Are Hemp and Cannabis Products The Same?

Hemp is often thought of as a subspecies of Cannabis. But many people are confused as to the difference between the hemp and cannabis plant. Hemp and the modern day “drug-cultivar” Cannabis took two very different breeding pathways. Hemp plants actually belong to the cannabis sativa species and they are bred specifically for their primary compounds, like proteins and fibers. Whereas the “drug-cultivar” cannabis refers to any cannabis plant that has been bred for its secondary compounds, specifically an elevated THC concentration.

Because hemp plants have remained legal in the eyes of the government, they have been bred for their fibers and proteins not for elevated THC/CBD concentration. Because the cannabis “drug-cultivar” has remained illegal it took a different breeding pathway and was bred for elevated levels of THC/CBD concentration and subsequently developed a more diverse range of secondary compounds within its plant matrix. The more diverse the secondary compounds the more medically efficacious response. However, both the hemp and cannabis plant have measurable concentrations of CBD. And the CBD molecule, when extracted, is the same compound in both the hemp and cannabis plant.

The main legal distinction is that cannabis has more than 0.3% THC and hemp has less than 0.3% THC.  When looking to buy a CBD product it’s important to consider the source. Cannabis-derived CBD medicine is usually more efficacious due to the diverse range of secondary compounds that help to support the way that CBD interacts with your physiology. However, Cannabis is still illegal in many parts of the country and therefore access is limited.  So people turn to hemp-derived CBD products since hemp is federally legal and accessible in all 50 states. Hemp-derived CBD products can be effective, just make sure you research where these products are coming from and how they’re made.

Oftentimes business owners looking to capitalize on the growing CBD market will sell hempseed oil on amazon and lie about CBD potency. THIS IS SNAKE OIL. Please do not trust elixirs sold on Amazon. Additionally, hemp is often grown with pesticides and when the plant material is concentrated it can result in dangerously high levels of pesticides. If you live in a legal state buy hemp-derived CBD products from a dispensary - they are non- taxed and they have to abide by the testing rules set forth by the state. Therefore you can ensure that the medicine you are getting is safe and clean. If you don’t live in a legal state make sure you research the company you are sourcing from. Inquire about whether the product has been tested for both pesticides and potency. Hemp-derived CBD products can work, you just need to make sure the product is coming from a reputable source.