Hemp vs. Cannabis, what’s what?
With the up and coming legalization of Cannabis, and the frequent buzz in the media, often times it can become tough to understand all of the nuances. You might find yourself walking through a store and seeing hemp products advertised in lotions, food products, clothing, and all sorts of other things. If this is shocking to you, no need to worry, we’ve got you covered. The key difference between the two is how they have been bred. These two names are actually two different names for the same plant, but are classified differently both in law, and in their purpose of cultivation.
So what’s the difference?
Hemp and Cannabis are often used interchangeably, because they are the same species of plant taxonomically “Cannabis Sativa”. This plant has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years, starting in Asia and spreading throughout the world. A major reason for the cultivation of this plant is that is has dual properties, also known as being “dioecious”. This means that the Cannabis Sativa plant actually has both a Male and Female counterpart, needed for reproduction. The female plant is referred to as Cannabis or Marijuana, and the Male plant is known as Hemp or Industrial Hemp.
Upon recognizing that the flowers produced by the Female Cannabis Sativa plant have psychoactive effects, the ancient cultivators started to separate them from the taller non-flower producing Male plants for their medicinal value. The Female plants that contain psychoactive chemicals called cannabinoids are what we refer to as Cannabis, or Marijuana. The flowers produced by Cannabis plants contain high concentrations of a chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive chemical. This chemical is the main reason for the ‘high’ associated with Cannabis. Aside from being used for recreation, this chemical can also be used medicinally alongside the plethora of other phytocannabinoids found in the flowering plants, like CBD, CBN and CBG.
On the other end we have the male plants, which are the ones known as Hemp. These plants have little to no traces of the psychoactive chemicals found in their female counterparts but do tend to produce higher amounts of CBD; a non-psychoactive compound often used to treat medical ailments such as parkinson’s disease and many others. This compound has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiemetic and many other medicinal properties that can be used to treat people’s ailments. It’s a natural source for all of these medicinal properties. If this doesn’t sound good enough already, it also has many uses as an industrial crop outside of its medicinal value. It can be used as an incredibly strong building material to make bricks, textiles and fabrics, oils and many other healthcare products such as soap and lip balms, and can even be incorporated into the dier because it’s so high nutrient density.
Is it okay to buy and have hemp products in my home?
The short answer is yes, and it’s honestly good to support this industry as it’s a non-invasive crop that has high yields with low environmental impact. As the stigma behind Cannabis as a whole becomes much less prominent and negative, we suspect you’ll be seeing lots more products with hemp in them. The seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids, a great way to boost vitality, as well as both Omega-3 and Omega-6’s for alertness and brain/mental health. Introducing hemp products into your life is a great way to live a more sustainable and overall healthy lifestyle. And if you’re wondering if it’s okay to feed this to your kids? Hemp contains no psychoactive chemicals, so it has no way of getting them high. It’s just like adding chia or flax seed to their diet.
I thought Cannabis was illegal still, what about hemp?
Back in 1923 in Canada, under the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act, it outright banned the cultivation of both Hemp and Cannabis outside of the use of research, by grouping the two together. Hemp farmers were well aware that the crops they were producing had little to no psychoactive effects, but the law makers were too focused on eradicating the recreational use of THC producing flowers, and did not want to hear anything about the benefits of the production of hemp. The first license to produce Hemp in Canada for commercial use was in May 1998. According to the Canadian Government, “In the 1980s and 1990s, there was increased interest in the cultivation of industrial hemp as a potential source of new jobs in the agricultural and industrial sectors. As well, there was an increased need to develop alternative sources of fibre. Research conducted between 1994 and 1998 showed it could be successfully grown in Canada as a separate entity from cannabis (marijuana). With the demand and encouraging research findings, Health Canada chose to give the agricultural and industrial sectors the opportunity to grow and exploit industrial hemp in a controlled fashion. Laws were amended to allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp”
So what’s the deal with Marijuana then?
Marijuana is currently still illegal and considered a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Drug and Substance act. This incriminates the users, growers and dealers involved when it comes to the use of Marijuana, unless medically prescribed, for up to 5 years maximum. The new Liberal Canadian government has plans to change this though, in hopes that they can legalize and regulate Cannabis to get it out of the hands of youth, and to educate the population on safe use and general knowledge about the substance. This also means that the Cannabis that people are using will be regulated and safer on the consumer end. Justin Trudeau said that he plans to wipe anyone who has been incriminated with charges pertaining to Cannabis once it becomes legal, short of anyone who has been involved with trafficking or production of the illegal plant. The legalization of Marijuana is great for medical patients as well, because it generates lots of profits which will incentivize companies to do more research into the plant and the medicinal value of the chemicals found in it.
Chief Executive Officer
PUF co. edibles