Cannabis: Hemp vs Marijuana

But Isn’t Cannabis Marijuana And Can Get You High?

Good question. This question is asked all the time and it is because there is a lot of confusion surrounding the CBD industry right now. Yes, CBD is derived from cannabis, which is the same plant that contains the psychoactive ingredient THC. As Google dictionary notes, the word psychoactive means, “Affecting the mind”. So if cannabis contains both THC and CBD then it will get you high? Well not exactly. See there are two classifications of cannabis; Cannabis with high THC, low CBD concentrations commonly known as Marijuana and then there is cannabis with high CBD, low THC concentrations commonly known as Hemp. CBD is derived from hemp. Yes, there is still THC in the hemp plant, but in such small concentrations that CBD oil is non-psychoactive. We will further explain this a little bit later. But let’s take a step back for a second and explore cannabis a bit further.

Three Primary Species Of Cannabis

There are three primary species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

Cannabis sativa has been cultivated in the United States since it was first introduced back in 1606. C. Sativa has been cultivated throughout history, used as a source of seed oil, food, industrial fiber, paper, and medicine. C. sativa is high in CBD and low in THC. It is most commonly referred to as hemp. It is the tallest plant out of the three and is perfectly suited for industrial hemp production. The Declaration of Independence was even written on hemp paper. Abraham Lincoln used hemp seed oil to light his household lamps. Recorded medicinal uses go back all the way to the Ancient Egyptians in 2,000 BC.

Cannabis indica contains more THC and lower CBD content than C. sativa. This strain of plant is more commonly referred to as marijuana. C. Indica plants are normally found to contain 18% to 28% THC concentrations.

Cannabis ruderalis is native to Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. Not common in the United States but can be found sporadically throughout the midwestern states and Canada. C. ruderalis strains are high in CBD and low in THC. However, C. ruderalis is the smallest plant in stature and so is not suitable for use in hemp production.

Hemp vs Marijuana

The United States Government defines hemp as a cannabis plant containing no more than 0.3 percent of THC. There has been a major love hate relationship with hemp and the government going back all the way to the 1500s. King Henry VIII, when he wasn’t chopping off heads, would fine any farmer who did not raise hemp in their fields. In 1619, King James I decreed that the American Colonist at Jamestown would step up their efforts to help England and to do so they sent 10o hemp plants to aid in Englands cause. The America’s first colonist, in the 1700s, were required by law to grow hemp. Things started to change though in the 1900s with the gradual criminalization of cannabis. See our blog post about “The History of Cannabis in the United States” (Coming Soon) to find out more. But for now we will fast forward to 1970 with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act. It was here that cannabis, no mater if it was a hemp strain or marijuana strain, was assigned a Schedule 1 classification under the CSA. Severe restrictions on the cultivation of hemp were put into place. The United States government failing to see a distinction between hemp and marijuana would continue for decades and the public perception of hemp being undistinguishable from marijuana would continue as well. It was not until 2018 with the passage of the Farm Bill that hemp was officially legalized again in the United States. Within the Farm Bill, S.227 – Hemp Farming Act of 2018 states “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. And any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis” So that means any cannabis plant with THC above 0.3 percent on a dry basis would be considered marijuana and anything below would be considered hemp.

Full Spectrum Hemp Oil

The oil extracted from the hemp plant undergoes a number of processing steps. First there is the extraction step. Now this step extracts everything from the hemp plant including the cannabinoids, terpenes, chlorophyll, fats, waxes, and lipids. To remove everything but the cannabinoids and the terpenes (see our post about terpenes), the oil must be further refined. Through refinement and filtration, the final product is what you see in our bottle, Full Spectrum Hemp Oil. Now Full Spectrum oil does contain THC. However, it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. It is non psychoactive. In fact it contains over 25 percent of CBD and small amounts of other beneficial cannabinoids. All these cannabinoids, including the naturally occurring terpenes, work together in your body to produce the benefits that hopefully you have been seeing by using CBD oil. Thank you for reading our blog and we hope that we shed a small amount of light on this topic: Hemp vs Marijuana. Stop by our shop and browse around. Contact us at if you have any further questions about this topic. We love educating people about Cannabis!

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