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Industrial Hemp vs. High-CBD Marijuana: What It Means for Your CBD

The difference between hemp and marijuana centers around one very high-profile cannabinoid: THC.

When you first begin researching CBD oil, it can be hard to understand what you are reading. What exactly is cannabidiol? What is the difference between isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil? What extraction method is the best? And perhaps most importantly, what is the difference between industrial hemp and high-CBD marijuana, both from which CBD oil can be sourced?

While both hemp and marijuana are types of cannabis, there’s a great deal of difference between the two that could have implications as to what type of CBD products you’re able to buy.

What Is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp, also called “agricultural hemp,” is the male Cannabis sativa plant and is grown to serve a wide variety of purposes and uses, including:

  • Food (e.g. hemp milk, hemp cereal, hemp flour).
    Pet food/bedding.
  • Rope.
  • Body-care products.
  • Clothing.
  • Plastic.
  • Paper.
  • Biodiesel.

And now, with the passing of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, industrial hemp is widely used to produce CBD oil products.

Hemp has a naturally low THC content, but to be legal under federal law, hemp-extracts, including some CBD oils, must have no more than 0.3% THC. This low THC content makes industrial hemp a natural choice for vendors of CBD oil products.

While THC is minimal in industrial hemp, many of the plant's other beneficial cannabinoids remain, creating a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is a theory that asserts the effects of CBD are magnified and amplified by the presence of other cannabinoids, like CBC, CBG, CBN, CBDa, THCa, and terpenes.

Advantages of CBD oil from agricultural hemp include:

Disadvantages of CBD oil from industrial hemp:

  • Possibly from hemp used as a bioremediator.
  • More likely to contain residual solvents.

What Is High-CBD Marijuana?

CBD oil products sourced from high-CBD marijuana are very rare. This is largely due to issues of legality and the stigma surrounding the female Cannabis sativa plant, which is typically associated with the intoxicating high that results from a greater THC content.

Although marijuana and cannabis in general have been demonized for many years, their many medicinal benefits are starting to garner attention. Recreational and medical use of cannabis is now legal in many states and this trend is sure to continue.

On the federal level though, cannabis remains a Schedule I Drug alongside heroin and LSD; hemp, which is defined as cannabis containing 0.3% or less THC content, is legal on the federal level. Any CBD product derived from cannabis containing more than 0.3% THC is a product derived from high-CBD marijuana, which is illegal in states that have not legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis.

Most high-CBD marijuana extract comes from states where the medical and recreational use of cannabis has been legalized, such as Colorado, California, and Oregon.

High-CBD marijuana has higher levels of THC compared to agricultural hemp, and depending on the extraction technique and processing, much of this THC will end up in the final product. Someone who cannot or wishes not to consume THC, should stay away from products derived from high-CBD marijuana.

The advantages of high-CBD marijuana extracts:

  • Contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients.
  • Can provide a potentially greater entourage effect.
  • Contain high levels of THC, which could be beneficial or desirable for some people.

Disadvantages CBD oil from high-CBD marijuana:

  • Maybe illegal in your state.
  • May cause intoxication.
  • Can cause an adverse reaction in sensitive individuals with no THC tolerance.

The Choice Is Yours (Mostly)

Now that you know the difference between industrial hemp and high-CBD marijuana, you can make an informed purchasing decision.

Before buying, be sure to check the specific laws in your state. Remember, if you do not live in a place with legal access to cannabis, you will not be able to purchase CBD oil derived from high-CBD marijuana. In that case, the choice will be limited to hemp-derived CBD oil.

By understanding the difference between the source plants and the laws that govern them, you are sure to find a CBD oil product that perfectly suits your needs.

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