What is Hemp?
Isn't Hemp just another word for Marijuana? Aren't they the same thing? Well, both originated from the same Genus Cannabis so... they are very close, but they are not exactly the same.
Cannabis Sativa (aka Hemp) is part of the same grouping of plants as Cannabis Indica (aka Marijuana,) which is infamous for its much higher levels of THC.
It has been proven that CBD does not cause psychosis, but more interestingly, it actually decreases psychosis, including decreasing THCs effects of psychosis, too. (Source)
Hemp and Marijuana come from the same Cannabis parent, much like cross breeding different strains of grapes for wine, tomatoes, or even dog breeds.
Similarly, each new variety (or breed) will then have slightly different properties and characteristics.
Hemp, by legal definition in the US, is simply any strain of Cannabis Sativa, with no more than 0.3% THC, by dry weight, grown under a Hemp Pilot Program. It is currently that straight forward.
Cannabis Indica, the version that people often call Marijuana, has been bred over the years for shorter growth in height, broader leaves, and much higher THC concentrations. It is currently not considered federally legal.
These two different species of Cannabis were believed to originate about 10,000 years ago in central Asia, which were separated for a long time by geographical barriers, like the Himalayan and Hindu Kush Mountains.
More recent interests have brought these two together, by man creating hybrids, again much like cross breeding two varieties of dogs or grapes, to create a different strains of a similar plant.
These different strains will have different full spectrum profiles of cannabinoids, terpenes and other phyto-nutrients, and hence have different effects when used.
Interestingly, CBD has been shown to be less effective when there is no THC present. As an isolate (iso meaning alone,) CBDs effectiveness has a bell shaped curve without THC. This means as you give more CBD, it begins to reach a peak and then becomes less effective as more is given (hence the name as it is like the shape of a bell.) (Source)
Once THC is added, even in tiny amounts, the effectiveness of CBD is linear, or what they refer to as dose responsive, meaning the more you give, the more effective it is. It no longer follows the bell shape nor drops off in effectiveness.
When a full spectrum flower extract is used, CBD, as well as the other cannabinoids, are more effective. It has also been observed that less of the cannabinoids are needed for greater effects. This in now known as the entourage effect. (Source)
Click here to learn more about the entourage effect.
We see this effect in other areas of nutrition, like Vitamin D & Calcium. There are many vitamins & nutrients that need each other to work effectively within the complex system of our bodies.
There are some statements that have been made that CBD from hemp is not as effective as CBD from Medical Marijuana.
First, Cannabidiol (CBD) is the same structural compound no matter where it comes from, be it Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa or created in a lab. One you change its structure, you change how it behaves and responds, therefor it is not longer the same compound, and can no longer be considered or called CBD. Regardless of where it is derived from, all CBD is the same compound.
Second, the more THC found on a Cannabis plant, the less CBD is found. The reverse is also true; the more CBD present, the less THC is found.
So Medical Marijuana, which is higher in THC and well over the 0.3%, will be lower in CBD than hemp that is very low in THC and naturally high in CBD. Typically, medical Marijuana is ranging between 5% to 25% in THC.
Some people are concerned about taking even trace amounts of THC found in hemp (no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.) The last 20 years have shown us that trace amounts of THC do not cause any psychosis, as this has been the amount allowed in our hemp foods since 2000.
If you have eaten any hemp seeds or hemp granola, you have been allowed to consume trace amounts of THC (no more than 0.3%) for the last two decades.
Additionally, having a higher CBD to THC ratio, lessens THC's psychotic effects, making certain strains which are concentrated in CBD, ideal for a full spectrum entourage effect, without the side effects of psychosis.
Why the hemp concentrations of CBD can vary, as well as how effective the CBD is, is a result of a few factors.
What parts of the hemp plant are used: Hemp made from seed, stalks or stems, will have lower concentrations as these parts produce far less amounts of CBD, other cannabinoids and terpenes, than their flowers produce.
The strain of hemp grown: Choosing a hemp variety high in CBD with trace amounts of THC (no more than 0.3% by dry weight) in its flower production, make some strains more advantageous than others, such as hemp strain bred for its long fiber or higher seed production.
How the hemp is cared for and cultivated: This has a big impact on the concentration of CBD as well as the amounts of other cannabinoids and terpenes in its full spectrum profile.
By removing all males from the area, while any Cannabis plant is growing (hemp included), you force the female flowers to seek pollination from a male plant. They do this by increasing their amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes on the flower to attract the male with the odors and chemicals released.
Once pollinated, the plant puts its growing resources into making seeds, which have little of these beneficial compounds, and for holistic uses, the plant is less effective regarding cannabinoids and terpenes.
So while there is some truth, that industrial hemp can be inferior to medical marijuana, it very much depends of the strain that is chosen and how it is grown, plus the concentration of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes that are harvested.
Hemp chosen and bred for its fiber or seed, and not its flowers, will be far less effective as an full spectrum extract, than hemp chosen for its flowers full spectrum profile, carefully tended to, by pushing the female plants to produce extra concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes.
That is why we carefully tend to our Cannabis Sativa hemp plants, to ensure cannabinoid and terpene filled female only flowers are produced for our extracts.