Meet our two plant sisters, Hemp and Cannabis who are both from the Cannabis Sativa family. Although these sisters are related and have some similarities, they are also very different with their own personalities, characteristics and chemical compounds.
Why does the one sister have the same name as her parent? Well, could you imagine having a nickname like Marijuana that carried decades of untruthful propaganda, criminalization, old stigmas, stereotypes, lies, misunderstanding, a bad rap and shunned from society with racists undertones? And now everyone is slowly coming around, embracing the term Cannabis and exploring its many benefits?
It’s time to reclaim, redefine and carry on the legacy of this plant and this is no different than a father whose name is Peter, also naming his son Peter II out of tradition, honor and keeping the family name. Hopefully that comparison clears up any confusion as the names Cannabis, Hemp and Marijuana are often used interchangeably.
The sisters are similar as they both have cannabinoids (also known as phytocannabinoids – phyto “of a plant”), terpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids and other compounds. The cannabinoids they possess interact synergistically with our own endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is OUR body’s central regulatory system and probably the most important biological system on earth that doctors and scientists are still learning about. Interesting we have an endoCANNABINOID system and CANNABINOIDS come from these two plant sisters, yet we don’t have a Nyquil system nor a Prozac system. Go figure.
The cannabinoids these two sisters have, interact with cannabinoid receptors in our system signaling, controlling and regulating a vast range of functions like sleep, pain, mood and much more.
So what’s the biggest difference between these two sisters? The one sister Hemp has less than <.3% THC (the cannabinoid that produces the intoxicating effects or makes you feel high) whereas Cannabis has more of the chemical compound THC, 10%+. Hemp also has many reported industrial uses, 22,000+ and counting and is an important plant that can aid our planet in crisis.
Another major difference, Hemp is legal in the United States in passing the Farm Bill this past December of 2018. The Farm Bill ensured it had a provision that made industrial Hemp legal, removing it from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and now acknowledging Hemp as an agricultural commodity. Although legal at the federal level, there are differences in regulation on a state by state basis which only adds to the confusion.
For example, Hemp-derived CBD (grown at the legal limit of .3% THC) and popping up at your local CVS and Bed Bath and Beyond, is legal on a Federal level as long as it’s produced within the regulations defined by the law. Let’s set the record straight, as it is a common misconception that the passing of the Farm Bill legalized CBD regardless if it came from Hemp or Cannabis but that is simply NOT TRUE. CBD from Cannabis is illegal and only purchased at a dispensary. It is an absolute must to know how your state embraces and treats hemp-derived CBD. In states like Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho, hemp-derived CBD is still illegal. At the moment, she’s not invited, and those States are regrettably missing out.
For Cannabis, it’s a bit more complicated and confusing. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law but at the state level, policies vary greatly on legalities for medical use vs. recreational use or both. The good news, as ‘she’ grows, there is a shift in legalization across the states but what does that mean? Each state varies on legal medical use, recreational use, both and some states are still fighting for the right to legalize anything. At least the conversations are happening and there is more of an openness to understand, learn and regulate. Again, it’s important to understand what is legal in your state as the landscape is ever changing and evolving. We feel you Cannabis, you should be monitored but at least allowed to the party like Alcohol or Opioids. And wait a minute, you’re at least a natural alternative that can also benefit our planet? Create new jobs? Decriminalize those on a misdemeanor? Feed people? Clothe people? House people? And potentially HEAL people???
Back to these amazing plant sisters and ingesting a bit of CBD oil to calm the nerves… each sister is unique, while Cannabis has many medical benefits, likes to relax and have a good time, Hemp also has many medical benefits and provides countless industrial uses. However, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface on de-stigmatizing, re-familiarizing, uncovering truths, applying clinical research, discovering more about these two sisters and how their cannabinoids interact within the endocannabinoid system. The combinations of the various cannabinoids, terpenoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds are vast, and one thing is for sure, we cannot wait to see what these sister plants have in store for our future.