Hemp and cannabis are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, in actuality, these two terms represent two distinct varieties of the same plant species.
Whether you’re a consumer or a distributor, understanding the differences between these two variants is crucial, especially given their legal implications on various cannabis-related products on the market.
In this blog post, we will delve into the fundamental differences between hemp and cannabis, shedding light on their origins and chemical composition. We’ll also discuss how these differences influence the usage of certain cannabis products and how they are defined in various jurisdictions.
Hemp and Cannabis Origins
Hemp and cannabis (also known as marijuana) both belong to the same plant species, Cannabis sativa.
Despite sharing a common origin, these two varieties have distinct characteristics and are often cultivated for different purposes.
Hemp has been used for various industrial purposes for centuries. Its fibres are strong and can be used to make textiles, clothing, rope, and paper. Hemp seeds also are rich in nutrients and can be used for food.
In recent years, however, hemp oil has also gained prominence due to the popularity of CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp that is said to have therapeutic benefits.
In contrast to this, cannabis has mainly been used for medicinal and recreational purposes throughout history. It contains a variety of cannabinoids, each with different effects on the human body.
Medical cannabis is often prescribed for conditions like chronic pain, nausea, and certain neurological disorders. Recreational use of cannabis, on the other hand, is associated with its psychoactive effects.
Different strains of cannabis can produce varying effects, and users often choose strains based on their desired outcome. This might be relaxation or increased focus.
The primary difference between hemp and cannabis is the concentration of certain chemical compounds, particularly cannabinoids like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects often associated with cannabis use. In other words, it is the cannabinoid that can get a user ‘high’.
Generally speaking, hemp is typically defined as a plant containing around 0.3 percent THC or less. In contrast, cannabis generally has a much higher concentration of THC.
It’s worth noting that depending on the state or country, these exact numbers and definitions might differ.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another compound present in both hemp and cannabis. It is a popular ingredient in various wellness products, often coming in the form of oils or edibles.
Since CBD itself is non-psychoactive, the legal status and regulation of CBD products often hinges on the THC concentration.
For instance, hemp-derived CBD products, with their low THC levels, are typically more widely accepted and legally accessible. In contrast, cannabis-derived CBD products may face stricter regulations due to the potential psychoactive effects that they might have.
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil online, it’s extremely important to check the THC content of the product. Just like with other cannabis-related items, it’s also imperative that you understand the nuances in the local laws regarding the use of the CBD.
Legality in Australia
In Australia, this discrepancy in THC has a lot of implications on the legal status of both hemp and cannabis.
According to the Office of Drug Control in Australia, the concentration of THC in what is considered a hemp plant must be no more than 1%. In the state of Victoria, the limit is set at around 0.35%.
It’s also important to remember that hemp products, CBD oil, medical cannabis, and recreational cannabis will all have their own set of restrictions and regulations. Some jurisdictions will have varying definitions for these terms as well.
To make matters even more complicated, the laws regarding the use of cannabis products are constantly changing as more and more products enter the market. As such, it’s important to always be up to date with all of the relevant laws and regulations in your state or country.
Understanding these differences is crucial for consumers, policymakers, and businesses navigating the evolving landscape of cannabis-related products. As the demand for these items continues to rise, staying informed is absolutely essential.
Being knowledgeable about these products will not only prevent you from unknowingly breaking laws, but it might also protect you from potentially dangerous side effects. If you’re unsure, we always recommend speaking to medical professionals before using a cannabis-related product.