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What’s the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

September 22, 2020 • • General

While “cannabis” and “hemp” both refer to the same type of plant, the two terms are not, in fact, interchangeable. Here’s how they differ.

Throughout history, many cultures around the world have used the Cannabis Sativa plant in a variety of ways, including to treat inflammation, provide pain relief, reduce nausea, and more. While cannabis is mostly known for its physiological effects, the plant has a number of other practical uses, too.

Cannabis Sativa plants are cultivated to produce different crops. “Cannabis” and “marijuana” (sometimes known colloquially as “pot” or “weed”) refer to Cannabis Sativa plants that can be cultivated to produce potent resinous glands called trichomes. These delicate, hair-like structures on the plant buds contain natural compounds called cannabinoids, the most well known being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Hemp, on the other hand, refers to varieties of the plant with extremely low levels of THC and CBD. These plants are not harvested for their flowers — instead they’re cultivated for more industrial uses, such for their oils and resilient fibers. Currently, products made from industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC in order to be legally shipped, sold, purchased, or consumed.

The Industrial and Everyday Uses of Hemp

Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant, and appears in everything from apparel to food to cosmetics. The plant can be refined into wax and resin, woven into rope and paper, and even used for fuel.

Hemp is actually one of the
oldest sources of textile fibers, and the plant is highly prized for the length and strength of its fibers. In fact, hemp is so resilient that scientists have been able to recover the intact remains of hemp clothing dating back more than 6,000 years! The plant has a rich history in the U.S., too. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp, and the industry boomed in the 1800s as demand for rope and sail cloth increased.

Hemp has been used to make paper for thousands of years, as well, in part because it resists yellowing and decomposing over time. Not only that, hemp fibers can be recycled seven or eight times, whereas wood-based paper can only be reused three times. An acre of hemp plants can also produce
four times more paper than an acre of trees, requires less energy and fewer chemicals to process, and doesn’t release toxic dioxins, chloroform, or any of more than 2,000 chlorinated organic byproducts of wood-paper processing.

When it comes to personal use, the seeds of the hemp plant are an extremely rich nutritional supplement. They are an
excellent source of essential amino acids and essential fatty acids (EFAs), which help support heart health. The seeds do not contain CBD or THC, and can be eaten raw, pressed into oils, or used as baking flour. Hemp oil is also well suited for hair and skin care because of its many moisturizing and replenishing EFAs, including gamma linoleic acids (GLAs), which have been linked to a variety of health benefits.

Your Ohio-based Medical Cannabis Provider

Cannabis Sativa
plant is a versatile plant with a range of useful applications — including medical marijuana. If you’re ready to find out whether a cannabis-based treatment plan is right for you, contact us today. At Lakewood Medical Clinic, we provide expert medical marijuana services and care in a comfortable and approachable setting. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach, and will work with you to find the most effective solution for your needs and lifestyle.