While countries such as Canada and Uruguay have recently legalised the consumption of cannabis products for both medical and recreational use, the Farm Bill passed in 2018 by the United States congress only allows the legal consumption of hemp products at a federal level.
While this might seem like good news for Canadians and Uruguayans and bad news for Americans, the fact is that most CBD products advertised and sold online or at physical dispensaries comply with the new regulations put in place in the United States. But what exactly is the difference between hemp, cannabis and marijuana? The answer is here:
This term is used to refer to all the varieties of the Cannabaceae family of plants. It comes in three different species: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis; the first two being the most common and well-known. Although the word is commonly associated with plants having psychoactive effects, cannabis plants have been grown for centuries as a natural fibre to manufacture baskets, ropes and other products.
Apart from its leaves, which can be smoked for either recreational or medical purposes, other parts of the cannabis plants such the seeds are sold as food products due to their high concentration of proteins and calories. In the United States, cannabis seed protein powders are becoming popular among gym-goers and professional athletes.
While cannabis is a general term used for all varieties of a plant, hemp is a specific strain of the Cannabis Sativa species. Apart from being one of the fastest growing plants in the world, hemp is well-known for its wide range of uses which include -for instance- the production of textiles, clothing, food, biofuel and even construction materials.
When it comes to its medical purposes, hemp is used to manufacture CBD products due to its low amounts of THC. Hemp plants therefore contain very little psychoactive components and are therefore allowed grow in countries where high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabidiol are illegal.
In the CBD industry, many companies offer hemp seed oils to treat a wide range of physical and neurological conditions. Products such as CBD skin and muscle creams, CBD gummies and sublingual CBD tinctures are used by thousands of patients from all around the world to treat chronic pain, anxiety, stress and other conditions without the secondary effects associated to traditional pharmaceutical remedies.
While seeds contain less cannabinoids and terpenes than leaves or plants, they are effective due to their high absorption rates and relatively easy extraction processes.
Although not recognized by any scientific organization, the term “marijuana” has become a part of the cannabis-related vocabulary for decades. This word refers to the varieties of cannabis plants which contain more than 0.3% of THC and are therefore considered psychoactive.
In the United States, marijuana -or psychoactive cannabis products- are legal in certain states, but their consumption is usually forbidden in countries and territories all around the world. To differentiate between legal and illegal products, companies selling non-psychoactive extracts derived from the cannabis plant often prefer to use words such as “hemp” or “CBD” instead of marijuana.
Nowadays, some social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram continue banning paid advertisements containing words such as “cannabis” or “marijuana”, pushing many industry players to find related terms which are not necessarily used according to their exact definition.