What Is hemp? 5 Things You Need To Know
Posted on June 6th, 2021
What is hemp? Answering this question is very important. In fact, since it’s a form of cannabis, you need to know what constitutes hemp. Or you could be in legal trouble. So, today, we’ll give you 5 key tips to identify hemp. And keep you legally enjoying cannabis extracts.
Before we take a deep dive, let’s get to some basic details. Hemp is a relative of the marijuana plant. It’s bred for high Cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations. And, currently, U.S. farmers grow about 150,000 acres of hemp, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Currently, hemp is the main source of legal CBD in this country. But it also has many other applications. You can find it in textiles, clothing, handbags, diapers, ropes, paper, shampoos, soaps, building materials, carpeting, and other personal care items. Heck, you can even find it the grocery store. Because, today, hemp goes into everything from essential fatty acid food supplements to protein powders. And hemp seeds, hearts, and hemp seed oils form the basis of many popular recipes.
So, what is hemp? And what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana? This comprehensive guide will help get to know this versatile plant on a whole new level. Sound good? Let’s dive in!
What Is Hemp?
Biologically, hemp is part of the cannabis family. We got an official hemp definition from the 2018 Farm Act. As outlines there, we define hemp as any variety or extract of the Cannabis sativa plant consisting of a THC concentration not exceeding 0.3% by dry weight.
Now, there are countless cannabis varieties. You’ve probably heard lots about one kind in particular, intoxicating cannabis. (Called “weed” or marijuana.) But hemp and marijuana aren’t the same. They’re distinguished by their THC concentrations. And, since THC use triggers users’ highs, that’s the reason why hemp extracts aren’t psychoactive. But marijuana products usually are. And now that you’ve got that basic idea, let’s take a closer look at these two cousins.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
While we’ve talked about CBD in cannabis, the plant also produces a wide variety of cannabinoids. And that includes delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Even so, there’s not enough THC in hemp to induce psychoactive effects.
Why is that the case? One of the reasons THC concentrations in hemp are lower may be tied to CBD. Because hemp produces large quantities of that cannabinoid. In fact, hemp-based CBD is quickly turning into a popular supplement in the health and wellness market.
Now, in the United states, industrial hemp doesn’t comprise more than 0.3% THC. But in contrast, the European Union sets that limit at 0.2%. And, on the other side of the spectrum, UK hemp growers can’t cultivate hemp with any THC content. Unless they own a cultivation license, in which case they can follow the 0.2% THC guidelines.
Breaking Down the Parts
With this cannabis variety, there are four main parts: the roots, stalks, leaves and flowers, and seeds. Sadly, the roots are often overlooked. But they could actually be quite useful! In fact, historically, hemp roots treated everything from skin burns to inflammation, fevers and infections. Typically, roots were boiled, juiced or directly applied to patients of all ages. Today, though, we often discard hemp roots.
But that’s not the case with the stalks. We use hemp stalks for paper, textiles, building materials, insulation, rope, and even animal bedding. In fact, some hemp varieties are cultivated specifically for their stalks. In those cases, the plant can grow as tall as 18 ft. (or above), even in a relatively short growing season.
Next up, there’s hemp flowers and leaves. These get lots of attention right now, since they’re our main source of cannabinoids such as CBD. When manufacturers want to create CBD oils or other hemp-extracts, they’ll process hemp leaves or flowers. That’s because these plant areas are where cannabinoids develop. And cannabinoids can’t be found in other parts of the plant. Even in the seeds, although they also have important uses.
Remember, hemp seeds are important health ingredients. Even though they don’t contain CBD. Rich in proteins and nutrients, many health foods include hemp seeds among their ingredients. You could find them in anything from bread to supplement powders and even beer. Hemp flour, milk and dairy products are all popular, too.
Plus, researchers are currently researching other hemp seed applications. One promising area of research seems to be in alternative fuels. Though not ready yet, hemp may one day be a valuable energy source.
How Do We Get CBD from Cannabis?
There’s several different ways to extract CBD. Here at Tanasi, we use a precise, top-of-the-line cold extraction method. Because it optimizes cannabinoid extractions, and leaves behind unwanted compounds such as waxes, tannins, pigments, chlorophyll, we get a clean and consistent product.
We also source a full spectrum CBD, which includes terpenes and other cannabinoids. As a result, each product has a slight different chemical makeup. Which is why we always provide lab documentation to help you know what you’re consuming.
Not comfortable with variety? Then CBD isolate could be your best choice. It’s always the same; approximately 99% pure cannabidiol. Now, CBD isolate won’t trigger the entourage effect. But it may have important clinical applications. For instance, CBD isolate was the focus of one study regarding the effects of high-dose CBD for kids with drug-resistant epilepsy. It’s also the main ingredient in Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved drug containing CBD.
5 Key Takeaways
Hopefully by now, you have a basic understanding of hemp. But we want you to consider yourselves real experts. So here’s your final cheat sheet. We hope you take it with you when you’re shopping for hemp extracts. Or even when you hit the grocery store or health food market!
- Cannabis plants come in many varieties.
- Hemp is one variety. In the U.S., it’s legally defined as a type of cannabis with THC concentrations less than 0.3%. But in Europe and the UK, any plants with THC concentrations above 0.2% travel into marijuana territory.
- We source most CBD products from hemp plants, but only from the buds or flowers. That’s where cannabinoids are produced. So if you spot a hemp seed oil product, don’t expect to find any cannabinoids inside.
- You could still grab some seeds, though. Because this part of our favorite plant is packed with essential fatty acids and many other nutrients. Add them to smoothies, salads or even your morning latte (in milk form!) for a bonus boost of nutrients.
- Food and CBD aren’t our only uses for this plant. We can also create clothing, papers, ropes and more using hemp as our main ingredient. And, moving forward, you could even fuel your car with this powerful plant!
Want to gain further expertise on your favorite cannabis varieties? Keep coming back to the blog. Or, better yet, get first-hand experience sampling our hemp-extract cannabidiol products!
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