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So, What is The Difference?

Written by Jim Hinckley

July 10, 2021

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When if comes to marijuana and related products there is a swirl of confusion. This is made manifest in the legal system, in conversation, and in attempts to determine possible health benefits. So what is the difference between hemp and marijuana, and CBD oils?

Perhaps the best place to begin is with clarification. Marijuana and hemp are simply two different types of cannabis plants. These are a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. Science and the law see things quite differently. From a legal perspective the difference between the two is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.

In the early 20th century, the scientific community used the word cannabis. Marijuana wasn’t a word used often in the United States until shortly before WWI. In the teens marijuana was used in the media, and by some law enforcement associations, to link the drug with Mexican immigrants. This proved to be the cornerstone of anti-cannabis campaigns developed in the following decades.

So, what is THC? It is a chemical compound or cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. This is the chemical that provides the “high” associated with marijuana. Cannabis containing a 0.3 percent or less THC content by dry weight is considered hemp.

In addition to THC, cannabis or hemp plants also contain CBD. There are also more than 540 other chemical compounds. Technically the differences, and possible effectiveness of CBD oil derived products is which of two varieties of the Cannabis Sativa plant they are produced. There Cannabis contains more THC, and less CBD. Hemp contains more CBD and less THC.

Again, a point of clarification. The scientific verdict is still out. But in general cannabis plants have been designated as Cannabis sativaCannabis indica, or a hybrid derivative.

Are you confused yet? Well, this most likely won’t help. Under some state laws CBD products containing less than 0.3% hemp derived THC are illegal. But they are legal at the federal level. Cannabis derived CBD products are illegal federally. However, there are some state laws which provide exceptions and categories of exemptions. And to further muddy the waters the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have not approved certain CBD products without a prescription, especially those inaccurately labeled.

It gets worse. In 2018 the Farm Bill further differentiated the legality between hemp and marijuana. This federal legislation made it legal to grow hemp or cannabis. There is a caveat as they must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. This bill also made hemp-derived CBD products federally legal.

But state regulations varied. Some states allowed usage for medical or recreationally purposes. Other states sharply defined the term recreational. In some states usage was strictly limited to carefully regulated medicinal distribution. And, of course, there were states that deemed it completely illegal.

So, bottom line. For quality assurance, and to avoid the confusing as well as frustrating legal labyrinth always visit a reputable dispensary. Here in the Colorado River Valley that would be The Bud Farmacy located at  101 E Spikes Road in Needles, California.

 

 

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