Hemp vs. Cannabis

You may have heard that hemp and cannabis are two entirely different plants with different properties – prepare for that myth to be totally dispelled.

This myth was propagated (excuse the pun) by the CBD industry, because society, for a long time, had a moral issue with consuming a supplement that came from cannabis – hence came the myth that hemp and cannabis are different.

Cannabis is divided into two main categories, Sativa and Indica.

There are several key differences between Sativa and Indica, including; height, stature, internodal length, leaf size and structure, flower (bud) size and density, photoperiod (flowering time), odor, pharmacological effect, etc.

Indica strains tend to grow shorter and bushier than the sativa plants and have wide, short leaves with short wide blades, with wide and dense flowers.

Sativa strains have long leaves with thin long blades, with less compact flowers.

On average, Indics have higher levels of THC compared to CBD, whereas Sativas have lower levels of THC to CBD. However, huge variability exists within either species, with phenotypical expression leading to dramatic differences within both these species.

The third, lesser-known category, is Cannabis Ruderalis, which is shorter than Indica strains, produces buds which are small and fairly compact, with less abundant foliage, and slightly narrower and fewer leaf blades than Indica strains. However, what sets this category apart from the two others, is that Ruderalis strains reach their flowering cycle regardless of photoperiod i.e. they do not reach maturity based on seasonal changes in sunlight – their maturity is reached based on the age of the plant itself.

European industrial hemp is a sub-species of cannabis sativa – think of it as a close cousin to traditional cannabis sativa. These hemp strains are all listed in the European Common Seed Catalogue (which state the varieties of hemp which are legal for cultivation and sale within the E.U.), and resemble cannabis sativa in nearly every way, except that they generally grow even taller, and have a much lower THC content, but a higher CBD content than Sativas.

This makes industrial hemp the ideal crop for seed and fibre production, as well as for extracting CBD oil.

As a note to the above, many American companies use what they deem to be “hemp”, but in actual fact, they are false advertising according to European standards.

In the U.S., the law states that any plant of the genus cannabis, which contains less than 0.3% THC, is classified as hemp. There is a problem here, because there is now a legal and scientific difference between actual industrial hemp strains, and what the U.S. legal system deems to be hemp.

This allows U.S. companies to cross genetics between different cannabis strains, and come up with strains that contains less than 0.3% THC, but which in no way resemble European industrial hemp, and which are not listed in the Common Seed Catalogue.

So when you’re buying your CBD hemp products, be vigilant. Always ensure the company you’re buying from sources their CBD from certified European industrial hemp (if that’s what you’re going for), unless of course, cannabis is legal in your country, and that’s what you want to consume.

In truth, there is no difference between CBD derived from any type of traditional cannabis strain, or from industrial hemp. What you should be looking for is a product that has been procured from environmentally friendly farms which use no pesticides, with clean extraction processes, and with a confirmed amount of your chosen cannabinoid (in this case, CBD) which can be proven via a 3rd party lab-test.

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