With so much misinformation on the internet about CBD oil, one of the most common questions we get from consumers is asking what the difference is between CBD from marijuana vs CBD oil from hemp.
To the untrained eye, there may not appear to be any difference between CBD from marijuana vs CBD oil from hemp, but there are actually quite a few notable distinctions between the two. At Medical Marijuana, Inc., our CBD products are derived from hemp, giving users a legal, safe and high-quality way to experience the benefits of CBD products.
Marijuana vs. CBD Oil from Hemp
First, let’s look at the basic differences between marijuana vs CBD oil from hemp.
CBD Hemp Oil:
- Contains high levels of CBD
- Federally legal in the United States
- Non-intoxicating, with no psychoactive effects
- Can be legally purchased both online and in stores
- Contains high levels of THC
- Legal only in certain states, such as California and Colorado
- Federally illegal
- Intoxicating, with psychoactive effects
- Available from marijuana dispensaries only in states where marijuana is legal
Despite these important differences, many prospective cannabis consumers are surprised by the number of similarities between hemp and marijuana. However, the resemblance should come as little surprise, since both hemp and marijuana are versions of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. As we dig deeper into the two types of cannabis plants, we begin to see how they can each play a role in the use of cannabis.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a cannabis plant that is most frequently harvested for its euphoric, intoxicating, and psychoactive properties, which are responsible for making users feel high or stoned. The fibers and stalks of marijuana are not used commercially. Instead, the marijuana plant is cultivated specifically for its flowers, which contain the highest levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in the plant. THC is the compound that is responsible for making users experience psychoactive and intoxicating effects.
To maximize THC levels in marijuana, it’s often grown indoors so that conditions like light, temperature, and humidity can be closely monitored. Any male marijuana plants are removed to prevent the female plants from becoming fertilized, which lowers the plant’s concentration of THC. When compared to hemp, which grows to be very tall, marijuana typically grows shorter and bushier and features lots of flowers. Though, some variation does exist.
Through selective breeding, varieties or strains of marijuana can contain THC concentrations that usually range from 10 percent to 30 percent, and sometimes even higher! Marijuana is naturally lower in CBD than THC, although some breeders have worked to increase the amount of CBD produced by some marijuana plants.
Since marijuana contains high levels of THC, the use and possession of marijuana, whether for recreational or medical reasons, remains federally illegal in the U.S.. However, some states have passed laws that have legalized marijuana use under certain conditions.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a cannabis plant that is harvested commercially for its seeds and stalks. Hemp seeds and stalks are incredibly useful and versatile, as they are used to produce a number of products. Some of the most common hemp products include food, medicine, body care products, paper, textiles, building materials, plastic composites, and even biofuels. Depending on which parts of the plant hemp oil is made from the amount of CBD found in hemp will vary. Hemp can produce everything from nutritious hemp foods and hemp seed oil to CBD oil.
Since hemp plants thrive under natural conditions, hemp is typically grown outside. Both male and female plants are sown closely together to encourage wind pollination and increase seed production. The hemp plant grows sturdy and tall without the need for herbicides or pesticides, typically standing somewhere between 2 to 4 meters in height.
For cannabis to be legally considered hemp, it must contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per dry weight. THC is the active compound in marijuana that causes its euphoric effect. The level of THC in hemp is 33 times less than the least potent marijuana strains, so it’s impossible for hemp to intoxicate a user.
Unlike marijuana, hemp is naturally higher in cannabidiol (CBD), one of over 100 cannabinoids that have so far been identified in the cannabis plant. CBD is non-intoxicating and therefore won’t cause a high, making it safe for use by anyone, regardless of age.
You can learn more about the difference between CBD and THC on our Cannabis 101 page.
What Are the Benefits of CBD from Hemp?
While CBD from hemp and marijuana are more or less identical on a molecular level, CBD from hemp has a few notable benefits. Since hemp recently became federally legal, the CBD from hemp will soon be more highly regulated in the United States. Since they can flourish without chemical additives, hemp plants often contain less potentially harmful pesticides and toxicants on the plant. That means it may be safer to consume CBD from a hemp plant, versus the risk of using CBD from marijuana.
Another benefit of hemp is the much lower THC level. Hemp has no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. That way, users of CBD oil from hemp can avoid any intoxicating or psychoactive effects.
What Are the Benefits of CBD from Marijuana?
One of the main benefits of CBD from marijuana is the quantity of CBD. Marijuana tends to have more resin than hemp plants, which also means that marijuana tends to have a higher amount of CBD than hemp plants. To successfully extract CBD oil from hemp, a much larger quantity is needed than the amount needed for marijuana. However, the difference between CBD from hemp and marijuana becomes negligible once extracted from the plants.
Should I Buy CBD from Hemp or Marijuana?
So now that you know the difference between CBD from marijuana vs CBD oil from hemp, which of the two options should you choose? Below, we identify some key factors to consider when deciding between CBD from marijuana vs CBD oil from hemp.
The Potency of the CBD Oil
One of the misconceptions about CBD hemp oil products is that CBD from hemp oil is less potent than cannabis oil or CBD oil made from medical marijuana. While it is true that the percentage of CBD in hemp plants by dry weight is lower than the percentage of CBD in some specially bred marijuana plants, once the oil is extracted from the plant, this difference becomes negligible.
Hemp cultivars (varieties) also grow much faster than marijuana, so while an intensively bred high-CBD medical marijuana strain would take a full season to grow, a hemp farmer can create a more environmentally sustainable and conscious product.
Amount of Possible Contaminants in the Plant
While it has been warned that hemp is a bioaccumulator (absorbs and collects contaminants), it needs to be noted that all cannabis plants, including marijuana strains, are bioaccumulators. A marijuana crop grown with poisonous pesticides or fertilizers is more dangerous to a consumer than a cleanly grown hemp crop, and with minimal regulations in many legal marijuana markets, there is no guarantee that marijuana bought from dispensaries is healthy to use. Recently in Colorado, there have been a number of recalls for marijuana grown with dangerous, unapproved pesticides.
This is the precise reason that Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s CBD hemp oil is grown free of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and is extracted using a supercritical CO2 process regarded as safe by the FDA. Our hemp oil is also Triple Lab Tested® during our cultivation, extraction, and manufacturing processes to ensure our oil’s quality and protect the health of our customers.
“Industrial Hemp” Misconceptions
Some cannabinoid users also get caught up with the idea that CBD hemp oil is made from “industrial hemp”, a point we have addressed before. There is nothing inherently dirty about industrial hemp, and as mentioned above, products made from hemp oil have the potential to be cleaner and purer than medical marijuana products.
The Importance of Lab Testing the Product
On a molecular level, CBD from hemp is the same as CBD from marijuana. Franjo Grotenhermen of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines has been quoted saying, “CBD is CBD. The human body does not care where the molecule comes from.” Water makes a good analogy here. As far as your body is concerned, an H2O molecule is the same, whether it comes from a rushing river or out of your kitchen tap. In the same vein,10 mg of CBD from hemp oil is absorbed the same as 10 mg of CBD that you’d find in a marijuana dispensary. And just like with river water and tap water, neither hemp or marijuana is guaranteed healthier than the other, and much depends on outside factors. This makes our independent Triple Lab Tested® process all the more critical to the safety of our customers.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect, mentioned in Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special Weed, emphasizes the need for a range of cannabinoids and other compounds in cannabis in order to be effective. The fact is that hemp, like marijuana, contains measurable amounts of a number of terpenes and cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. However, the levels of THC in hemp oil are low enough not to be intoxicating, making hemp a legal, more viable alternative for many to high-THC marijuana.
Avoiding the Psychoactive Effects of THC
Since CBD hemp oil products are legal at the federal level in the U.S., they fill an important role for those who can’t access marijuana in their state. CBD hemp oil is also an alternative to marijuana for those who are interested in using CBD but are looking to avoid the negative effects of psychoactive THC.
Passing a Drug Test
CBD hemp oil with trace levels or no detectable amounts of THC is also beneficial for those concerned about the need to pass a drug test. Marijuana CBD oil can have higher amounts of THC, which increases the likelihood that you could fail a drug test. Hemp CBD oil has little to no THC, which means you are in little danger of failing a drug test when used at suggested servings.
Types of CBD Oil Products Available
Now that you know the difference between CBD oil and marijuana, let’s take a look at the types of CBD products you can buy. Medical Marijuana, Inc. brands like Real Scientific Hemp Oil®, Dixie Botanicals®, and HempMeds® include innovative CBD products like CBD oil concentrates, CBD capsules, CBD liquids and tinctures, CBD vapes, and more.
All of our products are made using our non-GMO hemp oil, extracted using safe CO2 and Triple Lab Tested® to ensure quality and safety in all our CBD products. You can learn more about how we make our top quality CBD oil products here.
You can also find more about our line of CBD products by clicking on the links below:
- CBD Oil Concentrates
- CBD Capsules
- CBD Liquids and Tinctures
- CBD Topicals for Skin & Hair
- CBD Isolate
- CBD Vape Oil
- CBD for Pets
You can shop the complete line of CBD products from Medical Marijuana, Inc. now by visiting our online CBD store.
Learn More About CBD From Marijuana vs. CBD Oil From Hemp
With so much contradicting information available online, it is important for consumers to do their own research from trusted sources. To see if low-THC, high-CBD hemp oil is right for you, read our introductory overview of CBD oil.