Hemp, Cannabis & CBD: What’s the Difference?

June 02, 2020

The increasing publicity on hemp, CBD, and cannabis products has caught the attention of businesses across the world. While the idea of venturing into this marketplace is quite luring, businesses need to research and understand the relationship between hemp, CBD, and cannabis and the laws and regulations applying to products derived from these substances.

Hemp and cannabis are two types of cannabis plants. Cannabis contains many chemical compounds, but the two most popular compounds are Tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] and Cannabidiol [CCBD]. Read further to understand the difference between hemp, CBD & cannabis.


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Hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant that’s explicitly bred to produce fiber for making clothing and other materials, such as seeds and oils. Hemp has an extremely low THC content- so low that it cannot get one high. 

Since the late 1970s, the Controlled Substance Act made it illegal to grow both marijuana and hemp. However, that changed with the enactment of the Agriculture Improvement [Farm Bill] Act of 2018, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived products. The Act empowers states to regulate the production and sale of hemp products under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 


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Cannabis is an overall term that includes marijuana and hemp. It covers the family of hemp and marijuana plants. They all come from the same plant species, which is the Cannabis sativa. However, there has been a lot of debate about the species and its strains. Some people say cannabis is a single species, while others believe that cannabis has up to four distinct varieties: namely, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis afghanica, and Cannabis Indica.

 It’s worth mentioning that when someone says cannabis, they could be referring to either hemp or marijuana. You can easily get your Maryland medical card and shop for your medicine from trusted sources. 


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CBD and THC are the most popular phytocannabinoids. CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is extracted from the sticky resin of the plant. CBD is non-psychoactive, and it produces mild to no side effects. As a result, everyone is obsessed with it. CBD is known to alleviate inflammation and anxiety. It is also not addictive, like some prescription drugs.

Since CBD doesn’t make one high, it is more appealing than products that contain THC, which is psychoactive. CBD is not regulated by federal law, but the laws that govern its use vary from one state or country to another.  

Research about CBD is ongoing. But according to World Health Organization [WHO], CBD can be used to treat multiple sclerosis, mental illness, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, nausea, pain, Parkinson’s disease, complications from diabetes, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory disease, infection, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and so much more.

Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] recently approved Epidiolex to treat childhood epilepsy. Epidiolex contains highly purified CBD and only a few amounts of THC. The CBD compound can be put into oils and tinctures for under-the-tongue use, or in gummies, beverages, and candies for consumption. There are no significant side effects of CBD. However, it could cause a dry mouth.