NEWS UPDATE: Recently in our corner of Vermont, thieves have been stealing crop from hemp farmers, looking to resell the plant to those seeking a high. The ones that got away are in for a surprise—hemp won’t get you high.
Let me repeat that- hemp doesn’t get you high.
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding hemp, due to its resemblance to its cousin, marijuana. It’s true that the plants look similar, both being part of the Cannabis sativa plant family. And until recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified hemp derived products as Schedule 1 controlled substances in the United States.
Hemp cultivation has been legalized nationwide, and CBD products are making waves in the alternative health market. But consumers are still holding back because they equate hemp with marijuana.
It’s not. Hemp has been shown to support several areas of the body and provide relief from chronic pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, and more—with no mind-altering effects.
Hemp and marijuana are related, but they aren’t the same plant. One contains higher levels of CBD while the other contains higher levels of THC. What’s the difference? Read on to find out.
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s a compound that has psychoactive properties, and it’s the component of marijuana that causes a high. Marijuana contains large amounts of THC, typically between 5% and 30% per batch.
In contrast, to be considered hemp, a plant can contain a maximum of 0.3% THC. This low of a concentration means that consuming products made from the hemp plant, including hemp oils and seeds, will not cause any psychoactive effects.
While marijuana is cultivated for the effects of its THC, hemp is grown because of its levels of cannabidiol, or CBD. This compound works to improve the function and balance of several areas of the body. And, it has been shown to provide relief for people suffering from a wide range of health issues.
CBD is actually a plant version of compounds our bodies are already making to support the Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for keeping our bodies in homeostasis. Marijuana does contain lower levels of cannabinoids as well. However in order to receive any CBD benefits from marijuana, you have to consume the THC, too.
How else can you distinguish between hemp and marijuana? For starters, hemp can be grown in a variety of climates, and plants can reach a height of 20 feet! It’s considered an agricultural crop, since it is grown in large fields and harvested industrially. In contrast, marijuana is typically grown indoors, in climate-controlled spaces, producing smaller plants that are harvested by hand.
And, hemp can be used for many more purposes than marijuana. While both can have medicinal benefits, hemp is also a valuable material for building, bio-fuel, textile production, as a natural alternative to plastic, and as a healthy ingredient in any recipe… just to name a few uses!
In September, the DEA ruled that drugs which contain CBD and a concentration of THC under 0.1%, and which have been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, are now Schedule 5 drugs. This is the first acknowledgement by the DEA that Cannabis plants and the products made from those plants can have medicinal value. It’s a step in the right direction toward making hemp and CBD products more accessible, and better understood, by Americans.
Remember: hemp can not get you high. But with its ability to alleviate pain, calm the anxious mind, and help achieve a good night’s sleep, we can’t say it won’t improve your mood!