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Hemp vs. Weed


Did you know that there are significant differences between hemp vs. weed? While both plants are of the cannabis species, their names are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably. The truth is that hemp vs. marijuana, when compared, have different biological compositions and uses. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two closely related members of the cannabis family.

Plant Appearance

While sharing superficial characteristics, looking at hemp vs. weed shows some immediate physical differences in the ideal plants. Marijuana plants are short and bushy, and they produce dense flowering buds thick with small hair-like trichomes. Hemp, on the other hand, grows skinnier and taller, and its thinner leaves are mainly located at the top of the plant. Hemp is grown primarily for its seeds, leaves and stalks-the fibrous and oil rich areas of the plant—whereas the marijuana plant is grown for its buds, where the psychoactive compound THC is most abundant.

A green hemp flower

Hemp vs. Weed: Biological Differences

Although both hemp and marijuana plants contain some of the same cannabinoids, their biological structures aren’t the same. The main differentiating factor is the amount of THC each plant contains. THC is the cannabinoid that causes psychoactive effects. THC activates your body’s CB1 endocannabinoid receptors. Through a series of complex reactions, this creates a strong sense of euphoria, dissociation, and a general “high” feeling.

In order for cannabis to be classified as a hemp plant, it must contain less than 0.3% THC. Conversely, marijuana typically contains between 15% and 40% THC. In other words, when looking at the primary psychoactive compound’s concentration of hemp vs. marijuana, the latter can have over a hundred times the concentration.

Hemp vs. Weed: CBD Content

Both hemp and marijuana contain CBD and can be used to make CBD products. However, CBD derived from the marijuana plant may also contain significant amounts of THC as well. Hemp-derived CBD contains either no THC, or such a negligible amount that it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects.

If you’re interested in the hemp plant for its CBD content, it’s important that you seek out concentrated CBD products that are made specifically for therapeutic or medical use. Standard hemp oil only contains small amounts of CBD (around 3.5%), while concentrated CBD oil can contain as much as 20%. To ease dosage and evaluation of products, CBD concentration is often expressed in milligrams per milliliter. Some people believe that hemp-derived CBD is weaker. This is not the case. An equal milligram dosage of each delivers equal results from the CBD, but hemp-derived CBD removes the risk of unwanted THC.

A display of green hemp leaves

Hemp vs. Weed: Legal Status

The 2018 Farm Bill, passed in December of 2018, contained language recognizing industrial hemp as a separate plant from marijuana, legalizing it at the federal level. The status of hemp vs. marijuana stands in sharp contrast as marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance. While state laws can affect both, this leaves hemp-derived CBD much more legally available than THC-containing marijuana.

When checking your state laws, you’ll want to pay special attention to the terminology used. If a law allows the use of industrial hemp, then any CBD product containing 0.3% THC or less will fall within their guidelines. Some states, however, have laws that specify THC itself is an illegal substance. You will want to make sure, in these states, that you only use or possess CBD that contains 0% THC. Reputable suppliers will have certificates of analysis available from third-party labs that verify both your product’s potency of CBD and lack of THC.

Keeping Compliant

To ensure you stay within the law, you’ll want to make sure you are getting CBD from a source you can trust. With the explosion of the industry onto the scene, the public is being inundated with substandard products from manufacturers and suppliers who often have profit rather than the customer’s best interests at heart. Their products come with wild claims that aren’t supported by the differences between hemp vs. weed. Worse, without appropriate care and oversight, you could, in fact, end up with a product contaminated by THC which would not be legal.

Always look for products that are provably within the federal guideline of 0.3% THC by dry weight or less. Not only should these values be clearly labeled on the container, but certificates of analysis should be available on request, so you know you’re getting a high-quality product. In many cases, this level of scrutiny is not one that your local convenience store can stand up to. It’s your body, your wellness, and your legal record on the line, so make sure you know what you’re getting.

Order Quality CBD Products Online

Here at CBD Choice, we carry a large variety of the best CBD products made by highly respected companies such as CBDfx, CBDistillery, Green Roads, and many others. Potential psychoactive effects are one of the main considerations when comparing hemp vs weed, so we only carry premium CBD products that are 100% THC-free.

Call Us to Learn More

If you have any questions about hemp-derived CBD, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts. Call us anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST, and we’ll help you with anything, from understanding your local CBD laws to selecting the right products for your personal needs. Save on the best CBD products online at CBD Choice.

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