Hemp Versus Cannabis for Cannabidiol Oil?
This article answers a common question among customers looking to reap the many benefits of CBD: Which is better – CBD from hemp or cannabis? In short, hemp is better. We explain why below.
Hemp is Cannabis Too, but …
Both hemp and cannabis (the kind that gets you high) are different species of the same plant, Cannabis sativa L., aka Marijuana. While they are both technically cannabis, cultivation has rendered them to have vastly different properties.
There are two main differences:
1. Appearance: cannabis tends to be bushy and shorter, while hemp is tall and leggy like bamboo.
2. Purpose: we use cannabis mostly for its psychoactive flowers, whereas we use hemp’s stalk and seeds for a variety of other industrial uses.
Cultivators Breed Cannabis to Have a High THC Content, Not CBD
For instance, the cannabis species that we commonly associate with its psychedelic properties have been bred and cross-bred to produce the most potent amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) possible. Over the decades, the potency of THC was 10% THC or less. Currently, THC content of certain strains has beefed up to higher than 30%.
Cannabis also has other naturally-occurring cannabinoids like CBD. However, the process of increasing the potency of THC through breeding had the effect of decreasing the levels of CBD concurrently present. While a medical patient could walk into a dispensary and find a few cannabis strains that are “high” in CBD, that designation can translate to a relatively low number, such as 4% CBD. While some strains are higher, at for instance almost 18% CBD, those strains will also contain a small amount of THC (e.g., 1% THC). Therefore, the public cannot purchase these strains without a valid medical marijuana card, or outside of states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Hemp Generally Will Have a Higher CBD Potency
By contrast, cultivators of industrial hemp grow it for a variety of uses like food, fiber, fabric, paper, and cosmetic products. We derive these products, as well as CBD hemp oil, from the stalk and/or seed of the plant. This portion of the plant is already very low in THC, as opposed to the flower where the highest concentrations of THC occur. In any case, however, hemp plants are inherently very low in THC. By definition, U.S. law requires industrial hemp plants to have less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.
One of the cultivation purposes for hemp is specifically for manufacturing CBD oil. These plants have higher concentrations than what you’d find in cannabis plants, typically ranging over 20% CBD.
Why Choose CBD from Hemp Over Cannabis?
For one, CBD hemp oil has higher concentrations of CBD. As mentioned previously, manufacturers will specifically breed industrial hemp for a high CBD content. While the cannabis plant naturally will not have as high of concentrations.
Second, hemp oil is non-psychoactive, as it has very limited amounts of THC. While some consumers can find cannabis strains with high amounts of CBD versus THC, the availability and quality of those strains will depend on a number of factors.
Third, since it’s non-psychoactive and derived from hemp, CBD hemp oil is commercially available. This aspect makes online sales possible (at least at the moment). By contrast, cannabis is definitively illegal under federal law, making online sales across state lines impossible and within state lines very risky for all parties involved.
In summary, while great strides have been made in cultivating higher CBD concentrations in cannabis plants, there are a variety of reasons why customers would rather opt to choose CBD hemp oil. The most notable reasons are:
- convenience, since CBD hemp oil is more widely available;
- potency, since CBD is higher in hemp than in cannabis; and
- guaranteed non-psychoactivity, since CBD hemp oil will not get you “high” as cannabis can.