There are three primary varieties of the cannabis plant: C. indica, C. sativa, and C. ruderalis. The term “hemp” is used to classify a specific variety of C. sativa and has been used for hundreds of years for purposes that extend beyond consumption. It is a plant that contains little to no trace of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the component responsible for the “high” feeling induced on the human body due to cannabis consumption. The terms “hemp” and “industrial hemp” are often used interchangeably.

“Industrial hemp” is a more descriptive synonym for “hemp” and is defined by the U.S. government as, “a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.” The NAIHC, National Advisory In Hemp and CBD, defines industrial hemp as having less than 1 percent of THC, and a “greater than 1” ratio of CBD to THC.

Hemp plants contain a significantly greater amount of CBD than the other strains of cannabis plants, which commonly will contain more THC. Hemp and marijuana plants differ in appearance. In addition to over 500 other substances, hemp and cannabis plants can contain both CBD and THC; however, the differentiating factor is the quantity of these specific compounds. The source of CBD does not change the effects of the compound, but the amount of CBD available depends on the source.

The main divide between Cannabis CBD and Hemp CBD is their legal status. The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as what is extracted from any part of the plant and contains a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. This means that plants with a higher THC level than this are not legal. According to U.S. law marijuana is defined as a cannabis plant when it contains more than 0.3 percent of THC. CBD products and hemp oil come from industrial hemp plants.

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