Hemp…. Weed? – are both plants the same?
Despite technically being part of the same Cannabis-Sativa family, they have some important differences.
While there are several different varieties of cannabis, hemp is non-psychoactive and typically contains less than 1% of THC. What does this mean? It means smoking/ingesting hemp will not get you high, in the traditional sense. Let’s repeat in another way: smoking/ingesting hemp-based food will not get you inhibriated.
But hey, that definitely doesn’t make it devoid of value! Hemp is one of the most sustainable and multifaceted crops grown in North America–not to mention one of the oldest! Prior to prohibition, industrial hemp was mandated to be grown by every farmer in the U.S. and was used in producing everything from textiles and paper to rope and food. As it contains trace to zero amounts of THC, it is therefore unable to get people “high,” so if you munch on a few spoonsful of hemp hearts, sorry: don’t expect to get blasted.
And besides, though they do not contain much, if any, THC, hemp plants are capable of producing the non-intoxicating and therapeutic compound cannabidiol (CBD) in high concentrations, which can provide other beneficial side effects, such as pain-relief. For many folks, this is a more welcome experience versus one that causes a more significant shift in the state of mind.
Hemp is also a major player in the textiles industry, whereas cannabis does not have the same properties that provide appropriate material. Recognized for its durable and long-lasting natural fibre, the plant’s stalks are processed in a wide range of products, from clothing and footwear to furniture and home essentials, such as bed sheets or towels.
Unfortunately, the nuances between hemp and cannabis are commonly misunderstood and though hemp is entirely different in production, appearance and use, it has still been misaligned as a “drug” and for over fifty years, was banned from cultivation, sales and consumption.
But thankfully times have changed and with cannabis legalization, we now have the opportunity to explore and research these variations with free reign, which will only help to further clarify the misinterpretations of these plants and make it all a hell of a lot easier for us to figure out.
By Lucia Stephen