Have you been told that CBD oils extracted from the hemp plant and marijuana are exactly the same?

Have you heard that you can “get high” with CBD?

Do you think people who use CBD to treat their health problems are only leaning on a substance for escape?

Do you perceive CBD as ‘bad’ because it is derived from hemp, which is part of the Cannabis plant family, the same as marijuana?

Chances are, you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of those questions. And that’s okay. But the reality is, these are common misconceptions when it comes to using and benefiting from CBD oils derived from hemp. Let’s look at three of the main items that set hemp apart from marijuana, even if they are members of the same plant family.

Hemp has a variety of uses. Hemp has been used for hundreds of years and for a number of different products including clothing, paper, and ropes. In fact, according to Chinese legend, the hemp paper-making process was discovered by Ts’ai Lun in 104 AD. Today we continue to discover more uses for hemp. Currently, scientists are beginning to study hemp’s renewable biofuel capabilities, and some farmers use it to feed their livestock. Marijuana, on the other hand, doesn’t garner the diverse usage of the hemp plant.

Hemp has no psychoactive effects. The two most dominant cannabinoids found in Cannabis plants are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is defined as “a cannabinoid devoid of psychoactive effect.” THC, on the other hand, is known for its psychoactive effects. THC is responsible not only for the effects that we associate with being “high,” but also common side-effects such as paranoia, hunger or laughter. This is a major distinguishing factor between marijuana and hemp. While marijuana is rich in THC, hemp contains very little – legally speaking, 0.3% or less. Ingesting CBD allows the beneficial properties of cannabinoids to enter your blood stream to promote healing and overall well-being, without the negative side effects.

Hemp and marijuana plants have different anatomies. Many people believe that the distinction between marijuana and hemp is as simple as male vs. female plant. The truth is, the differences are a bit more complex. While both are part of the Cannabis sativa family and anatomically, hemp and marijuana appear very similar to the untrained eye, there are some clear differences. At a basic level, marijuana has broad leaves, is short and stocky in appearance and has dense buds. In contrast, hemp leaves are skinnier and the plant grows taller. Side by side, these differences become more evident, but it is certainly possible to mistake one plant for the other. And, of course, as previously discussed, the anatomical differences go beyond just the visible physical makeup of the two plants. Each has a unique composition, making each truly distinct from the other.

It’s easy to get confused by the controversy and misconceptions surrounding hemp and CBD oil. As a society, we’ve operated under the perception that anything from within the Cannabis family is bad and falls under the same effects and risk as marijuana. But, the more we study and learn about hemp and CBD, the more we understand the distinct differences between marijuana and hemp and realize the benefits that CBD has to offer.