So Back up a Minute -Hemp & Cannabis are one and the same?
So, technically, yes. But also, no.
Hemp and cannabis are by all scientific and biological definitions considered to be the same plant, it’s just the cultivars of cannabis that have anything greater than 0.3% THC to be considered cannabis. When the senate approved the national production of hemp in 2018, the legal definition used to define hemp was based on that 0.3% mark. The use, sale and possession of cannabis greater than 0.3% THC remains federally illegal, though some states have individually legalized or decriminalized.
But, hemp is just a specific cultivar of cannabis bred to have low THC in addition to having characteristics that make it more industrially valuable: tall and lanky for high density, large seed production and strong fibers and most recently, CBD production.
Cannabis and hemp are thus related in the same way that your friend’s tiny Chihuahua and that Great Dane you saw the other day are technically the same species (Canis familiaris) just different cultivars, bred for different characteristics, and different functions. They’re both dogs, but they sure have different traits. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower are another great plant-based example.
So does that mean CBD is legal?
Again this should be a straightforward answer, but it’s not. CBD is federally legal in the USA, so long as the produce has <0.3% THC. However, some states have placed additional restrictions on the purchase and sale of CBD.
In addition, CBD is not currently federally regulated by the FDA, except for the specific use as a topical ingredient for application on the skin. Everything else is at your own risk, so to speak, so keep that in mind and be wary of anyone explicitly advertising the use of CBD for anything other than that.
Okay, so Hemp & CBD are Legal in the USA, are Cannabis & THC legal?
This depends on where you live in the world. And even then, it can be confusing and dependent on the context of use and origin of the product. At the time of writing this article (October 2020) – yeah, it’s been quite a year), cannabis is legal for medical use in over 30 countries, including in 33 states of the USA. However, cannabis has been legalized for recreational use in only 5 countries plus 11 states, two territories and DC, in the United States.
Why is Marijuana illegal in the first place?
Cannabis has a fascinating history, and it’s much more in depth that we can cover in this article. What you need to know is this, though. We’ve traced cannabis use in some Eastern cultures as far back as 2000 BCE. Cannabis was used primarily as an “entheogen,” a psychoactive substance used in a religious or spiritual context. We also need to keep in mind that cannabis looked, grew and acted much differently back then, than it does now. While it was very likely intentionally and traditionally grown for the psychoactive resin, cannabis was (and still is) a very useful agricultural crop for industrial purposes, producing strong, commercially valuable fibers and nutritious, calorie-rich seeds. That being said, cannabis legalization is on the forefront of many governments to-do lists, to legalize or decriminalize either THC or CBD.