While cannabis use has been legal in Canada for both medical and recreational purposes since October 2018, public knowledge about cannabis is still low. Most Canadians think hemp and marijuana are the same thing.
Hemp and marijuana are just two different names for cannabis. The two have very similar appearances and belong to the same species, Cannabis sativa. Hemp tends to be tall and skinny with leaves predominantly abundant at the top of the flower, rather than down the stem. On the other hand, marijuana has far more flowers than hemp with leaves evenly spread throughout its stem. However, it is often hard to distinguish the two. The key difference is their THC contents.
What is Hemp?
Hemp has been around for centuries and has many uses. Hemp is grown for its fiber and seeds, which can be used to make products like hemp seed oil, textiles, paper, nutritional supplements, and biofuels.
In Canada, industrial hemp production was legalized in 1998. Hemp is a sustainable crop that can be grown without pesticides or herbicides, making it environmentally friendly.
The main difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp is any strain of Cannabis sativa that contains only a trace amount (0.3% or less) of THC. Hemp plants do not contain enough THC to create the “high.”
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana, also called weed, pot, herb, ganja, just to name a few of its slang terms, is any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC by dried weight. Marijuana can be both Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica and produce anywhere from low to high psychoactivity when consumed.
The main psychoactive compound, THC, is responsible for the intoxication effects of marijuana and is found in the resin of the leaves and buds of the female cannabis plants.
Can you smoke hemp?
The answer is Yes! While the hemp plant contains an insufficient amount of THC to make you high, it carries many other beneficial compounds including BD, CBN, terpenes, and flavonoids. Because all these beneficial compounds are most abundant in the flower (bud), it is the best part of hemp plant to smoke. Benefits of smoking hemp flower include:
- Relaxing, pleasant body high
- Help with sleep, pain, stress, and inflammation
- Doesn’t induce intoxication or munchies
- You’ll feel the effects almost immediately
Can you eat hemp flower?
Yes, you can eat hemp flower! Just like marijuana, hemp flower needs preparation before it can be consumed or used in baking and cooking. With activated hemp flower, you can make your own CBD-rich edibles such as butter and brownies.
How to “activate” hemp flower – Decarboxylation
- Preheat the oven to 230 F.
- Grind up hemp flower with a grinder, but not too fine.
- Decarboxylate the hemp in the oven at 230 F for 45 minutes until it turns a light golden brown.
While “marijuana” refers to cannabis that has more than 0.3% THC and is capable of producing psychoactive effects, “hemp” doesn’t contain enough THC (less than 0.3%) to produce a euphoric high.
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