CBD is becoming more popular each day as the word spreads about the many potential benefits of this cannabinoid. Now that more people are trying CBD, we’ve noticed that many people, especially first-time users, have the same question about it: what’s the difference between hemp CBD and the CBD from marijuana plants? Well, the cannabinoid CBD itself is actually the same no matter where it’s sourced from. CBD always has the same chemical composition, whether it was extracted from a hemp plant or a marijuana plant. However, CBD products can be very different depending on the source. That’s because CBD products generally contain other compounds found in the plants they were sourced from. And hemp plants and marijuana plants have different compositions, giving them distinctly different properties.
So, what exactly are the differences between hemp plants and marijuana plants? How does this affect CBD products and how do you decide between hemp and marijuana CBD products? We’ll answer these questions below as we go over everything you need to know about hemp-derived CBD vs. marijuana-derived CBD.
The Similarities and Differences Between Hemp Plants and Marijuana Plants
To help you better understand the difference between hemp-derived CBD products and marijuana-derived CBD products, let’s first go over the similarities and differences between the plants themselves.
How Hemp and Marijuana are Similar
Note that while hemp and marijuana plants are different in many ways, they are not different plants or even different species. Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants. There are three species of cannabis plants: Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. Contrary to what many people may assume, hemp plants are not their own species of cannabis plant– hemp plants are actually Sativas. Then, marijuana plants can be Sativas, Indicas, or Ruderalis.
So if hemp plants aren’t a different species of cannabis, why do they have a different name? Essentially, it’s because hemp plants are so different in composition to marijuana plants that they get their own categorization.
The Many Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana Plants
A defining difference between hemp plants and marijuana plants is THC content. For a cannabis plant to be legally defined as a hemp plant, it has to have only 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less.
Federal and State Legality
Speaking of legality, that’s another major difference between hemp and marijuana plants. Thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is federally legal. Marijuana, on the other hand, is still illegal on a federal level. Marijuana, legally defined as cannabis that has 0.3% THC or more, is classified by the DEA as a Schedule 1 drug with no accepted medical use. That includes CBD products that are sourced from marijuana plants, even if that CBD product ends up having 0% THC.
Those are the federal laws on hemp and marijuana plants, but then each state has its own laws regarding hemp and marijuana plants. Many states have legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana, so CBD products derived from marijuana can be legal in some states, even though marijuana isn’t legal federally. Then, on the other side of the coin, hemp plants and products are legal federally, but all types of hemp and hemp products are not legal in all states. Some states have more strict state-wide laws on hemp plants (and the hemp products that come from them).
Marijuana plants typically have a much higher CBD content than hemp plants because they have much more resin than hemp plants. Resin, the sticky substance that’s found on female cannabis flowers and leaves, is what contains CBD. Since hemp plants typically have less resin, and therefore less CBD, you need a large amount of hemp to produce CBD oil and other CBD products. There are some exceptions to this rule since there are now some new CBD-rich hemp strains being produced. But, generally, most of the industrial hemp grown today is still much lower in CBD than marijuana.
In addition to generally having a higher CBD content than hemp, marijuana also tends to have a higher concentration of terpenes and other cannabinoids, as well as an overall wider terpene and cannabinoid profile. Hemp plants do have various terpenes and cannabinoids, but they’re not as abundant or as variant as the cannabinoids and terpenes typically found in marijuana plants.
A very important difference between marijuana and hemp is how they are used. Hemp plants are used to create many types of products. Hemp plants have been used for decades to create clothes, textiles, foods, and more. And since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now often used to create CBD products. Marijuana, on the other hand, is generally only used to create marijuana products that are meant to be consumed for medical benefits or enjoyment.
Marijuana plants and hemp plants look quite different. Marijuana plants usually look bushy, with large and full foliage. Hemp plants tend to look more like bamboo, as they’re usually tall and slim with little foliage.
Marijuana plants and hemp plants are typically grown under very different conditions. Hemp plants are usually grown outdoors since the main goal of most industrial hemp farmers is to maximize the size and yields of their plants. When farmers grow hemp plants outdoors, they don’t give them much special attention, since hemp thrives in many different climates and conditions. On the other hand, marijuana plants are usually grown in extraordinarily carefully managed conditions. Cannabis cultivators pay rigorous attention to the lighting, humidity, and temperature their plants need to produce the valuable flower that marijuana is known for.
What to Consider When Choosing Between Hemp-Derived CBD and Marijuana-Derived CBD
Now that you know all about the differences between marijuana plants and hemp plants, let’s talk about how these differences factor into CBD products. Below, we’ll go over three key differences between hemp vs. marijuana CBD products and talk about how that may affect which is right for you.
Whether a CBD product is made from hemp or marijuana directly affects its legality in your area. Here in Nevada, it’s legal to purchase and possess hemp products, recreational marijuana products, and medical marijuana products. So if you live in Nevada, legality isn’t really a concern– you can choose between the different types of CBD products freely. But not every state is as cannabis-friendly as Nevada. So if you’re at all unsure about whether either hemp or marijuana is legal in your state, be sure to do some research on your local laws before purchasing a CBD product.
Potential Psychoactive Effects
Hemp-derived CBD products can’t have more than 0.3% THC, which is a very minute amount. Because of this, hemp-derived CBD products don’t cause any psychoactive effects. Marijuana-derived CBD products, on the other hand, can have highly variable THC content. Marijuana-derived CBD products can range from having little to no THC to having quite a bit of THC, so they may or may not cause psychoactive effects– it depends on the specific product.
When deciding between a hemp-derived CBD product and a marijuana-derived CBD product, it’s important to consider whether or not you want any psychoactive effects. If you do, you’ll want to go with a marijuana-derived CBD product with a higher THC level. If you don’t, you can go with any hemp-derived CBD product or a marijuana-derived CBD product that has a little to no THC.
It’s important to consider a CBD product’s cannabinoid profile not just because of its CBD to THC ratio, but also because of something called the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a term for a theory on how cannabis compounds (like cannabinoids and terpenes) work together synergistically. Some research on cannabis indicates that the presence of multiple cannabis compounds within a cannabis product may improve that product’s performance. So, basically, it’s thought that cannabis products that contain more than just one isolated cannabinoid work better.
If you’re not interested in taking advantage of the entourage effect, you should look for a CBD isolate product that doesn’t contain other cannabinoids or terpenes. If you do want to take advantage of the entourage effect, you can choose from either marijuana-derived CBD products or hemp-derived CBD products. But in the hemp-derived category, you want to look for the words “full-spectrum” or “broad spectrum” on a specific product’s label. Full-spectrum hemp CBD will feature all the phytochemicals naturally found in the hemp plant, including CBD, trace amounts of other cannabinoids, and terpenes. Then, broad-spectrum hemp CBD is essentially full-spectrum CBD that has had all traces of THC removed, so it can be a good option for those who want the entourage effect, but without even a trace element of THC.
Final Thoughts on CBD: Hemp vs. Marijuana
At the end of the day, whether marijuana-derived CBD or hemp-derived CBD is right for you is completely personal. It all depends on what you’re looking for in terms of ingredients and effects. If you have any questions about CBD products or if you’d like a personalized CBD product recommendation, please reach out– we’d love to assist you. You can contact us through our website or call an Essence Dispensary location to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members.