Hemp has been used for all kinds of essential goods since at least 8000 B.C. where it was found in Taiwanese pottery. Today, the hemp industry is booming right alongside the cannabis industry, which we know is growing exponentially as it becomes legal in more states. So, what’s the difference between hemp and cannabis anyways? What’s the need for a differentiation? In honor of National Hemp Day on February 4th, we’re going to answer these questions and more.
What is hemp?
Hemp is a cannabis plant with less than 0.03% of THC—basically an undetectable amount of THC. The distinction between hemp and marijuana is mostly for legal reasons, making hemp federally legal whereas cannabis is not. It’s completely non-psychoactive.
While it is used for some CBD products, hemp is mostly used for paper products, textiles, foods like hemp milk and oil, and even plastic. Fun fact: hemp is thought to be more sustainable for these types of goods because it grows faster than other plants typically used.
How is hemp different from marijuana?
When you see a product labeled with “hemp seed oil,” “hemp oil,” or “hemp extract,” that means it came from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but are different varieties of cannabis sativa, giving them distinctive qualities.
Legal hemp plants contain less than 0.03% THC, which on the other hand, is abundant in the cannabis plant. While hemp still contains tons of cannabinoids, it produces very small amounts of THC. However, it does contain a substantial amount of CBD.
“CBD” and “hemp” tend to be used interchangeably, especially when it comes to products like skincare and food. CBD derived from hemp will be identical to CBD from marijuana, but that doesn’t mean CBD and hemp products will have the same effects on the body. This is because some hemp products will contain no CBD at all, just other cannabinoids.
The biggest difference between hemp and CBD is that the benefits of hemp come from the consumption or use of the actual plant (seeds and oil), where CBD is a chemical compound extracted from the plant.
What are the benefits of hemp?
Some of the healing benefits of hemp are the same as the cannabis plant, like the fact that it’s anti-inflammatory, but most benefits are nutrition-related unlike CBD and THC. Hemp seeds are packed with protein, antioxidants and fatty acids. This is why you can find hemp-derived protein powders and milk.
Hemp oil is also found in a lot of skincare products today because it’s is a non-comedogenic moisturizer, meaning it won’t clog pores or sit on top of the skin. Since it’s anti-inflammatory, it also soothes skin irritation and dermatitis. These benefits are similar to those of CBD extract, which is also commonly found in topical products.
The true definition of hemp has been hazy and mostly differentiated from cannabis for legal reasons, but it does have unique benefits of its own. Now that you know all about hemp, try out some hemp oil, hemp seeds, or even try vaping some hemp flower this week for National Hemp Day!