Cannabidiol (CBD) is the same compound regardless of its origin. It’s one of the 60+ known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, which is the source of both hemp and marijuana. But does CBD oil from hemp have the same properties as CBD oil from marijuana? What’s the difference between these two?
The Difference between Hemp and Marijuana
Hemp is the term used for referring to the industrial cannabis stalks and seeds used for producing food, textiles, paper and other such products. Marijuana is the term used for referring to the flowers and buds used for medicinal and recreational purposes. So a first significant difference is in how these plants look: Cannabis is grown for its flowering buds, and is short and wide, while hemp is tall and narrow and has no buds.
These buds, or more specifically the resin glands on the cannabis buds and flowers, are the components that contain THC. Industrial hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, so it lacks the components that form THC. Thus, although marijuana and hemp both come from the Cannabis sativa plant, products obtained from these two plants (oils, edible products) affect the human body differently.
Industrial hemp contains up to 1.5% THC, while marijuana can contain up to 20% or even more THC – the cannabis compound that makes you high. Industrial hemp is specially bred to contain high concentrations of CBD and low amounts of THC. However, marijuana also contains CBD in high amounts and can be an excellent source of CBD oil.
What does this mean for consumers? Should we start searching for CBD oil obtained from marijuana, or stick with the CBD oil from hemp plants?
The short answer would be that when choosing between marijuana and hemp for CBD oil production, hemp seems to be the best option, because the final product is rich in CBD and contains no THC. It’s more logical to choose the source that provides high amounts of CBD and negligible levels of THC than to opt for the plant that contains both these compounds in high amounts and then search for solutions to separate the two active principles so as to obtain a CBD oil that is non- psychoactive and without unwanted effects.
Although cannabidiol is the same substance, CBD oil contains more compounds so it’s incorrect to say that CBD oil is the same regardless of its source. In the case of CBD oil from hemp versus CBD oil from marijuana, the main difference is in the level of THC the oil contains. CBD is legal, while THC is illegal in most countries. CBD has been shown to be beneficial for the human body, while THC, despite some positive effects, can cause side effects as well, and has more drawbacks than cannabidiol.