If I asked you what the difference was between hemp and cannabis, chances are you wouldn’t have an answer. But that’s ok, because the names are often used interchangeably, and both are from the species Cannabis Sativa. With the increase in interest in possible therapeutic uses of CBD, it’s a good time to consider Hemp-derived CBD.
They are similar, so you are excused any confusion. Think of them like cousins. They’re similar and share a lot of the same qualities and properties, both beneficial in their own right and uses, but there are specific differences that separate them and make them unique.
So what is Hemp and how is it different than Cannabis?
First off, they look different.
The hemp plant is skinnier and taller than marijuana plant. It can grow to about 12 feet tall, and is a hardier, sturdier plant that is easily grown outdoors, with or without a green thumb. It’s easy to grow good quality hemp flowers, hence the name “weed”.
But wait, isn’t cannabis what we refer to as weed? Yes, and it’s just as easy to grow, but it’s harder to grow a better quality cannabis plant, with more potent buds or cannabis flowers, than hemp. Marijuana plants are more selectively grown based on strain, and requires more attention at every stages of the growing process to ensure consistency and quality. Hemp, on the other hand, grows … and the focus is mainly on size and output.
Like cannabis, the hemp plant is very resilient.
Secondly, more of the Hemp Plant is useful
Hemp has been referred to as a “Buffalo Plant”. This is a reference to the Native American manner of using every part of the buffalo. Hemp is called that because of so many parts of the plant are used.
- source or protein and essential amino acids
- can be eaten whole, ground into milk, paste
- can be pressed to extract oil
- Can be juiced
- Used for clothing, rope, paper
- Used in construction materials
- Seed Oil
- in cooking,
- bio fuel,
But the oil of most interest from hemp is, of course, CBD. Hemp plants have a higher concentration of CBD than cannabis plants, which typically have a higher THC concentration.
Despite the differences between cannabis and hemp, the CBD extracted from each is rather similar. The main difference between hemp and cannabis is the amount of THC in the varieties. Hemp is the term commonly used to refer to the cannabis that has less than 0.3% THC.
ONLY CBD DERIVED FROM HEMP is legal according to the DEA. CBD derived from cannabis, even if it has 0% THC, is still not legal according to the Federal Government.
So with the similarity in the CBD extraction, the focus on hemp vs cannabis CBD comes downs to availability, yield, and legality. Hemp is just plain easier to grow, to grow more of, and to grow it legally.
That alone increases the supply and therefore access to it.
Hemp Flower and CBD
CBD is a popular term and product these days, but it’s pretty confusing to determine what the difference in products and brands are. First thing to note is that not all CBD products are “full spectrum”, which means that the product may not incorporate all portions of the plant, and may focus solely on the isolated CBD.
The reason for this is there is an assumption that using or consuming the whole Hemp Flower, and not just the isolated CBD, can enhance the effect and efficiency of the desired outcome, making use of the full cannabinoid properties, stimulating an entourage effect.
Why is Full Spectrum better?
Using the full hemp flower incorporates all portions of the plan, which includes the low levels of THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids that in essence, trigger the human endocannabinoid receptors.
Essentially, it means the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Together the full spectrum hemp flower interacts with itself and the human body more effectively than isolated portions of the plant.
How to Consume Hemp Flower
How you ingest hemp flower depends on what you want out of it and requires a little biology and chemistry summary.
Ingesting and dosing.
CBD is fat soluble (as is THC), so it’s easy to include in butter or oil to digest it. The effects will be longer term since it’s a relative slow process, and takes time to get through your full digestive system. But keep in mind it has to go through the liver which breaks it down further, so the effectiveness is reduced, requiring potentially higher doses or potency for the effect.
Dosing is important because of the delay, so when trying it, make sure you are consistent and patient, allowing time for the effects to occur. Start slow and add as needed. You can always add more, you can’t “un eat” it!
Summary: In a nutshell, it takes longer to get to the blood stream and has been filtered by your digestive system.
This is the fastest way to get the CBD into your bloodstream and to feel the effects. As such, it reaches your entire body quicker and with more potency per dose. How you choose to smoke the hemp flower is your choice.
Be careful, though. Smoking will get the CBD into your system carefully, but it also has it’s drawbacks. We all know the risks and dangers of smoking and vaping, and while inhaling hemp does not have the risks as cigarette smoking, it does still have risks, including burning.
For that reason, a frequently used method is using a dry herb vape, which gives all the entourage effects of the full spectrum flower without the burning required with smoking. Vaping also allows for better dosing control.
Summary: If you want to experience the full effects of CBD quickly, and throughout your body, inhaling the hemp flower is the most efficient way to do that. And the safest way is through dry vaping, but remember, all methods of ingesting involve some risk.
Don’t feel bad if you confuse Hemp and Cannabis. A lot of people do and use them interchangeably. They’re very similar, but the differences are important enough to be a consideration when choosing your CBD and Flowers.
- Hemp is easier to grow and has more uses.
- Hemp Flowers are legal everywhere, Cannabis Flowers are not.
- CBD from Hemp, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC is legal everywhere. Cannabis, even if it has ZERO THC, is still considered illegal by the Federal Government, and by many states.
And when choosing your hemp flower, always consider the benefit of the entourage effect, the dosing, and the consumption methods for your desired effect.