The difference between hemp and cannabis
How hemp differs from cannabis – Cannabis and hemp are two terms that were often used interchangeably in the past, and although there is a direct link between the two terms, there is a separation between the two species of the genus Cannabis.To understand first the difference between hemp and cannabis, we must look at the scientific classification of marijuana as we know it today:its family are the Cannabaceae and its genus is Cannabis. Next, the species included in cannabis are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. The first two are well known in the cannabis community, while Cannabis ruderalis is less well known.
Hemp and marijuana in comparison
The biological characteristics of Cannabis sativa are: high growth, long flowering time, suitable for warmer climates and distinct leaf size. These characteristics make sativa plants difficult to overlook as they differ in their biological characteristics, especially when compared to indica cannabis. A Cannabis sativa is able to grow up to 5 metres or more due to the competition it faces in its natural environment. In tropical latitudes, plants grow vertically because they are in constant competition with other plants for sunlight. Sativa strains are used to long flowering periods due to their season with longer periods of daylight (summer). These periods last longer than in colder climates, so the flowering process of Sativa plants takes 1-3 months longer than their Indica sisters. Sativa plants originally come from regions such as Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, South India, Central and South America and the vast tropics of Southeast Asia, where they thrived in these humid and wet environments. Because of their origin, Sativa plants have a high tolerance to heat and humidity. Apart from their tall stature, the leaves of Cannabis sativa strains are easy to recognize. The leaf ‘fingers’ are numerous, usually 9 to 12, and extremely thin with a distinct knife edge. The flowers of Sativa strains tend to be large and spear-shaped.
The biological characteristics found in Cannabis Indica are generally the opposite of those found in Sativa. They are stocky and bushy, short flowering, suitable for colder climates and have a broader leaf structure. During countless years of adaptation, Cannabis Indica has been able to spread with ease all over the world.
This strain is usually short and grows bushier than the typical Christmas tree shape found in Sativa. Indica plants don’t normally grow taller than 3 metres, but they do spread. This is because they don’t desperately fight with their neighbours for sunlight, which means they can grow wider than they are tall.
Indica plants usually flower in 7-8 weeks due to less summer sunlight and the approaching autumn season. They were forced to adapt to a short growing season, so they flower much faster than Sativas.
Cannabis Indica is native to Pakistan, Northern India, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tibet and other temperate zones of the world. These regions are mountainous or desert regions with cold winters and a generally harsh climate. This makes most Indica varieties drought tolerant, adapted to lower temperatures and fast flowering.
The leaves of Indica strains tend to have fewer ‘fingers’ and are generally wider than those of Sativa. Their buds are usually small and extremely dense.
Cannabis Ruderalis is the big misunderstanding in the cannabis community. The main reason for this is that Ruderalis does not produce much THC, grows extremely small and tends to flower at a certain age rather than through photoperiods as is the case with Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. These plants, which are mainly found in countries like Russia and Siberia, are used to mild conditions during the summer and are more likely to be treated like weeds because of their negligible THC content. It may surprise you to discover that self-flowering cannabis strains are hybrids based on Ruderalis plants. Growers have used Cannabis ruderalis for its unique self-flowering properties to introduce their own hybrids and increase flower production and THC content.
It may sound a little confusing at first, but hemp is actually a subspecies of Cannabis sativa. The significant difference that distinguishes hemp (C. Sativa ssp. sativa) from Cannabis sativa is how it has been grown over the years because of its specific characteristics. Hemp can be recognised by its tall stature, long, thin leaves and thick stem when ripe. Since it is a subspecies of Cannabis sativa, it also has the characteristics of these varieties. Hemp plants have a similar growth pattern to the Indica and Sativa strains, which generally take 4 months to reach full maturity. The buds we find in hemp are very similar to those of the Sativa variety, which can be described as long and lanceolate. Due to its origin, it is sufficiently heat tolerant and can withstand wet conditions.
Composition of hemp
Here hemp plants and cannabis really differ. Hemp has been bred so that it does not contain THC or CBD. The difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp does not contain psychoactive chemicals. Because hemp does not contain THC, it is more widely accepted by governments around the world. Agricultural engineers have carefully eliminated the properties commonly found in today’s hemp varieties. Through selective breeding, it has been possible to grow hemp with THC levels of less than 0.2%.
Uses and products of hemp
Its main application is fibre production. Other applications are the production of paper, building materials, jewellery, ropes, plastics and biofuels. Hemp cultivation is an ecological alternative to the current massive destruction of forests as a raw material and therefore a much more ethical option. Fortunately, more and more countries are beginning to recognize this and to explore the many benefits. The growing demand for alternative fuels has driven stakeholders in the hemp industry. It has been shown that hemp produces much more biofuel in less space than competing industries. Hemp-based biofuel production plants could experience a big boom in the near future. Hemp is also grown as a superfood. Hemp farms allow male plants to pollinate female hemp plants for the sole purpose of harvesting their seeds. Hemp seeds have become popular in food culture because of their exoticism and health benefits. Hemp seeds naturally contain large amounts of protein, which makes them ideal for their producers. Hemp leaves are edible and are increasingly used in health food shops. Oil producers have started producing hemp oil because of its unusually high content of unsaturated fats.
Currently, the United States, Spain, France, Australia, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and 22 other countries allow the production of industrial hemp. This is in stark contrast to the legality of cannabis. Hemp is increasingly becoming an environmentally friendly material for the production of paper, textiles and other materials, and its high nutritional value has also created an awareness of its health benefits. In the past, both hemp and cannabis were banned because regulators did not understand the difference between the two plants. Where cannabis plays an essential role due to its THC and CBD content, hemp plays its role in the production of raw materials and food.
The composition of cannabis
Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are composed of THC, CBD, THC-V, CBN and CBG. Almost everyone will recognise THC and CBD, but the other compounds are less well known.
Sativa and indica strains produce flowers with a THC content of 10-30%, while hemp naturally has a higher proportion of cannabidiol in its CBD composition, with the exception of the recent high CBD marijuana seeds created by banks.
There are other compounds that are found in Indica and Sativa plants in greater amounts than its cousin hemp, such as terpenes. Terpenes play an important role in the taste that floods our palate, the smell that permeates the room and the overall effect we experience.
Use of cannabis
We can divide cannabis use into three categories: medical, recreational and spiritual use. People have used marijuana plants for thousands of years for one of these three reasons, and we still do so today. – Marijuana has a proven medical benefit in the treatment of cancer, PTSD, bipolar disorders, asthma, insomnia, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and many others. Countless clinical studies have shown that cannabis of the Indica and Sativa strains works at different levels depending on the amounts of THC and CBD they contain. – In our free time we like to enjoy the high. That’s why the recreational side of cannabis is a booming business. Many of us take grass after a long day or with a group of friends for the sole purpose of pleasure. Few countries allow the recreational use of marijuana, but awareness is growing and the potential for a better understanding of cannabis is on the horizon. – People also use marijuana for spiritual reasons. This is evident in cultures from the past to the present. Whether through cultural practices or personal beliefs, cannabis has played an important role in spirituality.
The final product of cannabis comes in many different forms. Concentrates, flowers, hashish, food and sprays are only a part of the range of products made from marijuana plants. They are all made from Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica.
– The concentrates are routinely tested at 50-99% THC, depending on the source material and the method used. They are available in the form of fragments, distillates, crumbs, oil or rosin.
– The flowers are the harvested buds of a mature cannabis plant. The buds are covered with sticky trichomes, which are full of THC and account for between 10 and 30%. The buds are actually the natural function of a female cannabis indica or sativa plant to form a multitude of pistils in search of male pollen. To achieve large buds, we will prevent the males from pollinating the females so that the females can continue their search and thus become larger.
– Food is a method where we infuse food with cannabis products, such as cinnamon butter or concentrate. With this method we can ingest cannabis instead of smoking it.
– Vaporising marijuana is a new case of cannabis use thanks to technological advances in the industry. Electronic cigarettes can use these concentrates to allow us to smoke without the carcinogenic effects caused by burning tobacco.