With the legalization of medical marijuana and CBD products in many states, consumers are starting to need to understand the difference between different cannabis products. Are cannabis and hemp the same thing? What about Marijuana?

The good news is this is not a hard question to answer. Once you do understand the differences between cannabis, hemp, and marijuana, it will be easy to shop for exactly the product that you want without any confusion!

So, what is the difference between cannabis, marijuana, and hemp? 

Are Cannabis and Hemp the Same?

Many people think that hemp and cannabis are two entirely different things.  In reality, hemp is just a type of cannabis. It’s bred to contain less than 0.3% THC per federal regulation. In the same way that dogs are wolves, hemp is cannabis.  In this case, hemp is likened to the dog and cannabis to the wolf. 

Cannabis is the plant genus, while hemp and marijuana are subcategories. This means that all hemp is cannabis, but not all cannabis is hemp. CBD products are made from hemp that is specially grown to be harvested for its CBD. 

Hemp is especially good for this because of its low content of THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis. Marijuana, and many other forms of cannabis, have much higher percentages of THC, which is why smoking or consuming products from these strains will result in the “high” that is associated with cannabis. 

Are There Different Kinds of Hemp?  

Now that we know the difference between cannabis and hemp, the question becomes: Is all hemp the same? 

This question often arises when consumers are trying to figure out the difference in quality between CBD products. There is plenty of confusion on this subject, the primary reason being that there are actually several different grades of hemp. The following are the three main varieties from which people make CBD products.

Fiber Hemp:

For thousands of years, humans have grown and harvested Fiber Hemp. It makes strong and durable fiber. Breeding hemp this way has one key drawback though. These crops often lack cannabis’ beneficial plant compounds.  Farmers care more about fiber than cannabinoids in this case.

Fiber Hemp Semi-Rich in CBD:

Fiber hemp semi-rich in CBD yields a slightly better product. It contains up to 10% CBD. Finola, which hails from Finland, is a perfect example of this kind of hemp. It lies somewhere between traditional fiber hemp and cannabinoid/terpene-rich Hemp. All types of fiber hemp generally contain high levels of phytotoxins. Their CBD can be broken down into CBD isolate to reduce the likelihood of side effects resulting from those toxins. Smart consumers avoid those toxins altogether by avoiding this type of source of hemp.

Interestingly, Project CBD considers 3% CBD content a CBD-rich hemp crop.  This allows many companies who use fiber hemp to market products as “CBD rich” in spite of the subpar genetics they use. Fiber hemp semi-rich in CBD lacks substance with regard to terpenes.  It often smells like hay and doesn’t adequately address symptoms and ailments that people turn to CBD for.

Cannabinoid and Terpene-Rich Hemp:

Cannabinoid and terpene-rich hemp is bred specifically for human consumption.  The phytotoxins found in fiber hemp don’t appear in this kind of hemp. Without phytotoxins, no corners need to be cut.  This hemp contains no harmful compounds, to begin with… Manufacturers who use it create full-spectrum, and in turn the most highly regarded CBD products.  Consumers who take CBD seriously seek out these products.


Full Spectrum, the Best Choice:

What does full-spectrum mean? In essence, it means that an extract isn’t a CBD isolate (pure CBD) or a remediated CBD distillate (refined hemp extract). The full-spectrum approach is definitely a superior extraction method since CBD on its own does very little. Some companies still brag that they have the purest CBD when they use isolates for their products.  In reality, that translates to a less effective product, not a more effective one.

If ‘Full Spectrum’ applies to anything other than CBD isolates or remediated distillates, what does this tell us? It tells us that these extractors focus on retaining maximal compounds from the plant rather than just CBD. Companies sometimes advertise that they make ‘Full Spectrum’ products even when using Fiber Hemp as their source material. 

While their assertion contains a grain of truth, they use very low-grade hemp, resulting in a less effective product. Most consumers want a TRUE Full Spectrum CBD product with a complete spectrum of compounds.  If that’s you, choose companies that use premium genetics and extract with ethanol/drinking alcohol.


The Difference Between Cannabis and Hemp: Conclusion

Hemp is cannabis, but cannabis is not always hemp. Pretty simple, right? Once you understand this, shopping for the best CBD product comes down to finding companies that use the best quality hemp products combined with the best extraction methods! 

At 4CC, we are constantly pheno hunting to improve our strains of hemp and testing our manufacturing to bring the highest quality hemp CBD products to you! 


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