In recent years, the popularity of CBD products has skyrocketed, clearly demonstrating CBD isn’t just a temporary fad, but rather a prominent and lasting player in the landscape of natural health and wellness solutions.
When you think of CBD, a number of associated words may come to mind, including hemp and cannabis. You may wonder if your CBD product are derived from hemp or cannabis and what the difference between the two is. Hemp and cannabis are both members of the cannabis plant family, but they are distinct in terms of their uses and chemical composition.
Hemp plants typically contain a lot more cannabidiol (CBD) and only trace amounts of THC—the psychoactive compound that produces a high. Cannabis plants (commonly known as marijuana), on the other hand, contain more THC than CBD, which is why smoking cannabis usually results in intoxication, but likely won’t have the same effect as using a CBD product derived from hemp.
From a chemical compound perspective, the CBD found in cannabis and hemp are identical. Most CBD products are derived from hemp due to its much higher concentration of CBD and the already minimal presence of THC.
The exception are some full-spectrum CBD products, which may be preferable for people seeking the entourage effect. Cannabis-derived CBD products may also have a more diverse terpene profile, but from a performance standpoint, terpene diversity or presence isn’t the primary key factor in CBD efficacy.
Hemp CBD Versus Cannabis CBD
Hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD may share the same molecular structure, but they differ significantly in terms of CBD and THC contents and legal regulations.
CBD and THC Content: The primary distinction lies in the levels of CBD and THC, the two most abundant cannabinoids in both hemp and cannabis plants. Hemp typically contains high CBD and minimal THC, usually less than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. On the other hand, cannabis can have varying levels of THC, ranging from a few percent to over 30 percent, and its CBD content can also vary.
Effects and Benefits: The differences in CBD and THC content result in varying effects and benefits. Hemp-derived CBD products are non-intoxicating, meaning they don't produce a "high" or alter perception. People often use them for potential therapeutic benefits like anxiety relief, pain management and overall wellness. Hemp-derived CBD is widely available and can be purchased in many places, including in most states where THC products and cannabis are still illegal.
Cannabis-derived CBD, on the other hand, usually contains higher THC levels, leading to intoxicating effects when consumed in significant quantities. This makes it a primary choice for those seeking recreational use or specific medicinal benefits, like managing severe pain and nausea.
Regulations: The regulation of hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD varies due to their THC content and potential effects.
Hemp-derived CBD products are often available for purchase without restrictions in many states, as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent THC. The lack of psychoactive effects is the primary reason behind its more lenient regulation.
Cannabis-derived CBD products that contain more than 0.3 percent THC are typically subject to stricter regulations. In many states, they can only be purchased in licensed dispensaries and/or only by people with medical marijuana cards. This is because of the psychoactive properties of THC and the alleged potential for abuse or adverse effects. The regulation of cannabis-derived CBD is closely tied to the broader legal status of cannabis, which varies widely across different jurisdictions.
How to Choose High-Quality Hemp-Derived CBD
If you’re looking to experience the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD without getting high or worrying about a failed drug test at work, it’s best to stick to hemp-derived CBD.
When shopping for the right product for you, consider the following tips to ensure you're selecting high-quality hemp-derived CBD:
- Third-Party Testing: Choose products that undergo third-party laboratory testing. This ensures transparency regarding CBD content, THC levels and the absence of contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals.
- CBD Concentration: Check the product's label for the concentration of CBD per serving. This helps you determine the dosage and value for your needs.
- Full-Spectrum or Isolate: Decide whether you prefer full-spectrum CBD (containing a range of cannabinoids and terpenes, including trace amounts of THC) or CBD isolate (pure CBD with no THC). The choice depends on your desired effects and sensitivity to THC.
- Reviews and Recommendations: Read customer reviews and seek recommendations from friends or online communities to learn about others' experiences with specific brands or products.
- Transparency: Reputable companies provide clear information about their products, including their sourcing, testing and manufacturing processes. Transparency is a positive sign of a trustworthy brand.
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