To understand the relationship between CBD and hemp, we need to recognise once again that the word “hemp” can be applied to several distinct varieties of cannabis plants. Technically, cannabis bred to produce high-CBD flowers for medicinal use would be considered hemp if its THC levels fell below legal limits. Yet, these plants would resemble marijuana plants far more than they would industrial hemp.
So, are the first two hemp, and the third cannabis? Not quite. It’s more accurate to say that numbers one and two tend to be hemp, while number three tends to be cannabis.
Are hemp plants just cannabis plants that happen to have less THC? Again, the reality is more complicated. Hemp plants, especially those grown for industrial purposes, tend to look, grow, and act differently than marijuana plants. Marijuana plants tend to be short and “stalky”, with lots of branches and a profusion of small leaves and heavy buds. Industrial hemp plants tend to be taller with skinny leaves, thick stems, and fewer branches.
WHERE DOES CBD COME IN?
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?
Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis sativa. To understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, we need to know a bit about the s ubtypes, or cultivars, of the cannabis plant. Cultivars are breeds of a plant species bred for different purposes. The three types of cannabis cultivars are:
If you count yourself among the confused, fear not—the time for clarity has arrived. We’re here to delve into the relationship between cannabis and hemp. But before we get our answers, we’ll need to ask some questions.
Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis. But, hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the Cannabis sativa species.
First and foremost: Hemp is not marijuana. Marijuana is not hemp. This is one of the most important facts to KNOW AND SHARE because people are unaware that they are different. Oftentimes people believe that hemp is the male plant of marijuana. This is false.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
For this reason, certain states have passed legislation for recreational and/or medical marijuana as well as the legal production of industrial hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill protects hemp production for research purposes and pilot scales within universities and State departments of agriculture. This is a federal bill.
Conversely, European growing conditions for CBD resemble fiber conditions and the crop is often dual harvested for fiber and CBD. This CBD is produced at lower concentrations in the tops of fiber varieties. This method creates a dual-purpose production system and resembles densely-packed hemp fiber production as opposed to bushy, flowering marijuana.
Just like a marijuana grower, a hemp farmer growing for high concentrations of CBD would want to remove the male plants from the field or facility before pollination. This allows for less seed and higher concentrations of phytocannabinoids in each plant. Under this growing condition, hemp grown for phytocannabinoids like CBD commonly resembles marijuana production patterns.
Hemp seeds can be used for a variety of everyday purposes and have been for years. The seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant are highly nutritious and can be found on the shelves of your local health food store. These seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, granola, and any other kitchen concoction you can scheme up in their processed form.
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.
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.
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.
The main distinction that separates hemp seeds from cannabis seeds sits in the amounts of certain compounds, called cannabinoids, present within them. The 2018 Farm Bill established a limit of 0.3 percent THC content for any Cannabis sativa plant to be classified as hemp in the US – seeds included. Some local jurisdictions on the state level (and other regions of the world) have their own definition of what distinguishes hemp from cannabis. Still, this 0.3% THC content threshold is quickly becoming an accepted standard.