Difference Between Hemp and Cannabis

So what is the difference between hemp and Cannabis?

Least we sound really confusing, there isn’t any, but there is… sort of.

Let us explain.

Both industrial hemp grown for total spectrum CBD oil and nearly 25,000 other uses (holy moley, yes, you read that right) and Cannabis grown for medical and recreational use are from the genus Cannabis. The industry is working hard to eliminate the term “marihuana”, “marijuana”, and others as they are not correct and were originally invented words directed at and meant as a slur to the language the words came from. That is why at Vid you will always see us refer to hemp as the plant CBD oil is extracted from, and Cannabis as either the plant when we are talking about the science of the plant, or when we are discussing the forms used for medical and recreational (where legal) purposes. Both are Cannabis, but different species look different, grow different, and have different chemical and physical makeup and properties. For example, if you tried to make rope from a plant grown for medical use, you probably would end up with something mushy, not strong, and not able to hold together and if you were really lucky, a couple of feet long. It is kind of like some people are good at playing baseball and others are great on guitar, but they are still all humans – Homo sapiens (homo – human being, sapien – wise). They look alike, but are just different.

The science of how they name things is actually pretty neat. It is called taxonomy (taxis – arrangement, nomia – distribution). A cool thing to know about Cannabis is it is part of the Order Rosales, which is just what you would guess, the group that roses belong to. Other members of Rosales are nettle, Russian olive, mulberry, elm, and buckthorn. The trait they have in common that puts them all in the same group as roses is they all bloom. The family name or next break down in taxonomy is Cannabaceae (which is where hemp gets its name, canna – cane or reed). There are over 170 members of this family, including hemp, hops (think the bitter flavor in beer, also the closest cousin to hemp) and hackberry. What makes a plant part of this family is a single seed and a petalless flower, and the plant either stands erect (upright, like hemp) or are climbers like hops. Most of the plants in this family come in both male and female plants, just like hemp. In hemp the male flowering parts are small, the female flowering parts are usually much larger, and often require darkness to begin to create flowers and if pollinated, seeds. All the hemp plants grown for Vid CBD oil are female plants grown non-pollinated. This allows more nutrition to go into the actual plant, producing a more desirable cannabinoid content and profile.

This is where a drawing showing the three primary species needs to go

The kind of plant is Genus Cannabis, but there are different kinds or species of Cannabis, such as indica, sativa, and ruderalis. They look different, just like there are a lot of different roses. Sativa plants tend to be tall, branching out in the top one-third of the plant and not heavily filled in. Their leaves tend to be long thin fingers, usually 9 in total count on a leaf, and are most likely the common picture of a “pot leaf” you envision. Sativa flowers are a lot leafier for the most part, and sativa is generally what is raised for industrial hemp and is most often heavier in CBD content. Indica plants tend to be short, fat, full, flush, and resemble fat triangular holiday trees. Their leaves are usually much fatter fingers, and much shorter in length, with seven on a leaf. The plants are often darker green as a rule. Indica flowers are fatter, you see a few little leaves sticking out, and they are often dusty looking and may have orangish, reddish, gold, lime green or purple tones. Indica varieties are often grown for medical and recreational use. Ruderalis you probably have seen in ditches, places where soil has been disturbed, or where not much else will grow. It is short, spindly, with far less leaves that most, often having three medium fingers with two very small side leaves at the base. It is also the least cannabinoid rich of the species, but has good characteristics including that it self-flowers, or does not need exact lengths of darkness to set flowers. Because of this and its ability to hold up well to variable weather conditions, it is often used in cross breeding new strains of Cannabis to strengthen the new cultivar.

Over the centuries hemp has been grown for many different purposes, and humans have crossbred different plants to achieve different good traits, such as stronger fiber for rope, or softer fiber for cloth. This crossbreeding is how today’s growers achieve the “strains” of Cannabis that contain different terpenes at various levels, smell or taste differently when consumed (think roses, some smell good, some don’t, some are red, some are yellow or white or orange or pink or even green), high levels of CBD and other cannabinoids and other compounds. This has been done for the terpene and CBD content in hemp more than anything else, and some strains of hemp used for full spectrum CBD oil are as much as 40% CBD in overall cannabinoid content upon extraction.

The differences in Cannabis is also why there is a lot of misidentification done when people see plants in a flower bed or beside the road that they think are “weed”. Often it is cleome, a flower, or other wildflower, ragweed, or other plants, and only occasionally do they find the results of someone, or something such as a bird, that has errantly deposited Cannabis seed. Need cleome pict RH read

The one exception might be a state to remain unnamed where in the 1950’s the state highway department found this marvelous plant that had a great root system, would grow anywhere, would grow in sun or shade, drought or deluge, and they could get the seed dang near free from government surplus. They promptly seeded the embankments, roadway ditches, everywhere the state had to maintain right of way for erosion control and keep it looking nice. And you guessed it, they had planted the whole state in “wildwood weed.” It was hemp, but those were the days when anything hemp was illegal, and they had to tear out every plant using state prison inmates for labor. It was not before it had gone to seed, however, which hemp can do in just several short months in good soil. The soil was some of the richest in the country, and weather conditions that year were near perfect. Needless to say, the state was highly embarrassed when their mistake got pointed out, nearly a year later. Nearly 70 years later there is still an abundance of “wildwood weed” if you know what to look for off state roadway properties. Which state? We’re not telling.

You have our word on that.