Consumers are often confused about the differences between hemp CBD vs cannabis CBD, thanks in part to the inaccurate use of the names. The main thing to know is that plants labeled “cannabis” typically contain THC, the chemical ingredient that gets you “high,” while those labeled “hemp” contain only trace amounts of THC if any at all.
Thanks to a provision in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill passed by Congress, CBD is legal from sea to shining sea. But that only applies to hemp CBD products. Those produced from other cannabis strains are illegal – although that can depend on where you live in the U.S.
Confused? You won’t be after reading the following step-by-step look at the difference between hemp CBD vs cannabis CBD.
The Difference Between Cannabis and Hemp
Hemp is not a separate plant from cannabis, it is one plant from the cannabis family. Cannabis has three primary species: indica, sativa and ruderalis. Hemp is a strain of the sativa species of cannabis. The key difference with hemp is that it only contains trace amounts (if any) of THC.
However, on the market, most products are labeled either hemp or cannabis, even though hemp actually is cannabis. That’s done to separate those that contain THC from those that do not.
Differences Between Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD
The main difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD is also the main difference between hemp and cannabis: THC.
To be legal under federal law, hemp can only contain 0.3% of THC. Cannabis plants that have more than 0.3% THC are illegal under federal law. That’s why most CBD products are from hemp, not cannabis. These products have many wellness and health benefits, but they will not get you high.
The federal government still views cannabis CBD products as illegal, because cannabis remains a Schedule I illegal drug, according to federal law. This applies even if the product itself has low amounts of THC. It’s the level of THC in the plant that the product comes from which is considered by federal law.
Legality Depends on Location
Eleven states have now legalized recreational marijuana. That means that if you live in those states, you can buy both hemp CBD and cannabis CBD products. The thing to remember is that the former will not get you high, but the latter very well may depend on the product.
As with everything involving cannabis, the patchwork quilt of laws across the country has made it more complicated to understand. But there remains a strong interest in CBD products. They have been found in various studies to help manage pain, inflammation, anxiety and even depression. They also can be used with both humans and pets.
Next time you shop for CBD, look for whether it contains THC. That way, you will know whether it is hemp-derived CBD or cannabis-derived CBD. Now that you understand the difference, you can make a more informed decision.