Both Hemp and marijuana belong to the cannabis genus and are species of cannabis. However, over time, the need to differentiate between cannabis varieties has led us to a distinction between Hemp and marijuana.
In people’s minds, marijuana is often associated with a feeling of ‘high,’ thanks to the plant’s high concentration of THC, the psychotropic and hallucinogenic cannabinoid.
On the other hand, Hemp is a cannabis variety that contains high volumes of CBD, a non-psychotropic cannabinoid that has many potential benefits.
By using different terms for the two varieties, people, the law, and society make a distinction that lets us better understand what we are consuming.
A Short History of Cannabis
Cannabis has been with us for thousands of years. Throughout history, governments have been wavering regarding the legality of cannabis. With selective breeding, there came a clear distinction between CBD-rich strains that can’t cause a sense of ‘high’ and THC-rich strains that can. And that is how the terms Hemp and marijuana came to be.
Cannabis Has Been Around for Thousands of Years
Cannabis has been around for at least 9,000 years. People understood early on its health potential but also its capacity for producing fibers, ropes, textiles, and other necessary materials.
Cannabis is a versatile plant that grows under many conditions. This is why we have found evidence of cannabis cultivation and consumption in countries as diverse as Japan, China, Egypt, Greece, and India. As people started moving around, they took cannabis with them, reaching new lands and letting cannabis cultivation grow throughout the world.
Multiple Uses for Cannabis
Most ancient people grew cannabis for its fiber, using it for textiles, materials, rope, etc. All these uses were essential for cultures that traveled by sea (Hemp was traditionally used for sails, including those of the Mayflower), to carry produce in sacks, and to make clothes.
Bearing in mind that cotton is not as adjustable as cannabis, it is no wonder that cannabis became an essential crop. George Washington cultivated Hemp and by the 17th century Hemp had become a mandated crop: farmers had to grow it when Jamestown was established in 1607. Similar growing requirements were initiated in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Many also understood the health potential of cannabis and utilized it to help stay healthy.
Selective Breeding of Cannabis Varieties
Fibers are made from the stalk of the plant. The higher the stalk, the longer the fiber that can be obtained. Therefore, those who wanted cannabis for its fibers chose to grow varieties that were tall and lean.
On the other hand, people who were more interested in the botanical benefits of cannabis preferred to focus on the leaves and flowers of the plant. They grew short and bushy varieties with many flowering buds.
Through these preferences, different varieties emerged as a result of selective breeding. Nature had already endowed cannabis with more than 170 plant species. It was easy enough to cross-breed varieties with long stalks to produce a variety with high-quality fibers. Just as easily, people were able to create varieties with more flowers.
This selective breeding gradually gave rise to two types of species: what we call Industrial Hemp and what we call marijuana. However, they have common genetics and both come from the same cannabis plant.
What Is the Difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Hemp vs. Marijuana: It’s All in the THC Content
The main difference between Hemp and marijuana is their THC content:
- Industrial Hemp has been selectively bred to contain very little THC in its leaves, stalks, and flowers.
- Marijuana is cannabis that contains higher levels of THC. This can vary between 5% and 30%, depending on the strain.
Hemp vs. Marijuana: Small Physical Differences
Marijuana plants are shorter, with more leaves and flowers, while Hemp plants are taller. However, there are few differences in the shape of the plant and both plants look quite similar to the untrained eye.
Hemp vs. Marijuana: Growing Conditions
Hemp is usually grown outdoors. States like Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, and South Dakota have encouraged the cultivation of Hemp.
Marijuana growers sometimes prefer to grow their produce indoors and under controlled conditions to maximize the production of flowers.
Hemp vs. Marijuana: Both Are Female Plants
In both cases, growers favor female plants over male ones. If there is a male plant amongst their plot, Hemp and marijuana growers will uproot it.
This is because Hemp growers and marijuana growers are not interested in cannabis seeds. They want the flowers, leaves, and stalks. If the cannabis plants are left to get pollinated, they will make seeds for future propagation. Instead, growers opt to eliminate male pollinators to make sure the flowers are left intact and non-pollinated.
Does the Law Distinguish between Industrial Hemp and Marijuana?
The law makes a clear distinction between Industrial Hemp and marijuana cultivation.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, Industrial Hemp can be grown throughout the United States, under the supervision of state Agricultural Departments and with the provision of a license.
Marijuana cultivation remains illegal at the federal level. States that have legalized the use of marijuana have made provisions for the commercial and personal cultivation of marijuana.
What about CBD?
For CBD to be legal, it must be produced exclusively from Industrial Hemp and contain less than 0.3% of THC (by dry weight).
CBD produced from marijuana varieties is illegal, even if the excess THC has been eliminated to reach the 0.3% threshold.
What Is Hemp Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, and Cannabis Oil?
- Hemp Oil is produced from Industrial Hemp. Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil contains CBD as well as other cannabinoids but less than 0.3% of THC. It is also packed with flavonoids, terpenes, vitamins, minerals, and more. If you want to get the full benefits of CBD without the ‘high’ associated with THC, you need to look for Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil.
- Hemp seed oil is produced from the seeds of Industrial Hemp. Hemp seed oil contains helpful moisturizing properties as well as beneficial omega-3s and omega-6s and is tasty and nutritious. However, it contains no CBD or other cannabinoids. If you want something to add healthy oil to your salad you should buy hemp seed oil.
- Cannabis oil is produced from cannabis plants that may contain more than 0.3% THC, depending on the strain. If you live in a state that has legalized marijuana consumption, you can buy cannabis oil.
Synchronicity Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
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