To understand the relationship between CBD and hemp, we need to recognise once again that the word “hemp” can be applied to several distinct varieties of cannabis plants. Technically, cannabis bred to produce high-CBD flowers for medicinal use would be considered hemp if its THC levels fell below legal limits. Yet, these plants would resemble marijuana plants far more than they would industrial hemp.
Are Marijuana And Hemp The Same Plant?
So, are the first two hemp, and the third cannabis? Not quite. It’s more accurate to say that numbers one and two tend to be hemp, while number three tends to be cannabis.
If you count yourself among the confused, fear not—the time for clarity has arrived. We’re here to delve into the relationship between cannabis and hemp. But before we get our answers, we’ll need to ask some questions.
Industrial hemp plants can be grown close together, some varieties as close as 10cm, over their growth cycle of 108–120 days. Hemp tends to be grown in large, austere industrial plots. Marijuana, on the other hand, is a higher-maintenance plant that requires a more gentle touch. Marijuana tends to be grown in warm, carefully controlled environments where each plant gets at least a metre of space. The growth cycle of marijuana tends to be 45–90 days. Marijuana is sensitive in another crucial regard as well: if a marijuana plot is exposed to hemp pollen, the whole crop can be destroyed.
Another big difference between cannabis seeds and hemp seeds is cost. Since cannabis seeds are most often sold for purposes of growing cannabis plants, their seeds will typically cost you more than what you’d pay for hemp seeds at the grocery store. The rise of legal hemp and the CBD market has increased the value of hemp seeds a bit, but cannabis seeds will almost always cost considerably more.
Hemp seeds can be used for a variety of everyday purposes and have been for years. The seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant are highly nutritious and can be found on the shelves of your local health food store. These seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, granola, and any other kitchen concoction you can scheme up in their processed form.
Cannabis seeds, while again technically from the same plant as hemp seeds, are more often associated with the legal cannabis market for medicinal and recreational consumption. Anyone involved within the cannabis industry knows that the key to a high-quality cannabis product starts with the seeds used for production.
Recent developments regarding hemp and cannabis regulations have expanded hemp from grocery shelves to alternative health clinics and corner stores across the country and beyond. Hemp oil has various uses and benefits (which is why people use cbd lotion, take it as a tincture, and use it in cooking, to name a few), while being the fuel behind the recent boom in the CBD market.
Fueled by widespread acceptance and removal of regulations, the hemp and cannabis industries are growing rapidly across the globe. They may technically be the same plant from a scientific standpoint, but in lawmakers’ eyes, two classifications exist with their own set of rules and regulations. Understanding the difference between hemp and cannabis seeds is a critical step for anyone involved in these industries – from seed to sale.
The main distinction that separates hemp seeds from cannabis seeds sits in the amounts of certain compounds, called cannabinoids, present within them. The 2018 Farm Bill established a limit of 0.3 percent THC content for any Cannabis sativa plant to be classified as hemp in the US – seeds included. Some local jurisdictions on the state level (and other regions of the world) have their own definition of what distinguishes hemp from cannabis. Still, this 0.3% THC content threshold is quickly becoming an accepted standard.
These seeds are essential both to the businesses and farmers who grow the cannabis crops and the consumers who use the many different varieties of cannabis products currently available. And while there are numerous methods to growing and producing the plant itself, the entire industry relies on the ability to use viable cannabis seeds obtained from a reputable and reliable source.
Hemp seed oil is extracted by pressing the seeds of the female cannabis hemp plant. The hemp oil extracted is very nutritious in terms of a dietary supplement but hemp seed oil lacks cannabinoids, which are the main compounds found in the cannabis plant that have the ability to help battle cancer. Hemp seed oil is found mostly in products in your local grocery store and typically contains twice the levels of omega 3 found in olive oil with only half of the total calories.
One of the reasons hemp is so valuable is because of its fiber length and strength. These long bast fibers have been used to make paper almost for 2 millennia. Thomas Jefferson drafted both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution on hemp paper.
1. Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
2. Hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk.
The Controversy of Classifying Hemp vs. Cannabis
From hemp apparel and accessories to diets and hempseed oil cosmetics, the plant is seemingly found everywhere you look. Hemp can be made into wax, resin, rope, cloth paper and fuel, among many other things.
According to a 1976 study published by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. Further, there are countless varieties that fall into further classifications within the species Cannabis Sativa.”
However, depending on how the plant is grown and utilized will determine which term is correct. For instance, the term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes). These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties.
A recent court case between Hemp Industries Association v. DEA concluded “the DEA can regulate foodstuffs containing natural THC if it is contained within marijuana, and can regulate synthetic THC of any kind. But they cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana—i.e., non-psychoactive hemp products— because non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I.”