As the cannabis industry has boomed over the last year, we’ve been exposed to several new terms. While some are used interchangeably, there are specific differences between them.
These differences can define whether the product being discussed is FSA-, EMA- or FDA-approved, or legal only in places that allow medical or recreational cannabis. It is also the difference between cannabis products that have psychoactive components or hemp-derived CBD.
Cannabis vs Hemp
Both hemp and cannabis are types of the cannabis sativa plant, but they are, in fact, very different products. While cannabis plants are still against federal law in most places in the world, hemp is treated differently.
Hemp is farmed and used industrially for a number of purposes, including fabric, paper, rope, constructions, biodegradable products, foods, and fuel. Cannabis is used for medical cannabis products, or recreationally in some places.
Cannabis is a kind of female flowering plant that is part of the Cannabaceae family. Cannabis sativa is used to describe the species. Hemp, on the other hand, is a male strain of the plant.
The main difference between hemp and cannabis is the THC content of the product. Hemp describes varieties of cannabis sativa that have 0.2-0.3% or less THC, as set by European Commission (EC) and the 2018 United States Farm Bill.
Cannabis plants usually have a high THC amount, between 5-30%, and produce a consciousness-altering effect. This is where the main differentiation comes into play, both legally, as well as for the user. Hemp plants are high in CBD but have only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound THC, making them great for CBD products and industrial use.
Cannabinoids, CBD, and THC
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both cannabinoids, as are cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). Cannabinoids are found in all cannabis plants and acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors.
The main difference between these cannabinoids is the way the atoms are arranged, and THC’s psychoactive properties The body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors act differently and respond to each cannabinoid in unique ways.
CB1 receptors are found in the brain, as well as throughout the human body. These receptors are what THC mostly interacts with, creating a high, or sense of euphoria. CB2 receptors are found mostly in the digestive and immune system in the body and on the neurons of the brain. CBD binds to these receptors, creating an overall sense of calm. The physical feeling of wellness without the potential negative side effects of a THC high is the reason CBD has become so popular.
Full-Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate
When CBD is extracted, the cannabinoids are extracted from the plant. In addition to cannabinoids, the hemp plant has other plant chemicals, including terpenes and other nutrients. A full-spectrum extraction extricates all cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant chemicals such as chlorophyll.
Terpenes are aromatic chemicals found in all plants that produce certain tastes and smells. Many of these terpenes have benefits associated with them, as well as other common plants. Terpenes enhance the flavour and effect of the CBD and give each of the different strains their character.
A commonly reported experience of full-spectrum CBD oils is the Entourage Effect, which basically means that the combination of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the oil delivers the CBD throughout the body quickly and efficiently.
A CBD isolate undergoes further extraction, to create a 99.99% pure CBD crystal. CBD isolate does not have terpenes or other cannabinoids. CBD isolate has a far less noticeable taste than a full-spectrum oil because the terpenes are not present. CBD isolate is appropriate for anyone who is regularly drug screened in their occupation, or who just does not want any THC present in their CBD.
Legality of CBD and THC in Europe
CBD is legal in most countries in the European Union except for Slovakia. While THC levels in CBD in the United States must be below 0.3% to be legal, the EU has even stricter standards. CBD products in the EU must contain 0.2% THC or less. Even with these trace amounts of THC, you cannot possibly get high from CBD.
Legislation is constantly shifting, and while some countries allow recreational cannabis, others require a prescription or have banned it altogether. Keep an eye on bills and proposals moving forward in your government for cannabis and hemp, and consider contacting your representatives to voice your support for CBD.
Hemp plants are very CBD rich and used for extractions for this reason. Understanding the difference between CBD and THC can allow you to fully utilise the benefits of the hemp plant.
While CBD products have gotten some stigma over their natural association to THC-high cannabis, the two products are very different. CBD creates a sense of calm without any of the effects THC creates, making it great for its many uses. Explore our website and contact us for more information on how our products can enhance your well-being.