When it comes to using products labeled as containing “hemp,” a lot of us have to wonder just how different it is from cannabis. Why is one legal and the other isn’t? On the surface, it doesn’t appear to make much sense at all.
It comes down to the differences as determined by the federal government here in the United States. That is why you should know that hemp from this country is different from that in Canada, for example, so be careful when you are sourcing and purchasing it. Today, I’ll do my best to explain to you what the differences are and why they matter!
What is Cannabis?
It is a drug known as a cannibanoid. The main one that it contains that causes the experience of a high, more specifically a psychoactive effect, is THC. In scientific terms this is delta9 tetrahydracannabinol. You can find more information about it here: https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/cannabis/.
There are several uses for it, many of which are similar of hemp. However, what you should keep in mind with all of them is that they do contain high levels of THC, so in many states they are not legal. Most of the time the dried leave are used, which is what we know as marijuana.
There is also hash oil and concentrates. These can be used separately or in tandem with a rolled up cigarette containing marijuana to strengthen the effect. You can also ingest it via food typically called “edibles.”
What is Hemp?
While it does come from the same plant as cannabis, the distinct difference is that it can only be considered “hemp” if the levels of THC within are below the amount set by the government. Right now, that is zero-point three percent. This of course means that you should not experience any psychoactive effects when using it.
Rather, it is utilized for other purposes, such as pain management. Websites like The Hemp Collect Co can provide some examples on these types of oils, if you want to know more but do not know where to begin. Oil is not the only type that can be ingested and used.
Just like cannabis, the leaves of the plant and the oils it secretes can be used in several ways. The most commonly known one is for medicinal use. As it can aid in pain management, like I mentioned above, it is quite valuable amongst the chronically ill communities. It can also help mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Why it Matters
The differences between them might seem a bit asinine. After all, the percentage of THC varies in most cannabinoid strains, so what makes these different? Well, the main thing to highlight is legality.
Hemp is a perfectly legal product in the United States of America. You can purchase it from any retailer that it is available at. You can sell it, too, if you choose. And, of course, you can ingest it.
Cannabis, on the other hand, is not allowed in every state. Some do allow it, of course, like Colorado. That isn’t a hard and set rule, though. So, it is best to be cognizant of this.
Additionally, there are certain health risks associated with each, so you should be concerned with that. You can read more on this page, but in particular, smoke inhalation from marijuana can be quite serious later on in life. A common argument I see is that it isn’t as bad as a traditional cigarette, but this is misleading information.
Important Things to Remember
For both of these substances, there are some circumstances in which you should not ingest them in any way, just to be on the safe side. If you take any medications that prohibit you from eating grapefruit, for example, you might want to be cautious. CBD can interact with some medications in a similar fashion and increase the levels of them in your system to potentially dangerous amounts.
You should also note that there are not many products containing CBD that have undergone rigorous testing by the Food and Drug Administration. This does not make them unsafe by default, of course, and I believe there are benefits to be had. I simply mention this to remind you to always look for a reputable provider.
If you are planning to start taking it, it is likely a good idea to consult with your primary care physician in regard to whether it is safe for you and if it can negatively impact you based on the medicine you currently take. If you are taking an estrogen supplement, for example, you could experience more or worsened side effects from it if you begin hemp oil consumption during its use.
In addition, it can lower blood pressure levels. While this is of course not always a bad thing, if you are currently prescribed blood thinners, it might cause a negative reaction for you. Getting any surgery while using hemp oils can be risky too, as having blood pressure that is too low during a procedure like that can be dangerous.
In general, it is best to consult with a professional before you start taking anything that could seriously affect your health. Even though they are largely safe and there are not many warnings associated with them, this variety of oil is not an exception. More often than not, you will be told it is a fine idea!