Are Cannabis and Hemp the Same?

Many people think that hemp and cannabis are two entirely different things. As a matter of fact though, hemp is a type of cannabis.  It’s bred to contain less than 0.3% THC per federal regulation (when it contains above 0.3% THC it’s considered marijuana). In the same way that dogs are wolves, hemp is cannabis.  In this case, the hemp is likened to the dog and cannabis to the wolf. Cannabis is the plant genus, while hemp and marijuana are sub categories. This means that all hemp is cannabis, but not all cannabis is hemp.

What are the different types of hemp?  This question often arises when consumers are trying to figure out the difference in quality between CBD products. There is plenty of confusion on this subject, the primary reason being that there are different grades of hemp. The following are the three main varieties from which people make CBD products.

  • Fiber Hemp
  • Fiber Hemp semi rich in CBD
  • Cannabinoid and Terpene-rich Hemp

Fiber Hemp has been around for thousands of years and is bred for the specific purpose of creating strong and durable fiber. Breeding hemp this way has one key drawback though; it lends itself to a crop that is largely void of the plant compounds that are so beneficial to our health.

Fiber hemp semi rich in CBD can contain up to 10% CBD. Finola which hails from Finland is a perfect example of this kind of hemp. It lies somewhere between traditional fiber hemp and cannabinoid and terpene-rich Hemp. Although all types of fiber hemp generally contain high levels of phyto-toxins, their CBD can be broken down into CBD isolate to clean it up a bit and reduce the likelihood of side effects resulting from those toxins. Interestingly, Project CBD made the claim a few years back that 3% CBD content could be deemed CBD rich; so naturally, many companies who use fiber hemp ran with this idea and marketed their products as CBD rich in spite of the subpar genetics they were using. Due to their lack of terpene content, Fiber Hemp plants tend to smell like hay and are not very effective for addressing symptoms and ailments that people typically turn to CBD for.

Cannabinoid and terpene-rich hemp is bred for human consumption and doesn’t contain the phyto-toxins found in fiber hemp. This allows for safe extraction of full-spectrum oils and full-spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum products are the most highly regarded among consumers who are serious about CBD. What does that term mean? In essence, the term full-spectrum just means that an extract isn’t a CBD isolate (pure CBD). From the standpoint of quality, the full-spectrum approach is definitely a step in the right direction since CBD on its own does very little. For some odd reason though, some companies still brag that they have the purest CBD when they use isolates for their products.

So if ‘Full Spectrum’ applies to anything that isn’t a CBD isolate, what does this tell us? It tells us that the extractors try to retain multiple compounds from the plant rather than just CBD. Technically though, companies can still advertise that they make ‘Full Spectrum’ products even when using Fiber Hemp as their source material. So if you are looking for a TRUE Full Spectrum CBD product with a Complete Spectrum of compounds, go with a company that uses genetics boasting over 15% CBD, 2% terpenes, and is extracted with ethanol/drinking alcohol.

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