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Hemp Vs Cannabis; 5 Differences You Should Know
Cannabis and hemp are different plants, even though the belong to the same family. The plants look like, grow similar, and are beneficial to humans in so many different ways. But while cannabis has a potential to be an amazing medicinal asset to the human species, hemp proves to be something that could overtake the industrial world and eliminate many harmful substances that we currently use today. Unfortunately, there are still people that don’t get the difference between hemp and cannabis. The following five facts will give you some idea on why the plants are different and you can tell someone next time they tell you that “hemp and marijuana are the same damn thing”.
- Genetics of the plants are different. Cananbis is believed to be one of the oldest domesticated crops around. In our history, it has ben grown from many different uses, from medical to industrial. The plants grew tall and strong and made in to a variety of oils, textiles, and foods. By breeding these plants with other plants, the end result was hemp. But with marijuana, the plants were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred for religious and medical purposes. This led to the highly potent, smokeable form of cannabis. According to Dan Sutton of Canadian Tantulus Labs, “The core agricultural differences between medical cannabis and hemp are largely in their genetic parentage and cultivation environment”.
- Cannabis plants contain cannabinoids, which research has shown that over 60 cannabinoids exist in the plant. THC is the most well known, followed closely by the ever growing in popularity, CBD. Marijuana contains high levels of this substance, while hemp does not. Countries such as Canada that allow the production of hemp classify the plant as any cannabis plant having less than 0.3% THC. Any plant with higher THC levels is considered cannabis. However, if you’re looking at CBD, hemp contains more of this compound. Not only that but CBD reportedly negates the effects of THC, differentiating the plants even more.
- Since marijuana and hemp are grown for two separate purposes, the way that they are grown differs as well. “Medical cannabis has been selectively bred over generations and its characteristics are optimized in its cultivation environment to produce female flowering plants that yield budding flowers at the flowering stages of their life cycle,” says Sutton. Hemp plants are also primarily male, without ever getting the heavily resonated buds that the marijuana plant gets. When growing marijuana for THC purposes, the grow environment must be kept at optimal conditions. Everything including light, humidity, CO2, oxygen, and temperature must be monitored carefully in order for the plants to produce the highest amount of THC possible. Hemp does not need these conditions and can grow quickly and healthy without such supervision.
- Even though the US Government schedules both hemp and marijuana as Schedule 1 substances, it is legal in the US to import hemp products from China, Chile, and the European Union. According to the Hemp Industry Association, there are about $500 million worth of hemp products imported in to the state every year. Marijuana is still not legally grown in most places and is subject to much stricter rules.
- Laws restrict the study of cannabis, limiting the research that could benefit the entire human race. But even though the laws are tough, people are still researching. Developments in hemp technology are looking at developing types of renewable plastic that will be a great replacement for the plastic used in car parts. Researchers at the University of Alberta even created a supercapactior using raw hemp material, which would lead to the making of cheap, fast charging batteries made from hemp.
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