Hemp and CBD are cropping up in just about everything from beauty products to snacks to ointments these days. But as the hype grows, so does the confusion. Are hemp and pot the same thing? Does CBD get you high?
Here’s the lowdown on the difference between marijuana and hemp, and the products made from them.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana technically come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The cannabis plant contains some 500 compounds and cannabinoids make up about 100 of them. Two of the most well-known cannabinoids out there: CBD and THC.
Different cannabis plants are bred to contain different amounts of CBD and/or THC. The plants we know as marijuana are bred specifically to contain CBD and/or THC. However, “the form of the cannabis plant we know as hemp is bred to naturally not contain appreciable amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive compound in the plant people are after when they want a high,” explains Leslie Mendoza Temple, M.D., A.B.O.I.M., medical director of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Integrative Medicine Program. THC-free hemp plants are referred to as ‘industrial hemp.’
The various products out there that are made from or contain industrial hemp use two forms of the plant: its oil or its extract. And though they’re produced from the same plant, they’re not the same thing.
Hemp oil, which you may find bottled and in beauty products, is made by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, explains Janice Newell Bissex, M.S., R.D.N., culinary nutritionist and holistic cannabis practitioner at JannabisWellness.com.
“It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamin E,” she says. Think of hemp oil like you’d think of olive oil: a healthy, antioxidant-rich, plant-based fat that can support your healthy diet.
Related: How To Add Hemp To Your Diet
Even in hemp plants bred to be higher in CBD, the cannabinoid isn’t found in the seeds, so hemp oil made from these plants is still more of a salad dressing ingredient than anything else.
You’ll find hemp extract in everything from beauty products to dietary supplements, as it supports healthy skin, immunity, and cardiovascular health. It’s made from the seeds, stalk, and sometimes flowers of the hemp plant, and contains minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus, vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
If made specifically from industrial hemp, hemp extract does not contain the cannabinoids CBD and THC, says Bissex. However, it may contain other cannabinoids and plant compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid system, which regulates our brain, immune, and hormone function. Through this system, hemp extract helps modulate our body’s response to stress and promote a sense of well-being. Harness your own endocannabinoid system and reap the benefits with a supplement like one of HempFusion‘s hemp extracts, now available at The Vitamin Shoppe.
One of the cannabis plant’s 100-plus cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol) has exploded in popularity lately.
Why? The compound supports our endocannabinoid system (a.k.a. ECS), which helps our body maintain a state of homeostasis, or balance. It essentially connects our body and mind by helping different cells communicate. Ultimately, the ECS affects everything from our nervous system to our immune system to all of our organs. Research suggests keeping our endocannabinoid system balanced supports our well-being in a number of ways.
That’s where CBD Hemp Extract comes in. CBD blocks the breakdown of AEA, a molecule known as the ‘bliss molecule,’ which is crucial for a happy endocannabinoid system. For this reason, CBD Hemp Extract acts as a defense for our endocannabinoid system—and overall health.
Plus, since CBD Hemp Extract is not psychoactive, it offers these benefits without the high. You’ll find it in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants bred to contain higher amounts of the cannabinoid, but less than 0.3 percent THC.
Though legislation and research on the cannabis plant continue to develop, it’s clear that CBD supports a balanced endocannabinoid system—and that’s huge for our health.