Cannabis, marijuana, hemp, THC, CBD, terpenes…the list goes on!
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the cannabis industry lately, you’ve probably heard a lot of terms floating around out there, and it can sometimes be hard to keep track of all of them.
Take marijuana and hemp as examples. While they share a lot of similarities, they also have some very subtle differences. And if you work in the cannabis industry, or use marijuana as part of a medical treatment plan, then understanding details like these can make a big impact on your career or your health.
What is marijuana?
We’ve all heard of marijuana before – the plant that is well-known for its medical properties, and also as a substance many people use for fun and relaxation.
But you may have noticed that the word cannabis is being used a lot lately, and sometimes cannabis and marijuana are used to describe the same plant.
While this certainly makes sense on the surface, it’s not entirely accurate.
Cannabis is actually a term for a family of plants. And within that family there are two types of cannabis – cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.
- Marijuana is part of the cannabis family of plants, and it can be classified as either cannabis sativa or cannabis indica.
- Hemp is also in the cannabis family, but can only be classified as cannabis sativa.
While marijuana and hemp certainly share a lot of similarities, there are some big differences between them as well. And perhaps the most important difference between the two is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is found in each plant.
The THC content in marijuana is what causes its well-known euphoric effect. The amount of THC in marijuana can vary between strains, but it can be as much as 20-30% (or more) in some very strong strains.
At the moment, marijuana can only be legally purchased in ten states in the U.S., where marijuana legalization laws have been passed.
What is hemp?
Hemp, as we’ve learned, is also a part of the cannabis family. It can have a wide variety of uses, ranging from food products, clothing, building materials, and nutritional supplements.
Marijuana can have varying degrees of THC. However, by law, hemp cannot have more than .3% THC – a tiny fraction of the THC found in most strains of marijuana.
Hemp has a long and important history in the United States. It was a key crop in the colonial and Revolutionary War period, and was critical to the war effort during World War II. In fact, hemp was so important during this time that the U.S. government created a film to promote its production – called “Hemp for Victory”.
However, hemp production was severely restricted with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Anyone who wanted to grow hemp needed to receive a special permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Thankfully, this has all changed with the passage of the recent 2018 Farm Bill. Due to this law, industrial hemp is now legal to grow and produce in the U.S., as long as it contains no more than .3% THC.
Because it is now legal to grow and produce, hemp is used to create many of the CBD products that you can purchase online, or in pharmacies and wellness shops across the country.
Learn more about marijuana, hemp and the endocannabinoid system
The cannabis industry is undergoing a period of rapid growth and transformation, and it’s more important than ever for industry professionals, patients and consumers to be well-educated on the science and research behind marijuana, hemp and the endocannabinoid system.
That’s why we created the industry’s top training program – The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol.
Learn more about this comprehensive cannabis training program, and provide yourself and your team with the knowledge needed to thrive in the cannabis industry!