What is hemp? Is hemp the same as marijuana? These are some of the questions we hear most frequently from the CBD Choice community. And understandably so! Between cannabis, marijuana, hemp, and the other multitudes of terms in the CBD world, it’s easy for new users to get lost in the weeds.
In this article, we’ll disambiguate hemp from its more infamous cousin, marijuana, and give you the details on everything you need to know about hemp, the plant from which CBD oils and other products derived.
From hemp’s origins and legal status to its relationship with “weed” to its impressive list of uses and applications, we’ll cover everything there is to know. So the next time someone asks, “what is hemp?”, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to set their questions to rest. So without further ado, let’s get into the thick of hemp, one of nature’s most interesting and versatile plants.
All About Hemp: The Most Common Questions We Hear
What is Hemp?
There are many varieties of the cannabis plant, but two gain the most notoriety and fame. Hemp, sometimes called industrial hemp, refers to the non-intoxicating varieties of Cannabis sativa. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and distinguished by their uses, chemical makeup, and cultivation. Although hemp is indigenous to eastern Asia, hemp cultivation is now widespread throughout the world. Hemp has both therapeutic and industrial applications, which have made hemp a mainstay cash-crop for centuries.
Most relevant to users at CBD Choice, hemp is the natural origin for all legal CBD products. Hemp produces a rich bouquet of naturally therapeutic compounds. These include cannabinoids (such as CBD), terpenes, flavonoids, and more. Whether taken together or after being isolated, many of these compounds have a variety of therapeutic applications. That’s brought hemp a great deal of attention, both in formal academic research and in the natural wellness community.
What Is Hemp’s Legal Status in the US?
Hemp cultivation and sale are now legal in the United States, though with heavy regulation. However, hemp’s legal status has shifted several times throughout US history, with significant ramifications for the hemp industry.
Despite centuries of industrial production, hemp was legally restricted in 1937 as part of the Marihuana Tax Act. Hemp was formally banned in 1970 as part of the Controlled Substances Act, which outlawed all forms of cannabis and ignored the significant differences between hemp and marijuana.
However, hemp was finally vindicated following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This legislation established a legal definition for hemp as being distinct from marijuana. What’s more, it once again established guidelines for legal hemp production: so long as hemp crops are tested to ensure THC levels of <0.3%, they are permitted for production and trade.
The 2018 Farm Bill effectively re-legalized hemp and the many products that are derived from it. The bill paved the way for the CBD industry, brought attention to hemp’s many therapeutic and industrial benefits, and finally corrected the longstanding and unjust prohibition on this versatile and harmless plant.
Does Hemp Get You High?
Unlike its more infamous cousin, marijuana, hemp will not get users high, regardless of the method by which it is ingested. This is because of the very different chemical makeup of the two plants.
Hemp and marijuana produce many of the same natural compounds, but in very different proportions. Both plants, for instance, produce some amount of the cannabinoids known as CBD and THC. However, hemp produces very large amounts of CBD and only trace amounts of THC; for marijuana, the opposite is true.
THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, and is responsible for the infamous “weed high”. Because hemp produces such small amounts of THC (less than 0.3% by dry weight), it is virtually impossible for hemp users to “get high” or feel any form of intoxicating effect from hemp or the CBD products derived from it.
For What is Hemp Used?
Hemp is an environmentally-friendly cash-crop with an impressive variety of uses. Hemp’s applications range from the industrial to the therapeutic, and ongoing research into the plant is regularly finding new uses for hemp.
In terms of industrial applications, hemp can be made into an impressive variety of useful goods. Hemp’s fibers can be weaved into strong and durable twine and rope, or made into paper, clothing, textiles, and a variety of important building materials. Hemp can even be processed into an environmentally-friendly biofuel that’s a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
But what is hemp’s most famous use? In the health and wellness community, there’s only one answer: the production of cannabidiol (CBD), the therapeutic cannabinoid with a variety of applications. Hemp is the richest natural source of CBD, and its legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill has created a burgeoning industry and fervent interest in its potential to better users’ lives.
Research into CBD’s applications is ongoing, but early findings and users’ anecdotal reports agree that CBD is a versatile compound with many therapeutic uses. These include:
- Pain management
- Improved mental health, including:
- Reducing anxiety
- Managing stress
- Improving sleep
- Reducing the frequency and severity of seizures and other symptoms of epilepsy
While these are the most famous of hemp’s many applications, it is far from an exhaustive list. Hemp is one of nature’s most versatile and useful crops, and new uses for it are still regularly being discovered.
Hemp 101: In Closing
Answering the question “what is hemp?” isn’t a simple or easy task. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and hemp’s story is a complex one. But we hope this article has helped answer your questions and made you a veritable expert on hemp’s origins, applications, and more.If you didn’t see your question here, worry not! Our knowledgeable customer support team is standing by to answer any questions you might have. So don’t hesitate to reach out; we’re always thrilled to hear from inquiring minds in the CBD Choice community, and we’d love to share answers to your questions in upcoming articles!