Hemp vs CBD vs THC: 5 Differences to Know

According to a few recent studies, 14% of Americans use CBD, and about 12% smoke marijuana. If you haven’t already experimented with cannabis products, you might be wondering where to start. 

Depending on your state, you might have access to medical or recreational marijuana. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is federally legal, so you’ll likely have access no matter where you live.

Since all cannabis products aren’t federally legal, it’s hard to get conclusive information. Some users want to use products for pain or anxiety relief, while others are looking for help with more serious issues like glaucoma and Crohn’s disease.

To start with the basics, it’s important to understand the differences between Hemp vs. CBD vs. THC. We’ll walk you through some of the top 5 differences you should know before using products.

What are Cannabinoids?

First, it’s important to understand what cannabinoids are. CBD and THC are both cannabinoids that come from different types of cannabis plants. Though CBD and THC are two of the most well-known cannabinoids, cannabis plants have 66 different types.

Humans and some animals have specific cannabinoid receptors in cells, which allow cannabinoids to have effects on our bodies. Depending on the cannabinoid, these effects vary. 

It’s important to know that cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds. If you purchase something that includes a cannabinoid like CBD or THC, make sure the ingredients are pure.

1. Hemp is a Strain of Cannabis

When it comes to CBD vs hemp, the main difference is that hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant while CBD is a cannabinoid.

You can source CBD from different strains of cannabis, including hemp and marijuana. In recent years, federal regulations determine what type of hemp-derived products are legal, which we’ll cover more below.

Along with containing cannabinoids, farmers can use hemp for a variety of other uses. Hemp offers a more sustainable way to produce fabric and clothing since it requires less land and water. Hemp also provides a sturdy product that’s used in construction materials and rope.

Hemp seeds are also a great source of protein. Hemp seed oil has benefits as well, though mostly for topical application. As you shop for hemp products, be sure to spot the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD or THC oil.

2. Hemp Only Contains Trace Amounts of THC

The biggest difference between hemp vs THC is also that THC is a cannabinoid, not a plant strain like hemp. When comparing hemp to marijuana, the key difference is that marijuana contains enough THC to produce psychoactive effects.

Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC, so hemp-derived products can’t get you high. The U.S. federal government ensures this through the Farm Bill, which limits all hemp to contain 0.3% THC or less.

3. CBD is Non-Psychoactive

If you’re considering whether to buy CBD vs. THC, the key difference is the psychoactive effects. Though CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, they react differently with our bodies. 

Some studies show that CBD can help relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety, insomnia and more. THC, on the other hand, is well-known for its psychoactive qualities. Many users enjoy THC recreationally for relaxation or social settings.

THC also includes some of the same benefits as CBD, such as pain relief. Yet, when you use THC, the effects can vary greatly depending on your body chemistry and the strain you use.

When you’re buying THC products, you can choose from Sativa, Indica and Hybrid strains. Indica is usually more relaxing than Sativa, while Hybrid strains offer a mix.

4. Only Hemp-Derived CBD Products are Federally Legal

Though THC is legal in some states, only hemp-derived CBD products are legal nationally. Even though you can source CBD from hemp or marijuana, it’s only legal from hemp plants that contain trace amounts of THC.

You can purchase a variety of CBD products at stores or online. Some common products include CBD isolate, which is pure CBD in powder form without additional plant products. Many users also prefer CBD oil, which you can ingest quickly.

You can also find hemp biomass for sale if you’d like to perform your own extraction. Biomass includes both CBD and CBG, which is another type of cannabinoid.

5. The Entourage Effect Can Boost THC and CBD

Though THC and CBD are cannabinoids that produce different effects, they tend to work well together. Studies show that multiple cannabinoids working together tend to produce heightened effects compared to single cannabinoids. This is called the entourage effect.

Since marijuana isn’t federally legal, it can be more difficult to find products that offer the entourage effect. If you live in a marijuana-legal state, you can purchase oils and other products that include both CBD and THC.

How to Purchase Hemp vs. CBD vs. THC

Whether you’re shopping for CBD or THC products, we recommend speaking with a doctor first. Though you don’t need a prescription for CBD, it’s important to make sure the products aren’t interfering with other medications you might be taking.

Though some states offer recreational THC, it may also be more beneficial to secure a medical marijuana prescription. The products you choose may be depending on your doctors’ feedback and prescription advice. 

If you’re shopping for CBD, make sure to keep an eye on the ingredients. Some products are actually hemp seed oil, which won’t offer the same effects as CBD.

Key Differences Between Hemp, CBD and THC

When it comes to hemp vs. CBD and THC, the biggest difference is that hemp is a plant, while CBD and THC are cannabinoids. Through farming hemp, we can produce CBD oil along with a variety of other materials like fabric for clothing. Hemp only has a trace amount of THC, which is more commonly found in marijuana. 

For more information about cannabis products, visit our blog. 

Kenneth Bennett Atticus

Atticus Bennett: Atticus, a sports nutritionist, provides dietary advice for athletes, tips for muscle recovery, and nutrition plans to support peak performance.