What’s The Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana?
Over the past decade, researchers have done a great deal to dispel the myth that the term hemp is interchangeable with marijuana. It seems their efforts have proved ineffective, considering that many people still believe hemp is an illicit drug that can get you high.
Although hemp is a distant cousin of the marijuana plant, both plants have distinct molecular structure, different compositions, and nearly opposite effects when they’re ingested.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp is a broad term for any cannabis plant that has a high concentration of cannabinoids and very low THC content, which is the ingredient known for its psychoactive and potentially addictive properties. By legal definition, industrially certified hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC content in the United States, making it legal for sale and general consumer use.
On the other hand, marijuana is a term that refers to cannabis plants that contain strictly more than 0.3 percent THC content. However, marijuana is actually a slang term that people use for any variety of cannabis plants, usually without making a distinction towards low THC cannabis plants.
Typically, marijuana contains less than 10 percent CBD, whereas hemp’s more frequent chemical compound is CBD. Marijuana and hemp are also made more distinct from each other by their cultivation processes. Farmers will cut hemp plants while they are still young to prevent the strain from going above the legal THC limit; however, this has the unintended consequence of depriving the resulting CBD treatment from useful anti-inflammatory properties or additional strength.
Conversely, marijuana is grown to maximize THC, resulting in abundant crops rich in terpenes, flavonoids, and other health enhancing compounds.
What Are The Distinct Effects Of Hemp And Marijuana?
Despite their technical differences, hemp and marijuana also cause distinct sets of sensations in the user.
When ingested properly, both hemp and marijuana can bind to networks of receptors all over the body classed as a part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS receives chemical signals from the brain, immune system, gut, and spinal cord to regulate many different functions of health.
Marijuana binds to the ECS primarily in the brain, promoting great disturbances in the user’s normal cognition, memory, mood, appetite, and anxiety. CBD from hemp, on the other hand, binds to receptors in the body to decrease the harm from inflammation, stress oxidation, and poor digestion.
In short, hemp has more of a chronic pain and anti-anxiety effect, whereas marijuana may cause profound changes in thought and a “high” sensation. Both hemp and marijuana can be used as health and wellness supplements, yet many consider the CBD derived from hemp to be a longer term solution.