Hemp fibers can be used to make items including paper, clothing, textiles, rope — even building materials. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
For a cleaner burn, consider lighting your hemp flower with hemp wick. Raw hemp wick coated in beeswax offers a slow burn from all-natural materials, which many users say produces a cleaner cannabis flavor than a lighter or match. The more you know.
Callaway, J. C. “Hempseed as a Nutritional Resource: An Overview.” Euphytica , vol. 140, no. 1-2, 2004, pp. 65–72., doi:10.1007/s10681-004-4811-6.
Cannabis played a large role in the Greco-Roman cultures as a source of fiber, intoxication, and medicine. Cannabis seeds were discovered in the ruins of Pompeii, and Greek rhetorician Athenaeus made note of hemp being used to make rope between 170 and 230 CE. Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder also made reference to a cannabis root decoction as a treatment for joint stiffness and gout in the first century BCE.
Although hemp and marijuana are both classified biologically as cannabis, there are a number of important differences between them. Here we’ll break down the anatomy, history, use, and legality of the hemp plant to get to the heart of not only what distinguishes hemp from marijuana, but also what makes it such a viable, versatile commodity.
Are hemp plants just cannabis plants that happen to have less THC? Again, the reality is more complicated. Hemp plants, especially those grown for industrial purposes, tend to look, grow, and act differently than marijuana plants. Marijuana plants tend to be short and “stalky”, with lots of branches and a profusion of small leaves and heavy buds. Industrial hemp plants tend to be taller with skinny leaves, thick stems, and fewer branches.
To understand the relationship between CBD and hemp, we need to recognise once again that the word “hemp” can be applied to several distinct varieties of cannabis plants. Technically, cannabis bred to produce high-CBD flowers for medicinal use would be considered hemp if its THC levels fell below legal limits. Yet, these plants would resemble marijuana plants far more than they would industrial hemp.
Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis sativa. To understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, we need to know a bit about the s ubtypes, or cultivars, of the cannabis plant. Cultivars are breeds of a plant species bred for different purposes. The three types of cannabis cultivars are:
So, are the first two hemp, and the third cannabis? Not quite. It’s more accurate to say that numbers one and two tend to be hemp, while number three tends to be cannabis.
Hemp and cannabis are legally defined by the concentration of THC present in the plant. In the US and Canada, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with THC levels of under 0.3%. In the EU, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with under 0.2% THC. Many European companies aren’t thrilled about this difference; in fact, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has called for these rates to be standardised to ensure fair competition.
Hemp seeds are cultivated from the hemp plant, which is grown predominantly for its seeds and fibers.
They also won’t cause you to fail a drug test. We know that other foods like poppy seeds, which contain trace amounts of opiates, can make you fail a drug test. Certain places actually ask that you don’t eat poppy seed bagels or muffins before testing. But hemp seeds won’t cause the same confusion. A study found that eating hemp seeds had little effect on a person’s THC levels ― and never enough to exceed the levels looked for in federal drug testing programs.
What are hemp seeds, actually?
In the past few years, hemp seeds have gained popularity and have started moving into mainstream markets. These days, you can even find them at Trader Joe’s. People sprinkle them on their salads, blend them into their smoothies, bake them into granolas and even turn them into hemp milk.
But there’s something many people just can’t get over: hemp’s link to marijuana.
As we sprinkle the seeds on top of our salads, we can’t help but wonder: what’s the deal with hemp seeds and THC?