Q: What is the difference between marijuana, cannabis, hemp, and CBD? Do they mean the same thing? – Questioning CannaGirl
A: I certainly understand your confusion and you are not alone. Let’s start with a few basic facts and common cannabis vocabulary. You’ll be cannabis-fluent in no time!
First, regarding the differences between cannabis and marijuana: there are none! Cannabis is the name of a group of plants. Marijuana is the slang term that was associated with cannabis use in minority populations (mostly Mexican workers and African-American jazz musicians) during Prohibition.
Cannabis plants are divided into four categories:
• Sativa plants are tall and thin with slim leaves. They are known to provide energy and focus.
• Indica plants grow short and bushy with broad leaves. They are used to tamp down anxiety and promote sleep.
• Ruderalis is a recently discovered, small plant found in Eastern Europe and Russia. It flowers after a set time and is often used to create hybrid plants.
• Hybrids are by far the most popular cannabis plants. They are grown specifically to produce varying results through the combination of sativa, indica, and ruderalis plants.
Cannabis plants are loaded with more than 100 cannabinoids, chemical compounds that create different reactions in the human body. The two most popular and prominent are THC and CBD.
THC, tetrahydrocannabinol (tet-ra-hydro-ca-nab-in-all) causes euphoric effects. Some say that it mimics the effect of a “runner’s high” and can sometimes cause a case of “the giggles.”
THC can be used for both medical and recreational purposes. Many CBD users find a small amount of THC helps the performance of CBD-based medicine. THC is the compound that makes recreational cannabis illegal in many states.
CBD, cannabidiol (or can-na-bid-e-all) is the non-intoxicating element that is believed to naturally reduce inflammation. It is primarily consumed as drops or tincture or used in topical forms like lotions and salves. CBD doesn’t cause any psychotropic effects. With the passage of the U.S. Farm Bill of 2018, allowing for the production of commercial hemp (more on that in a minute), CBD is technically legal in all 50 states.
All of these cannabinoids go to work in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors present in vertebrates. When one consumes cannabis, cannabinoids like THC adhere to receptors in the brain and neck, causing euphoria. Other cannabinoids like CBD adhere to receptors in the rest of the body like the immune, nervous and digestive systems, which help reduce inflammation and pain.
Now, back to hemp.
Hemp is a non-intoxicating cannabis plant that contains trace amounts of THC. It also produces a fiber cultivated by humans for nearly 10,000 years. It grows easily, is drought- and bug-resistant, and has amazing consumer and industrial applications in up to 25,000 products.
Hemp oil (extracted from the buds, stalks, leaves, and seeds) is also a great natural source of CBD. When buying CBD products as part of your wellness routine, get hemp oil – not hemp seed oil, which is less potent.
Now that you know the basics, take these terms for a spin and practice your cannabis fluency. You’ll have it down in no time.
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