Immediately after reading this article I realized this is not the difference I was expecting. While the USDA says that it takes a chemical analysis to tell the difference between hemp and medical marijuana, for most of us it would only take 2 seconds to notice the difference between a field of hemp and a medical marijuana grow operation. As far as definition is concerned the two are not so far off from one another. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis and it would seem that the only real difference is that “marijuana” or more recent term “medical marijuana” is classified as a variety of cannabis with a high percent of THC and, occasionally, high CBD as well.
For applications where pure CBD isn’t required, full spectrum CBD oil is the better alternative, as it provides patients the ancillary benefits associated with the many other cannabis compounds. However, important to note, is the issue of what medical conditions are best treated by either pure or full spectrum CBD oil, given the research is in its infancy.
Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the most abundant cannabinoid in most medical and recreational marijuana strains. However, in hemp THC is a minor constituent and appears only in trace amounts under 0.3% by dry weight, as required by the U.S. government for hemp products. THC mimics the action of anandamide, a neurotransmitter naturally produced in the human body, and binds to CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system found mostly in the brain. The extremely low levels of THC in hemp make hemp oil non-psychoactive and safe for all ages to use.
Full spectrum CBD also contains a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids, and fiber. When referring to CBD in the hemp plant, it’s important to understand that hemp contains a large number of cannabinoids (in trace amounts), but the main compound is cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). As CBDa is more abundant in the hemp plant, firms must decarboxylate the oil. This process heats the oil and changes CBDa into CBD.
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