With every state being different in their acceptance of both cannabis and hemp products–despite a federal Schedule 1 drug classification of cannabis and full legalization of hemp in 2018–the laws and overall difference between the two can be confusing. It's especially overwhelming for those looking to dabble for the first time, whether recreationally, with a medical marijuana card, or just with the local smoke shop's hemp products. So let’s make a quick comparison between what ultimately are very similar plants with slightly contrasting chemical characteristics.
Hemp and cannabis are two varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. These plants contain various compounds, including cannabinoids, which are known for their therapeutic properties (think Delta XYZ and CBD, CBG, et al). One of the most well-known and studied cannabinoids is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the levels of THC in hemp and cannabis differ, leading to different effects on the body.
Delta-9 THC is the most well-known and studied cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis. However, the levels of D9 in hemp are significantly lower than those in cannabis. The legal definition of hemp in the United States is a plant that contains no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight (to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill). This is in contrast to cannabis, which can contain much higher levels of D9, ranging from 5-30% or even higher.
The difference in the levels of D9 in hemp and cannabis leads to different effects on the body. When D9 is consumed, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, producing a range of effects, including a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and altered perception of time and space. However, because the hemp THC levels are so low, consuming hemp-derived products are unlikely to produce any psychoactive effects.
Besides D9, there are other cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis, such as cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is also known for its therapeutic properties and has been studied for its potential to treat a range of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy. Unlike D9, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects, and may even counteract some of the negative effects of THC in general, such as anxiety and paranoia.
In other words, the bottom line is D9 level. Hemp clocks in pretty low, and cannabis, high (pun intended). This of course, leads to different effects on the body, with hemp-derived products unlikely to produce any crazy psychoactive effects. However, both hemp and cannabis contain a range of other cannabinoids, including CBD, which have therapeutic properties and are the subject of ongoing research.
If you’re looking to try some D9, be sure to check out our very economically-priced Rabbit Hole Delta-9 Gummies, which promise an otherworldly experience. It might not be cannabis, but most people can’t tell the difference.