Q strains. Very high terpene count, notably pinene, giving it a very deep wood and wine smell. Very aromatic. Great when smoked. Carries 15-16% CBDA, along with small amounts of CBG, CBCB, and cannabidivarin (CBDV).
Good for: Relaxation, subtle mood-enhancement, pain, inflammation
Secret Nature CBD Secret OG
Secret Nature CBD’s Secret OG is special. VERY special. An Indica-dominant hybrid hemp flower with just over 17% total CBD content. Incredibly relaxing with some sedative qualities. Really good as a nighttime smoke or vape (either is perfectly fine). High caryophyllene content. Strong pepper and wood smell. Very pungent when smoked. Can be overwhelming. Best smoked outside, to be honest.
Good for: Sedation, relaxation, pain relief, sleep improvement
CBD American Shaman John Snow CBG Hemp Flower
One of the best CBG/CBD hemp flowers out there. A rare hybrid of Jack The Ripper + Philly Sour Diesel. Carries nearly 21% CBG with just over 0.1% THC. Very citrusy and sour flavor, and a diesel-like aroma. Definitely a daytime smoke to boost your mood, focus, and creativity.
Good for: Mood enhancement, focus, concentration, creativity, pain relief, inflammation
Marijuana flower recommendations
Marijuana flower isn’t readily available online for nationwide purchase. You have to live in a legalized state in order to purchase it, either from a dedicated web store or via a licensed dispensary. Below is a list of our favorite marijuana flower strains for you to look out for.
Zkittlez (otherwise known as Skittles or Island Zkittlez) is a lesser-known marijuana flower that packs quite a punch. An Indica-dominant blend of Grapefruit and Grape Ape cross-bred with an unknown mystery strain. Carries over 19% THC with very little CBD. Packs an almighty punch. Very strong euphoric body high with sedation. Not suited to beginners. Best-used for nighttime relaxation and sleep.
Good for: Sleep, relaxation, calm, pain relief
OG Kush is an obvious one. Quite possibly the most famous hybrid strain in existence. It’s a hybrid fusion of a northern Californian strain and a Dutch Hindu Kush strain. Incredibly skunky and pungent with spicy and woody notes when smoked or vaped. Very unique and well-rounded experience. Contains 18-19% THC. Not a particularly good choice for newbies but seasoned cannabis vets will surely get something out of this. A winning choice, for sure.
Good for: Mood-enhancement, relaxation, some anxiety and stress
Ringo’s Gift is one for the beginners. A mix of Harle-Tsu and ACDC, both high-CBD marijuana strains on their own. Incredibly balanced at 10-12% CBD and 7-8% THC (on average). Provides you with a really nice high without being too overwhelming. Contains an abundance of linalool, an aromatic terpene known for its spicy and floral aroma. We recommend this to any inexperienced cannabis user looking for a mild high.
Good for: Relaxation, mild euphoria, mild pain and inflammation
What Is Hemp? Understanding The Differences Between Hemp and Cannabis
When trying to wrap your head around the differences between hemp and cannabis, it is important to begin with this simple concept: Both hemp and cannabis ultimately come from the same plant… just different parts. Whether you call something hemp or cannabis will depend on a variety of factors which we will explore in this article. However, despite the fact that the terms hemp and cannabis are often used interchangeably, they do have separate connotations.
Differentiating Between Hemp and Cannabis
Unfortunately, prohibition has spurred a lack of education surrounding the cannabis plant. This has led to countless rumors about what makes hemp different from cannabis. Everything from “hemp plants are male and cannabis plants are female” to “cannabis is a drug and the other is not” are incorrectly being preached as common knowledge to unknowing bystanders. So, how are these terms supposed to be used? Let’s find out.
“Health Canada defines hemp as products of Cannabis Sativa which contain less than 0.3 percent THC, whereas US law defines hemp as all parts of any Cannabis Sativa plant containing no psychoactive properties, except for defined exceptions.”
According to a 1976 study published by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. Further, there are countless varieties that fall into further classifications within the species Cannabis Sativa.”
However, depending on how the plant is grown and utilized will determine which term is correct. For instance, the term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes). These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties.
Hemp, on the other hand, is used to describe a Cannabis Sativa plant that contains only trace amounts of THC. Hemp is a high-growing plant, typically bred for industrial uses such as oils and topical ointments, as well as fiber for clothing, construction, and much more.
Only products made from industrial hemp (less than 0.3% THC) are legal to sell, buy, consume, and ship. This single factor (0.3%) is how most people distinguish between what is classified as “hemp” and what is classified as “cannabis.” This limit has led to mass controversy (for good reason), which we will dive into a bit later. But first, let’s take a look at how hemp is utilized all over the world.
Industrial Hemp Uses
From hemp apparel and accessories to diets and hempseed oil cosmetics, the plant is seemingly found everywhere you look. Hemp can be made into wax, resin, rope, cloth paper and fuel, among many other things.
Hemp for Paper
One of the reasons hemp is so valuable is because of its fiber length and strength. These long bast fibers have been used to make paper almost for 2 millennia. Thomas Jefferson drafted both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution on hemp paper.
Until the early 19th century, hemp and flax were the two chief paper-making materials. In historical times, paper was processed from hemp rag. Using hemp directly for paper was considered too expensive, due to its lack of demand at the time. Wood-based paper came into use when mechanical and chemical pulping was developed in the mid 1800s in Germany and England. Today, at least 95% of paper is made from wood pulp. This makes little sense when considering hemp can easily produce much more paper per acre than wood pulp alternatives.
The hemp paper process also utilizes less energy and fewer chemicals than tree paper processing and doesn’t create the harmful dioxins, chloroform, or any of the other 2,000 chlorinated organic compounds that have been identified as byproducts of the wood paper process.
According to Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America, “the primary bast fibers in the bark are 5–40 mm long, and are amalgamated in fiber bundles which can be 1–5 m long (secondary bast fibers are about 2 mm long). The woody core fibers are short—about 0.55 mm—and like hardwood fibers are cemented together with considerable lignin. The core fibers are generally considered too short for high grade paper applications (a length of 3 mm is considered ideal), and too much lignin is present.”
Hemp for Food
Studies have shown consumption of raw hemp seeds can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, accelerate weight loss, improve one’s immune system, control blood sugar levels, and even reduce inflammation. This makes hemp seeds extremely nutritious. They contain a bundle of essential amino acids and fatty-acids. This may explain why the “hemp for food” industry is growing rapidly and has increased over 300 percent, to an estimated 25,000 products, in the past few years.
In its raw form, hemp has the second highest amount of protein of any food (soy being the highest). However, because the hemp seed’s protein more closely resembles the protein found in human blood, it is much easier to digest than soy protein. Hemp seeds can be eaten whole, pressed into oil, or ground into flour for baking.
In America, products derived from hemp seed, such as hemp seed spreads, hemp seed energy bars, hemp seed meal, and hemp oil – are widely available in natural food stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s supermarkets.
Hemp for Health & Body
Hemp seed oil is perfectly suited for hair and skin care. Its nutritional value, combined with its moisturizing and replenishing EFA’s, make it one of the best vegetable body care foundations. Hemp seed oil’s EFA complement includes polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, linoleic acid, and gamma linoleic acids (GLA’s). Although they are very effective in skin care maintenance, GLA’s are rarely found in natural oils. Hemp is an excellent source of GLA’s.
Additionally, oil derived from hemp seed has shown promise in treating eczema (chronic dry skin) in patients, although whole-plant cannabis oil has been proven to be more effective in treating more severe skin disorders, like skin cancer.
Hemp for Fuel
Hemp seeds have provided a combustible fuel oil throughout human history. Basically, hemp can provide two types of fuel:
1. Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
2. Hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk.
The concept of using oil derived from vegetables as an engine fuel is nothing new. In 1895, Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil — peanut oil to be exact. When you press the hemp seeds and extract the oil, you are actually creating hemp biodiesel. Additionally, through processes such as gasification, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol.
The Controversy of Classifying Hemp vs. Cannabis
The international definition of hemp (as opposed to cannabis) was developed by a Canadian researcher in 1971 who goes by the name of Ernest Small. Small’s arbitrary 0.3 percent THC limit has become standard around the world as the official limit for legal hemp, after he published a little-known, but very influential book titled The Species Problem in Cannabis.
“There is not any natural point at which the cannabinoid content can be used to distinguish strains of hemp and marijuana.” – Ernest Small
In this same book , Small discusses how “there is not any natural point at which the cannabinoid content can be used to distinguish strains of hemp and marijuana.” Despite this, Small continued to “draw an arbitrary line on the continuum of cannabis types, and decided that 0.3 percent THC in a sifted batch of cannabis flowers was the difference between hemp and marijuana.” As you can imagine, this has led to some controversy and confusion as to what truly constitutes the difference between hemp and cannabis.
Additionally, your location will determine your understanding of what constitutes hemp vs cannabis. For instance, Health Canada defines hemp as products of Cannabis Sativa which contain less than 0.3 percent THC, whereas U.S. law defines hemp as all parts of any Cannabis Sativa plant containing no psychoactive properties, except for defined exceptions.
A recent court case between Hemp Industries Association v. DEA concluded “the DEA can regulate foodstuffs containing natural THC if it is contained within marijuana, and can regulate synthetic THC of any kind. But they cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana—i.e., non-psychoactive hemp products— because non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I.”
Hemp Seed Oil vs. Hemp Extract vs. Cannabis Oil
Hemp seed oil is extracted by pressing the seeds of the female cannabis hemp plant. The hemp oil extracted is very nutritious in terms of a dietary supplement but hemp seed oil lacks cannabinoids, which are the main compounds found in the cannabis plant that have the ability to help battle cancer. Hemp seed oil is found mostly in products in your local grocery store and typically contains twice the levels of omega 3 found in olive oil with only half of the total calories.
There is a big difference between hemp seed oil and hemp/CBD extract. Hemp/CBD extract is the main ingredient in popular products like Charlotte’s Web and other CBD-specific brands. Products containing hemp/CBD extract do have a wide range of cannabinoids, just limited to no THC. Because the total THC content is below the legal limit, products consisting of hemp/CBD extract can be shipped nationwide, across all 50 states. These types of products can be beneficial for increasing the quality of one’s life; many patients report that they have found relief for a wide range of ailments from hemp extract alone. However, the lack of THC does provide an issue for patients that have a treatment plan that requires high doses of THC, so it will depend on your specific use-case.
Patients looking to treat more serious diseases and chronic illnesses will want to look into whole-plant cannabis oil treatments (i.e., Rick Simpson Oil). Products consisting of whole plant cannabis oil provide high doses of concentrated cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, etc…), terpenes, and other compounds from the plant that many patients and caregivers need to help find relief from a wide variety of ailments.
Click here to learn more about different types of cannabis extracts