CBD vs. Hemp vs. Marijuana: Know the Difference

Does hemp have CBD in it? Yes. IsCBD hemp? Well, yes and no. While hemp and CBD are often talked about in conjunction, they are not the same thing. One factor that often confuses people about CBD vs. hemp is whether the CBD within products comes from hemp or marijuana. In short, it all derives from different varieties of the cannabis plant, and CBD can be created from both.

Perhaps, the most common misconception is that hemp and marijuana are two completely different plant species, but the truth is, they’re not distinct at all. In fact, they are just two different names for cannabis–a type of flowering plant that belongs to the Cannabaceae family.

Scientifically, there is no difference. But legally, the difference between hemp and marijuana is their tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found within the cannabis plant, and it’s the one that produces the beloved “high” effect that consumers know and love.

Still confused? Healthline helps us break down the difference between hemp, CBD, and marijuana a little more to ensure you’re absolutely prepared for National HempDay on February 4th and CBD Day on August 8th.

CBD vs. Hemp vs. Marijuana

First, let’s talk hemp. It dates back to BCE, when archaeologists found traces in modern-day China and Taiwan.People used it for pottery and food, extracting oil from the hemp seeds. Over centuries, hemp has been cultivated, banned, taxed and, in 1970, classified as an illegal Schedule 1 drug by the Controlled Substances Act.

The term “hemp” is typically used to mean cannabis that only contains up to 0.3% THC. How did we land at0.3%?  It was first proposed in a book written in 1979 by a guy named Ernest Small, who addressed the fact that it’s tough to distinguish hemp and cannabis because there’s really no actual difference between them. Small’s solution? Propose the 0.3% rule, but even then, he recognized that this was simply a wild guess.

However, at some point, the government got on board and in 2018, the Farm Bill reclassified hemp to an agricultural commodity rather than a controlled substance because it did not contain enough THC to get you high.

What is it used for? Today, hemp is most commonly used to make various industrial and commercial products such as textiles, rope, paper, clothing, biofuel, and insulation. Additionally, because cannabis seeds contain no cannabinoids, hemp seeds can be consumed raw, transformed into a liquid used for baking or beverages like hemp milk, or extracted to create oil for soaps, lotions, and shampoos. Some suggest that hemp seed oils help to maintain good cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol. Hemp seed oil can help relieve constipation, positively modify the immune system, improve skin conditions and gastrointestinal conditions.

For those still wondering, “does hemp have CBD in it?” Yes, but we will get to that in a moment.

CBD vs. Hemp vs. Marijuana

Next up, marijuana. The term“marijuana” is usually referring to cannabis that gets you high. Also known as“weed,” “pot,” and many other creative names.

Legally, “marijuana” is the cannabis that contains more than 0.3%THC as some strains of the cannabis plant are bred to have a higher THC content than others.

Ultimately, there are three designated cannabis plants: cannabis sativa, indica, and hybrid. Each strain classification is defined by their individual unique effects and characteristics. 

Unlike in the seeds, cannabinoids, including THC, are found in higher concentrations in cannabis stalks, leaves, and flowers. Those looking to experience the psychoactive and other benefits that cannabis has to offer might turn to flower, which can be smoked or extracted into edibles and tinctures. Some strains are lower in THC but higher in other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and might also produce benefits but won’t necessarily get you high.

Because the term“marijuana” has a racist history that dates back to the Mexican Revolution, it’s one that many have discontinued using and instead have replaced with its botanical name, cannabis. This is where it can become confusing because the cannabis species also includes hemp.

CBD vs. Hemp vs. Marijuana

Finally, we’ve arrived at CBD, which is a highly prevalent cannabinoid that exists in some amount in all cannabis plants. This means it can be found in both cannabis plants and hemp plants.  

Many people use CBD products due to their many health benefits. However, CBD products are only federally legal if they are derived from hemp and containing less than 0.3% THC. Cannabis-derived CBD products are forbidden thanks to the law and whatnot.

So, what’s the difference between hemp, CBD, and marijuana?

  1. Hemp and marijuana plants are ultimately the same species.
  2. They all contain some level of THC; hemp is just legally defined as a cannabis plant that contains only up to 0.3% THC.
  3. CBD is one of the cannabinoids that comes from both marijuana and hemp plants, but CBD is not marijuana or hemp.
  4. They all come in many different forms and have a unique variety of uses, effects, and benefits.

 Enjoy!