Marijuana vs. CBD Oil from Hemp
- High levels of CBD
- Federally legal
- Can be purchased online or in stores
- High levels of THC
- Legal only in certain states
- Available from dispensaries only
Despite these important differences, many prospective cannabis consumers are surprised by the number of similarities between hemp and marijuana. However, the resemblance should come as little surprise, since both hemp and marijuana are versions of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. As we dig deeper into the two types of cannabis plants, we begin to see how they can each play a role in the use of cannabis.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a cannabis plant that is most frequently harvested for its euphoric, intoxicating properties, which are responsible for making users feel high or stoned. The fibers and stalks of marijuana are not used commercially. Instead, the marijuana plant is cultivated specifically for its flowers, which contain the highest levels of THC in the plant.
To maximize THC levels in marijuana, it’s often grown indoors so that conditions like light, temperature, and humidity can be closely monitored. Any male marijuana plants are removed to prevent the female plants from becoming fertilized, which lowers the plant’s concentration of THC. When compared to hemp, which grows tall, marijuana grows shorter and bushier with lots of flowers. Though, some variation does exist.
Through selective breeding, varieties or strains of marijuana can contain THC concentrations that usually range from 10 percent to 30 percent, or even higher. Marijuana is naturally lower in CBD than THC – though some breeders have worked to increase the amount of CBD produced by some marijuana plants.
Since marijuana contains high levels of THC, use and possession of marijuana, whether for recreational or medical reasons, remains federally illegal in the U.S., although states have passed laws that have legalized marijuana use under certain conditions.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a cannabis plant that is harvested commercially for its seeds and stalks. Hemp seeds and stalks are used to produce a number of products: including food, nutritional supplements, medicine, body care products, paper, textiles, building materials, plastic composites, and even biofuels. Depending on which parts of the plant hemp oil is made from the amount of CBD will vary, producing everything from nutritious hemp foods to hemp seed oil to rich CBD oil.
Because it thrives under natural conditions, hemp is typically grown outside, with both male and female plants sown closely together to encourage wind pollination and increase seed production. The hemp plant grows sturdy and tall, up to 2 to 4 meters in height, without the need for herbicides or pesticides.
For cannabis to be legally considered hemp, it must contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per dry weight. THC is the active compound in marijuana that causes its euphoric effect. The level of THC in hemp is 33 times less than the least potent marijuana strains, so it’s impossible for hemp to get a user “high.”
Unlike marijuana, hemp is naturally higher in cannabidiol (CBD), one of over 100 cannabinoids that have so far been identified in the cannabis plant. CBD is non-intoxicating and therefore won’t cause a high, making it safe for use by anyone, regardless of age.
Should I Buy CBD from Hemp or Marijuana?
One of the misconceptions about CBD hemp oil products is that CBD from hemp oil is less potent than cannabis oil or CBD oil made from medical marijuana. While it is true that the percentage of CBD in hemp plants by dry weight is lower than the percentage of CBD in some specially bred marijuana plants, once the oil is extracted from the plant, this difference becomes negligible.
However, hemp cultivars (varieties) also grow much faster than marijuana, so while an intensively bred high-CBD medical marijuana strain would take a full season to grow, a hemp farmer can create a more environmentally sustainable and conscious product.
While it has been warned that hemp is a bioaccumulator (absorbs and collects contaminants), it needs to be noted that all cannabis plants, including marijuana strains, are bioaccumulators. A marijuana crop grown with poisonous pesticides or fertilizers is more dangerous to a consumer than a cleanly grown hemp crop, and with minimal regulations in many legal marijuana markets, there is no guarantee that marijuana bought from dispensaries is healthy to use. Recently in Colorado, there have been a number of recalls for marijuana grown with dangerous, unapproved pesticides.
This is the precise reason that Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s CBD hemp oil is grown free of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and extracted using a supercritical CO2 process regarded by the FDA as safe. Our hemp oil is also Triple Lab Tested® during our cultivation, extraction, and manufacturing processes to ensure our oil’s quality and protect the health of our customers.
Some cannabinoid users also get caught up with the idea that CBD hemp oil is made from “industrial hemp”, a point we have addressed before. There is nothing inherently dirty about industrial hemp, and as mentioned above, products made from hemp oil have the potential to be cleaner and purer than medical marijuana products.
On a molecular level, CBD from hemp is the same as CBD from marijuana. Franjo Grotenhermen of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines has been quoted saying, “CBD is CBD. The human body does not care where the molecule comes from.” Water makes a good analogy here. As far as your body is concerned, an H2O molecule is the same, whether it comes from a rushing river or out of your kitchen tap. In the same vein,10 mg of CBD from hemp oil is absorbed the same as 10 mg of CBD that you’d find in a marijuana dispensary. And just like with river water and tap water, neither hemp or marijuana is guaranteed healthier than the other, and much depends on outside factors, making our independent Triple Lab Tested® process all the more critical to the safety of our customers.
Finally, the entourage effect, mentioned in Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special Weed, emphasizes the need for a range of cannabinoids and other compounds in cannabis in order to be effective. The fact is that hemp, like marijuana, contains measurable amounts of a number of terpenes and cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. However, the levels of THC in hemp oil are low enough not to be intoxicating, making hemp a legal, more viable alternative for many to high-THC marijuana.
Because CBD hemp oil products are legal in all 50 states, they fill an important role for those who can’t access marijuana in their state. CBD hemp oil is also an alternative to marijuana for those who are interested in using CBD but are looking to avoid the negative effects of psychoactive THC.
Types of CBD Oil Products Available
Now that you know the difference between CBD oil and marijuana, let’s take a look at the types of CBD products you can buy. Medical Marijuana, Inc. brands like Real Scientific Hemp Oil™, Dixie Botanicals®, and HempMeds® include innovative CBD products like pure CBD oils, CBD capsules, CBD liquids and tinctures, CBD vapes, and more.
All of our products are made using our non-GMO hemp oil, extracted using safe CO2 and Triple Lab Tested® to ensure quality and safety in all our CBD products. You can learn more about how we make our top quality CBD oil products here.
You can find more about our line of CBD products by clicking on the links below:
With so much contradicting information available online, it is important for consumers to do their own research from trusted sources. To see if low-THC, high-CBD hemp oil is right for you, visit our education page.