Close this search box.
Home / CBD and Hemp: What is the Difference? (Conclusive Guide)
cbd vs hemp

CBD and Hemp: What is the Difference? (Conclusive Guide)

Table of Contents

As the CBD industry continues to grow, so does the confusion of a layman surrounding it. With a sudden boom in the cannabinoid industry, people who want to benefit from this miraculous compound are heading towards the internet to get themselves educated about it.

But unfortunately, at the moment, most of the information on the web about CBD and hemp is either unclear or even incorrect. In this guide, you’d get every bit of authentic information you need to possess.

First of all, there is a lot of confusion about what is CBD and what is hemp? How are these different, or are these the same? What role does marijuana have to play in CBD products? why these terms are accompanied by the term cannabis most of the time. And is it even safe to use CBD and hemp products?

Before we explore the possible benefits of this myriad of products for you, let’s first have a thorough introduction of these four terms;

What is CBD? What Are Its Benefits?

CBD i.e. cannabidiol is a compound known for its innumerable health benefits for humans. Unlike other cannabinoid compounds, like THC, CBD is not psychoactive. It does not give you a stoned feeling.

CBD acts in human bodies and in the bodies of other mammals by affecting the endocannabinoid system in our bodies i.e. ECS. CBD helps activate the receptors of this system present throughout the body. Under its influence, the ECS produces more of the endocannabinoids i.e. body’s natural cannabinoids. These in turn are helpful in ensuring the proper functioning of a number of bodily functions. It helps maintain homeostasis. And prevents the problems arising from an endocannabinoid deficiency. There are a huge number of functions controlled by ECS in our body and CBD has a great influence on all of these.

  • FDA has so far approved the use of CBD against two rare forms of epilepsy; Dravet Syndrome, and Lennox Gastaut.
  • Besides, it is being used to treat seizures in kids and even pets.
  • It helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • CBD is being used to slow down or halt the degeneration of nerve cells and hence protects the nervous system.
  • It is also used as a remedy against anxiety and depression since ECS  has direct control over our moods.
  • CBD is being used in cosmetics as it is found by many to be effective against various skin related problems.
  • It is a powerful pain killer and anti-inflammatory agent.
  • CBD oils are also used for massage directly on the skin.
  • CBD rejuvenates the hair, skin, and nails.
  • It can be applied directly to the area which hurts to cure the pain.

What is Cannabis?

The term cannabis refers to a broad genus of plants with three major species as its sub-classification. The cannabis genus itself belongs to the Cannabaceae family. Three of its known species are;

  • Cannabis Sativa,
  • Cannabis Indica, and
  • Cannabis Rudaralis.

The species of our interest here are the first two, as CBD has to do with these two species.

So, in short, whenever, you hear the term cannabis, it refers to a genus of plants with further 3 species. Marijuana and hemp are the plants belonging to the species of the cannabis genus. Hence, it is a collective term that includes both hemp and marijuana, unlike the commonly held belief whereby the term cannabis is sometimes used to refer to hemp alone or marijuana alone.


What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a plant that may belong to either the Cannabis Indica species or the Cannabis Sativa species of the cannabis genus. The term marijuana is commonly used today as a psychoactive drug. Its main use is for recreational purposes, although it does have a medicinal value as well.

The main compound found in the marijuana plant that causes a stoned feeling is THC i.e. tetrahydrocannabinol. It is notorious for creating a high, and hence marijuana is mainly smoked in the form of joints. However, THC does have a number of medicinal benefits associated with it. But the main use of this plant’s flowers and leaves is for recreation. This is because, despite being abundant in CBD, the non-toxic and non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, the main source of CBD today is not marijuana. It is rather the hemp plant.


What is Hemp?

The hemp plant belongs specifically to the Cannabis Sativa species of the cannabis genus. Just like marijuana, it is high in CBD. However, it contains considerably lower concentrations of THC. This is why it is preferred over marijuana as a source for the extraction of CBD.

The seeds of the hemp plant are also used for their high medicinal and nutritional value besides the flowers.

cbd and hemp

Differences between Hemp and Marijuana

As mentioned earlier, one of the main differences between marijuana and hemp is the species to which both plants belong. Besides, there are a few other considerable differences between them;

Legal Status

Although marijuana does abound in CBD, its THC content is as high as around 30% per dry weight. On the other hand, hemp has little to no traces of THC while still being abundant in CBD. Its THC component is 0.3% or lower.

This difference of composition in turn dictates the difference in the legality of both plants. According to the state laws of the USA, the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana for making marijuana-based products, is restricted by federal law. This is because THC is termed as a controlled drug capable of being abused. However, some states individually allow the cultivation of marijuana because THC also has some medicinal value.

On the other hand, federal law allows the cultivation of hemp and the sale of CBD products derived from the hemp plant. However, a few states ban even the cultivation of hemp. It is best to refer to the local law before purchasing any CBD product.

Optimal Conditions for Growth

When it comes to growing marijuana and hemp, the required conditions can vary a lot although both belong to the same families. Hemp is relatively easy to grow as compared to marijuana.

The former is grown outdoors and requires very little supervision. Whereas, marijuana is mostly grown in a controlled environment. This is especially true when the aim is to breed some specific varieties for high-quality produce. This requires a controlled temperature range and other factors.

hemp vs cbd

Uses of Marijuana vs. Uses of Hemp

Where CBD and THC are among the main reasons for which hemp and marijuana might be grown respectively, there are other uses associated with the cultivation of plants as well.

The main aim to grow marijuana is to get the THC compound and that means it’s grown for recreation mainly. However, THC is also found to be helpful against anxiety, nausea, and a number of other problems. So, there is a medicinal use of marijuana to some extent as well.

Hemp on the other hand is not limited to medicine only. Where medicinal use of hemp due to its high CBD contents does surpass other uses, there are a number of other benefits as well for which it is cultivated. Some of these include the products for cooking. E.g. hemp flour, hemp seed products, cooking oil, etc. Moreover, it is cultivated for a number of industrial products as well e.g. plastic, paper, clothing, building material, etc.

Common CBD Based Products;

The CBD market today is among the most rapidly flourishing ones. The recent boost in the CBD products’ range is due to the ongoing research on this miraculous compound. Although it is still in the initial stages, the compound has emerged as one of the most commonly used supplements very quickly due to the positive effects experienced by its users around the globe.

A supplement is not the only form in which it is consumed. A myriad of benefits associated with the way CBD affects our ECS system has made it useful in various other forms. In fact, CBD today is found to be used in almost every other product whether these are cosmetics, beauty products, edibles, medicines, and many others. Given below are some of the common ways in which it is used;

Image Source

CBD Oils and Tinctures

These are some of the most common and also the quickest acting ways in which CBD is used. CBD oils and tinctures act fast because these are the highly concentrated forms of CBD.

Mostly, CBD oils and tinctures are used with the help of a dropper. You just have to place a few drops under your tongue and it would take less than 30 minutes to show the results. Moreover, CBD oil is also sometimes mixed with food items. For example, you can put a few drops in your smoothie.

CBD based Edibles

CBD can be even eaten for several health benefits. It is available in the form of CBD cereals, cookies, lozenges, gummies, chocolates, and various drinks.

CBD Capsules and Tablets

A wide range of CBD-based counter supplements can be easily bought at pharmacies. These can be ordered online as well and are also available in CBD-specific stores easily. In appearance, they might look like other conventional supplements. However, they mostly contain CBD oil or isolate.

CBD in Cosmetics

It is due to a wide range of benefits that CBD has found its way in cosmetics as well. CBD is known for its positive impacts on hair, nails, skin, etc. that is the reason, CBD is being used in shampoos, foot creams, massage creams, lotions, facial creams, anti-inflammatory creams for the skin, and so on. These creams are also used to relieve chronic pain when applied directly to the hurting area.

CBD-Based Vape Juices

Vape juices made with CBD oil are also being used in electronic cigarettes. These are meant to be inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of pure CBD vapor. However, those having asthma, allergies, or breathing problems should not refer to this option without a physician’s advice this is because the CBD vape juice is mostly used after being mixed with propylene glycol which can cause breathing issues in vulnerable people.

Water Soluble CBD

Wate soluble CBD is a relatively newer option in the market. Since our bodies are 90% water, the water-soluble CBD will be dissolved more easily. This also means that a lesser concentration of CBD is required. Hence these products are comparatively cheaper and yet more effective. These too can be taken mixed with various drinks and foods.

In short, you can eat CBD, drink it, smoke it, rub it on your skin, or simply chew on it. However, the most common form in which it is consumed still remains to be CBD oil. It is the concentrated CBD mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Moreover, even the CBD oil itself comes in different varieties depending upon the intended use.

It is always advisable that you buy only that one that has its complete ingredient list mentioned on the label. Some are full-spectrum oils which means they have other cannabinoids as well which may include THC also. While others are just concentrated, pure CBD oils.

CBD and Sleep: is there a Promising Relationship?

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil. Are they Different?

As mentioned earlier, the main source of CBD today is hemp alone. Marijuana or other species are mostly banned due to high THC content. This implies that, whenever we use the term CBD oil, it obviously means hemp oil. However, that is not always the case.

In some states, where there are strict laws against the cultivation of marijuana, the manufacturers may intentionally use the term hemp oil instead of CBD oil. This is to make their point even clearer that the CBD in their product is strictly derived from hemp only. In such cases, CBD oil is being used interchangeably for hemp oil. This can be identified easily by reading the label. If it says CBD, it is for sure the CBD oil being labeled as hemp oil out of extra caution.

However, the term hemp oil in most cases is being used for something totally different from CBD oil. In fact, hemp oil in such cases doesn’t have to do with CBD at all. Popular hemp oil is extracted from the hemp seeds and not from the flower. This oil does not contain CBD but is very rich in nutritional value. It abounds with omega 3, antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamin E, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and a lot more.

Hemp seed oil is mostly used for cooking and can also be applied to the skin due to its highly moisturizing nature. Another use of hemp seed oil is in hair care products. It rejuvenates the hair and scalp.

Hemp Seed Capsules vs. CBD Capsules

Just as hemp seed oil and CBD oil are different, hemp capsules and CBD capsules are different products. Where CBD capsules are takes as supplements containing CBD, the letter has frozen and dried hempseed oil. Hence, the hemp seed capsules are devoid o any cannabinoids and are used for their high nutritional value. These are superfoods although they aren’t based on cannabinoids.

Bottom Line: CBD and Hemp

Before you decide to try any over-the-counter supplements, it is important that you educate yourself about their potential benefits and side effects. With so much confusion surrounding the mere terminology in the CBD market, it is important to rely on authentic sources of information. Moreover, you must not rely on anything which does not mention a list of contents on the label. Before you turn to any CBD-based product, never forget to check the legal status of the contents in your home state. It is even more important while you are traveling because every state has different laws.


Share this post