Cannabidiol (CBD) is the same compound in marijuana or hemp, the only difference is the amount of THC each plant contains.
Hemp-derived CBD is cannabidiol derived from hemp plants that contain 0.3% THC or less, while marijuana-derived CBD comes from cannabis plants that can be much higher than the legal limit of 0.3 % THC for hemp plants. Marijuana plants can be bred to produce more THC or more CBD.
Both marijuana (also known as cannabis or chemotype I) and hemp (also known as chemotypes II, III, IV, or V) are Cannabis sativa . Marijuana has been developed over time for the production of cannabinoids, including both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) . Hemp, meanwhile, has been cultivated over time to increase the amount of fiber, providing building materials and other industrial applications. They both contain cannabinoids, terpenes , and flavonoids .
Whether CBD comes from marijuana or hemp makes no difference to how they interact with the human body.
What is the CBD in marijuana?
For many years, breeders focused on producing cannabis plants with higher levels of THC . Such cannabis strains tend to have little to no CBD in them. In the last two decades, cultivars (strains) with higher levels of CBD have been developed as the demand for cannabinoids has increased. More medical patients were looking for a strain of cannabis with less intoxicating effect.
How does it work?
CBD does not bind to cannabinoid receptors 1 or 2 (CB1 or CB2) , and CBD has low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD is an antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors , which means that it blocks them. This can reduce the reuptake of anandamide, meaning more is available in the body.
CBD is also an allosteric modulator of mu and delta opioid receptors, an inverse agonist of 5-HT1A receptors, and a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor y (PPARγ) agonist. In layman’s terms, this means that CBD can help reduce the volume of pain signals sent by the brain, by modulating opioid receptors, improving mood by interacting with serotonin receptors, and reducing inflammation.
Due to its pharmacology, the CBD present in cannabis can be useful for:
- Improve mood, which can be low in those with anxiety, depression, and PTSD .
Reduce pain, including neuropathic pain .
- Fighting inflammation and reducing stress, which helps conditions such as arthritis , insomnia , and autoimmune diseases .
- Regulate glucose levels, making it useful for weight control and diabetes .
- It is possible to get very high CBD products.
- There is a wide range of THC:CBD ratios .
- Medical cannabis is a source of Phyto cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids with anti-inflammatory effects (the entourage effect ).
- Lower doses of CBD may be necessary when mixed with other cannabinoids.
Risks and drawbacks
- Not available in all US states.
- It is illegal at the federal level and can have social, economic, and legal consequences.
- Some people may need to avoid THC or consume only extremely low doses.
What is CBD from hemp?
- Hemp CBD is a product that uses CBD derived from the cultivation of Cannabis sativa that contains 0.3% THC or less, called “hemp”. Hemp is low in THC and higher in CBD, and hemp also contains other cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG ) and cannabinol (CBN) . Both hemp and marijuana are Cannabis sativa , but each is a distinct crop with its unique cannabinoid content, chemical composition, and uses.
How does it work
CBD from hemp works in the same way as CBD from marijuana. However, since CBD products from hemp typically contain less THC, they are not as intoxicating. There are also pure CBD or CBD isolate products that do not include other cannabinoids, and these may have different effects than CBD-rich or broad-spectrum hemp products. People with seizures may be prescribed Epidiolex , pure CBD extracted from pharmaceutical-grade cannabis and containing no THC.
There are no proven medical uses for CBD from hemp, but there are reports that it can help improve mood and fight inflammation. CBD is useful for improving mood, reducing pain, and aiding sleep.
- Potential Benefits
- Hemp CBD is legal and widely available.
- Hemp CBD is not intoxicating.
- Risks and drawbacks
- Compared to medical cannabis, which is geared towards Phyto cannabinoid production, the amount of cannabinoids available in hemp can be low.
- There are many quality and regulatory issues: some products are poorly made and may contain contaminants, pesticides, and other health and safety issues.
Some people may need THC and other cannabinoids for CBD to be effective.
- Higher doses of CBD may be needed if other cannabinoids are not available, making hemp CBD expensive.
- Hemp CBD is not usually suitable for seizures. Cannabis-derived CBD oil without THC may be preferable .
- Similarities and differences between CBD from marijuana and CBD from hemp
The main differences between CBD from marijuana and CBD from hemp are that:
CBD from hemp is federally legal in the United States, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Hemp CBD products typically contain less THC.
Pharmacologically, both are the same.
How to decide which one is best for you
When to use CBD from marijuana
People who require THC may also need a marijuana CBD product. You may need a medical marijuana certificate and card to access marijuana CBD, even if the product you want to use has little or no THC.
When to use hemp CBD
Those who do not have access to a medical marijuana program or who are in a state where cannabis is illegal may wish to try a high-quality hemp CBD product to see if it is effective for what ails them.
The final result
Although CBD from hemp and marijuana are not chemically different, they are different products. CBD from hemp may not contain the range and dose of cannabinoids and terpenes that CBD from marijuana may have, somewhat limiting its therapeutic properties. However, CBD from hemp may be helpful for those in states where medical cannabis is not available.