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October 8, 2020

What's the Difference Between Marijuana CBD and Hemp CBD?

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CBDfx Team

What's the Difference Between Marijuana CBD and Hemp CBD_

Do you know the difference between marijuana CBD and hemp CBD? 

Many don’t.

So, it should come as no surprise that most consumers are still unclear what the difference is between marijuana CBD and hemp CBD.

Hemp and marijuana are understandably lumped together. For years, words like CBD, hemp, and marijuana have been associated together.

But while there are some similarities between marijuana and hemp, there are a few fundamental differences that set hemp apart from other cannabis plants.

Hemp and marijuana differ on key things like cannabinoid profile, history, legal status, and their effect on the body and mind. 

Here’s the big difference between marijuana CBD and hemp CBD. 

What Do Hemp and Marijuana Have in Common?

First, we’ll start with the similarities. Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. Both hemp and marijuana are types of cannabis plants. This means that they’re grown under similar conditions, and the two crops can look very similar.

Both hemp and marijuana contain cannabinol, which is widely known by its acronym CBD. This compound is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that many use for its therapeutic benefits.

However, although hemp and marijuana look similar and both contain CBD, the difference between the two strains becomes clear when you look at the CBD concentration in each.

Deriving CBD from Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are usually distinguished by their CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Another big difference is also in their mix of cannabinoids and terpenes.

The major contrast between the two is that hemp plants contain high concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC, while many marijuana plants have low concentrations of CBD and high concentrations of THC.

Scientifically speaking, hemp plants contain no more than 0.3% THC, while cannabis plants may contain upwards of 30% THC.

How effectively you can extract CBD from a plant depends largely on the concentration of the compound at the source. Because hemp typically has a higher concentration of CBD, the CBD yields from hemp plants are generally higher than marijuana plants.

Partly because of these percentages, commercial CBD products are almost entirely derived from hemp plants.

However, there are many marijuana varieties that can produce higher yields of CBD.

CBD product producers lean toward hemp because it has a high concentration of CBD and a beneficial combination of cannabinoids. Using a marijuana plant for CBD extraction can end up requiring more work, or it may also result in a less appealing mix of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Legal Status of Marijuana

Historically, hemp created everyday products such as clothing, rope, paper, housing material, and even food. Today, hemp continues to be a versatile material because it’s naturally strong and durable.

In the United States, hemp was once a common crop on most farms. Even Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, grew hemp on his land to use for making clothing. 

However, the enduring confusion around the difference between hemp and marijuana has meant the two strains have been entangled together for decades. Hemp was associated with marijuana starting with The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. This Tax Act lumped the status of hemp with the status of marijuana. 

This legislation paved the way for future restrictions on the hemp plant.

In 1970, the Controlled Substance Act effectively tried to erase the difference between hemp and its cannabis cousin. Both cannabis strains fell under a Schedule I drug category, which made them classified as illegal substances. 

Understanding Marijuana Today

Currently, marijuana-derived CBD is not federally legal. On the national level, marijuana and marijuana-derived CBD remain controlled substances under the Controlled Substance Act. Although many American states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, it is still federally illegal.

Thankfully, this is not the story for hemp. After years of consideration and research, lawmakers passed the Farm Bill of 2018, legalizing hemp and all its derivatives.

CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is now legal across all 50 states (with some local or state exceptions).

Molecular Structure of the Two Strains

To really get into the differences between marijuana and hemp, we need to go beyond appearances and politics and dive deeper into the science.

THC is the compound in cannabis that creates the feeling that most people associate with marijuana. THC has psychoactive properties, which create the characteristic “high” many experiences using the plant.

On the other hand, hemp-derived CBD products don’t lead consumers to feel the same “high”. 

The legal form of CBD extract in a product is up to 100% CBD, terpenes, and cannabinoids. With nearly untraceable amounts of THC, hemp plants are less likely to result in the same feelings of intoxication, and they are also unlikely to result in a false positive on a drug test.

The hemp plant naturally produces over 100 different types of cannabinoids, each of which has a certain unique effect for a consumer.

How CBD Oil Works

CBD works naturally with our endocannabinoid system, a signaling network. This is a complex system in our bodies that plays a vital role in our most important functions, such as regulating sleep, pain, mood, and more. 

The endocannabinoid system sends signals to the body through the interaction of different receptors. The cannabinoids from CBD products interact with this system and specific receptors related to the central nervous system (CB1) and the peripheral nervous system (CB2). These interactions provide therapeutic relief for many different health concerns.

CBD naturally interacts with the endocannabinoid system without eliciting any feelings of intoxication. This is why many people turn to hemp-derived CBD.

Now that you know the difference between marijuana CBD and hemp CBD, find the best CBD product for you!

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