Understanding The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana Derived CBD Products


CBD products

When purchasing CBD products, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting. As of the close of 2019, the FDA has approved only one CBD product—a prescription drug that can be used to treat epilepsy. While the FDA is planning further review of the compound, the lack of FDA approval at present means that the responsibility must fall to the consumer to do their research and learn what they want to know about the product they’re buying.

Does a lack of FDA approval mean that CBD is unsafe? No. It merely means that further study must be done before the FDA’s standards are met. In the meantime, you can find out exactly what’s in the products you’re putting in your body. And one of the most helpful and fundamental ways to do that is to find out what plant they come from.

The Two Types of Cannabis Plant and Their Differences

When we talk about the cannabis plant, we are actually referring to two different subspecies, both of which you’ve probably heard of. The first subspecies is hemp. Hemp is an easy plant to grow, and it has a wide variety of uses. It can be used to make clothing, paper, construction materials, plastics, and more. 

The other type of cannabis plant is marijuana. Unlike hemp, marijuana must be grown under tightly controlled circumstances. Its primary uses are for medical and recreational purposes.

The most definitive difference between the hemp plant and the marijuana plant comes down to the amount of THC the plant contains. A hemp plant contains less than .3% THC. Marijuana plants, meanwhile, have somewhere around a 30% THC potency depending on the strain.

What is the Significance of the THC Content?

THC is the psychotropic compound in cannabis that causes users to experience a high or intoxication. It contributes to the entourage effect that we can benefit from medicinally. If the high is what you’re after, you should look for products derived from the marijuana plant, because it will almost certainly have a higher THC content. There are also CBD dominant marijuana strains that have a higher percentage of CBD than THC but the THC percentage is over the legal limit for hemp. The THC content in a CBD product created from the hemp plant will be negligible.

If you purchase CBD isolate, you’ll be getting a product in which the CBD compound has been scientifically extracted from the rest of the plant. There should be no THC in such a product, regardless of its origins.

Which Product Should You Buy?

The question might actually be decided for you based on where you live and what the laws are regarding cannabis products in your area. After a long bout with illegalization, hemp was made legal again in the Farm Bill of 2018. That’s due in large part to its low THC content, which has now effectively been established as the federal legal limit as less than .3%.

But states have the right to make their own laws on the subject and, of course, there are many places where marijuana is legal either medically or recreationally. If you live in a state where marijuana is not legal, or if it’s only legal medically in your state, you might have to select a hemp-derived CBD product if you are not an active medical patient. But if you live somewhere that has legalized marijuana for recreational use, you’ll have more options.

If that’s your circumstance, the best deciding factor to go by is simply whether or not you want to experience a high. If you are ok with mind-altering effects, go with a marijuana-derived product. If not, you’d be best to choose to use hemp-derived products.

As always, speak with a medical professional before attempting to use cannabis products. If you need help deciding what product will best suit your needs, contact Veriheal. We offer informational consults that are available nationwide to everyone from all walks of life. Our doctors will help guide you in the direction that works best for you!


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Kat Helgeson

Kat Helgeson comes from a ten year career in social media marketing and content creation. She takes pride in her ability to communicate the culture and values of an organization via the written word. Kat is also the author of numerous books for young adults. Her titles have received the Junior Library Guild Award, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year Distinction, and been featured on the Illinois Reads selection list. Her work has been translated into Dutch and German.

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