The Important Distinctions Between Hemp and Marijuana
Wednesday, April 04, 2018 | by Raymond Smith
Marijuana and hemp are both members of the cannabis family. Although they are both cannabis, they are not the same. Since CBD (cannabidiol) from hemp has many potential health benefits, it may be quite helpful to understand the differences.
The Differences Between Marijuana and Hemp
Cannabis may be one of the oldest of the domesticated crops and has been grown for more than 12,000 years. Cannabis is simply a species of plant. Some cannabis plants were bred to make foods, textiles and rope. These were hemp plants. Other cannabis plants were selectively bred for medical and religious purposes. These are believed to be the cannabis plants we know as marijuana. Hemp and marijuana have different uses and different purposes.
Different Look, Different Climate
Marijuana and hemp look nothing alike. Hemp is typically tall and looks somewhat like a weed. Hemp grows in a variety of climates, with a growth cycle of 108-120 days. Hemp plants do not flower at any stage in the life cycle of the plant and are typically viewed as male.
Marijuana looks like a short, thick bush. Marijuana requires a warm, humid atmosphere and grows in 60-90 days. Interestingly, if hemp is located too close to marijuana, the hemp pollen will ruin the marijuana crop by diluting its psychoactive properties.
Hemp Has No Psychogenic Properties
The main difference between the two cannabis plants is the chemical composition. Marijuana contains anywhere from 5-20 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The maximum level of THC that could possibly be contained in a hemp plant is 0.3 percent. That trace amount of THC makes it impossible to get any of the psychoactive effects that marijuana is well-known for. Hemp is also very high in CBD (cannabidiol). Cannabidiol is the antagonist to THC. That means that CBD neutralizes even those trace amounts of THC. There is no way to get any form of intoxicating effect from CBD.
How the Confusion Started
The popularity of hemp declined in the 1930s when hemp was grouped with marijuana in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Then President Nixon signed the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. This new law established a set of banned drugs and created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This is when the government unintentionally outlawed growing domesticated hemp. This happened because marijuana was grouped with all types of cannabis, even though hemp had none of the chemicals (THC) that make marijuana a drug. During this time, it was legal to import hemp products, just not to grow hemp.
In 2013 Colorado legalized industrial hemp farming and cultivation. With the US Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014), it became legal to grow hemp for research and pilot programs. Today, it is once again legal to grow industrial hemp in 33 states.
The Benefits of CBD from Hemp
Now you know that CBD from hemp will not result in any type of intoxication, you will be pleased to know that CBD offers a lot of benefits for your health and well-being. Recently, CBD has been found to have analgesic, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties and has gained a lot of support as a medical or dietary supplement.
Preliminary research shows that CBD oil has a lot of potential for the treatment of many common disorders. Those disorders include:
- Arthritis and chronic pain
- Alzheimer's disease
- Anxiety, depression and psychosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
Effective CBD Products
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