The recent legalization of cannabidiol for medical purposes has increased public interest in the nature and effectiveness of the "wonder plant.” While there is a generalized increase in the total number of people who use these hemp oils and other products from hemp extracts, the use of the oil in the USA is still subject to scrutiny since most people believe it can elicit psychoactive activities which lead one complication or the other.
One of the primary reasons why cannabidiol has faced a high level of rejection can be traced to the commonly used sources (hemp and marijuana) for extraction. Even with the recent buzz about hemp oil and hemp extract, there is a growing body of misconceptions about its origin and activities. Some of the most prevailing misconceptions include; the hemp plant is derived from the male plant since it doesn't produce flowers, marijuana is a drug while hemp is an industrial product etc. Although these comparisons may be valid, it can be misleading and may not offer a comprehensive differentiation between the duo. In this article, we shall try to analyze the difference and similarities between hemp and marijuana. Before we go on with the classification and identification, it is pertinent to note that marijuana and hemp are strains of the cannabis plant and may only differ in some characteristics like appearance, chemical content and growth pattern.Please note, this article was not written to discredit hemp or marijuana but for educational purposes only.
Marijuana (cannabis) is a drug derived from the cannabis plant and has been long used as a source of substance for pain relief and other recreational purposes. It is high in tetrahydrocannabinol and has been identified to elicit a wide range of psychoactive activities on the brain. It contains more than 483 different compounds with the cannabinoids as the most active compounds.
This is a strain of Cannabis sativa grown for industrial purposes only. It has a low concentration of THC and is the choice plant during the extraction of hemp oil and plant-based cannabinoids since it contains a high concentration of cannabidiol. Hemp extract has been successfully used in textile, clothing, building materials, composite materials, plastic, paper, cosmetic, cordage and food industries.
The differences between hemp and marijuana can be summarized under the following headings;
Most hemp plants cannot produce flowers; hence, they are regarded as male plants. This was achieved from several years of constant crossbreeding of the cannabis plant to remove unwanted psychoactive activities produced by the cannabis plant. Hemp plants tend to grow faster, taller and hardier than marijuana and may require a controlled environment for proper growth and development.
Marijuana has more THC than other cannabinoids and is illegal in several regions like Colorado and New York states. For this reason, hemp is regarded as a better source of cannabidiol than cannabis whenever the final concentration and purity of the cannabidiol product is a thing of concern.
Since hemp contains little to no THC, (usually less than 0.3%) it is not linked with any adverse psychoactive effects and has been labelled as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA. Marijuana contains as high as 30% THC and may interfere with cognitive responses and impair memory.
Hemp has found use in a wide range of industrial applications and is regarded as the toughest fibre in the world. Recent research shows that scientists are exploring the possibilities of extracting biofuels from the hemp plant.
Hemp was recently removed from the list of illegal substance compiled under the Controlled substance act of 1970 and Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 thus labeling all cannabidiol products with less than 0.3% THC as legal and safe for medical and recreational purposes. At the time of writing this article, cannabis is still regarded as an illegal substance under the Controlled Substance Act.Conclusion
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