Cannabis vs Hemp, what’s the difference?

With the growing interest in the potential medical benefits of cannabis comes mounting confusion over the difference between Marijuana and Hemp.  Many seem to think cannabis, hemp and marijuana are all the same.  However, there are distinct differences and here we try and give a greater understanding of each.

Cannabis is a family of plants with two sub groups – Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.  Marijuana can be classed as a member of the Sativa or Indica group while Hemp sits within the Sativa family.  So, while they certainly share many of the same characteristics there are also some distinct differences.

First thing to notice is the make up of both the hemp and marijuana plant such as the size of the leaves and the shape of the plant.  Marijuana has fairly wide leaves and dense buds while Hemp has fairly thin leaves that are mostly around the top of the plant and typically grows to around 2-4 metres.

Cannabis is rich in compounds called cannabinoids with the two main ones being Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).  These are the subject of much discussion currently regarding their potential benefits to human health.  THC is a psychoactive compound which gives the ‘high’ associated with smoking cannabis while CBD has no psychoactive effects. The big difference between Hemp and Marijuana is their respective proportions of THC and CBD.  Hemp contains a very low level of THC (around 0.2% or less) while levels of between 15-40% THC are found in Marijuana. 

In the last few years we have seen explosive growth in the use of CBD oil in the health and wellness industry.  CBD is said to give the user a feeling of relaxation which filters into the muscles and the brain and helps overcome social anxieties and depression, enable better sleep and some say it can even help with pain relief.  On the other hand, THC can give the user a feeling of paranoia and has been linked to mental health issues.  Because of these psychotic effects, THC is classed as a controlled substance, and while there is some evidence of the benefits of using a THC like compound to offset some of the side effects of chemotherapy it is not widely prescribed.

Recently we have seen a loosening of the regulations in some countries surrounding the growing of hemp and sale of CBD oil while there are still tight restrictions on the use of THC in most countries.  In addition, a report published last year by the World Health Organisation found no adverse effects of using CBD and stated that there were several possible medical benefits of CBD from treating epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease and many more.

There is now a groundswell of interest prompting the requirement for better knowledge and understanding of how CBD can help and what role THC can play.   More thorough and robust scientific research is needed to get the medical fraternity fully on board with this exciting natural ingredient.

A word of warning when buying cannabis-based products over the internet.  There is a fairly high chance that many will contain THC and may not be safe or legal to use.  When buying CBD products from health food stores be aware that some may contain such low levels of CBD to render them ineffective. And be mindful too of the quality of ‘pure CBD’ oils.  It’s always a good idea to research your supplier well and only buy from a trusted source.

That’s why it’s good to know that Humphrey’s CBD juice drinks are all natural, contain 15mg CBD per bottle and contain organically grown hemp from a certified and trusted source.

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