CBD oil is extracted from hemp leaves and flowers. More and more people are experimenting with CBD oil extracted from hemp plants as a wellness supplement, hence the ever-growing popularity of CBD-focused cultivation.
Hemp fibers can be used to make items including paper, clothing, textiles, rope — even building materials. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What is hemp used for?
The 2014 Agricultural Act, more commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, includes section 7606, which allows for universities and state departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp, as long as it is cultivated and used for research. Under the 2014 Agricultural act, state departments and universities must also be registered with their state, and defer to state laws and regulations for approval to grow hemp.
The Hemp Farming Act now requires state departments of agriculture to consult with their governors and chief law enforcement officers on a regulatory program, which will then be submitted to the US Secretary of Agriculture for approval. According to Section 297B of the bill, state hemp regulatory programs must include a system to maintain information on all land where cultivation takes place, procedures for testing THC levels in hemp, and procedures for disposing of products that violate THC content restrictions.
Exactly how and when hemp originated in the New World is still highly debated. Though long thought to be introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus, hemp has been discovered in Native American civilizations that predate Columbus’ arrival. William Henry Holmes’ “Prehistoric Textile Art of Eastern United States” report from 1896 notes hemp from Native American tribes of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley.
Recent developments regarding hemp and cannabis regulations have expanded hemp from grocery shelves to alternative health clinics and corner stores across the country and beyond. Hemp oil has various uses and benefits (which is why people use cbd lotion, take it as a tincture, and use it in cooking, to name a few), while being the fuel behind the recent boom in the CBD market.
Fueled by widespread acceptance and removal of regulations, the hemp and cannabis industries are growing rapidly across the globe. They may technically be the same plant from a scientific standpoint, but in lawmakers’ eyes, two classifications exist with their own set of rules and regulations. Understanding the difference between hemp and cannabis seeds is a critical step for anyone involved in these industries – from seed to sale.
These seeds are essential both to the businesses and farmers who grow the cannabis crops and the consumers who use the many different varieties of cannabis products currently available. And while there are numerous methods to growing and producing the plant itself, the entire industry relies on the ability to use viable cannabis seeds obtained from a reputable and reliable source.
Cannabis seeds, while again technically from the same plant as hemp seeds, are more often associated with the legal cannabis market for medicinal and recreational consumption. Anyone involved within the cannabis industry knows that the key to a high-quality cannabis product starts with the seeds used for production.
Another big difference between cannabis seeds and hemp seeds is cost. Since cannabis seeds are most often sold for purposes of growing cannabis plants, their seeds will typically cost you more than what you’d pay for hemp seeds at the grocery store. The rise of legal hemp and the CBD market has increased the value of hemp seeds a bit, but cannabis seeds will almost always cost considerably more.
Hemp and marijuana—what’s the relationship between the two? For decades, cannabis aficionados have been baffled by the question. Does it have to do with plant sex, THC content, or some other arcane factor?
So where do we draw the line? How can we know for sure whether we’re looking at hemp, or at cannabis?
ARE MARIJUANA AND HEMP THE SAME PLANT?
These days, some industrial hemp producers are extracting CBD from leftover material and marketing it as “CBD oil”. These products are generally considered to be of lower quality—with reduced concentrations, and higher risk of contamination—than CBD oil harvested from plants specifically grown for medicinal use.
Hemp and cannabis are legally defined by the concentration of THC present in the plant. In the US and Canada, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with THC levels of under 0.3%. In the EU, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with under 0.2% THC. Many European companies aren’t thrilled about this difference; in fact, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has called for these rates to be standardised to ensure fair competition.