A quick search online for ‘CBD’ will bring you countless pages of information, but the problem is, some of this can get a little confusing – and even misleading. People hear the terms CBD, hemp, marijuana and cannabis and assume they are all the same thing, and it gets even more confusing when you add hemp as a food product into the mix. Here we’ve tried to clear up some of the most common myths we’ve heard about CBD and hemp.
Hemp is the same as marijuana
This is the number one myth surrounding hemp and CBD products, and we’d like to help set the record straight. It’s true that hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, but while they may often look the same, they have different chemical structures and different uses. Marijuana is grown for its high THC content, while hemp is grown for CBD, hemp fibre, and hemp seeds.
While it’s not a perfect analogy, you could think of it like the difference between lemons and oranges. Sure, they’re both citrus fruits, but they have a different chemical makeup and, of course, different uses.
CBD will get you high
This usually ties in directly to the myth above, but even people that understand that these products come from two different plants may still be worried about getting high. The reason that CBD is extracted from hemp plants, rather than marijuana plants, is that hemp naturally contains very low amounts of THC, the psychotropic compound.
This means that even without processing, these plants contain below the legal levels of THC, which is not enough to get you high. CBD does interact with the body in a way that produces feelings of relaxation and well-being, but there are no mind-altering effects that you need to worry about.
Hemp is grown to conceal illegal marijuana plants
This is a myth that’s often repeated by those who are concerned that the growing of hemp plants for CBD is a cover for growing illegal marijuana crops. Regardless of the laws in any given country, this wouldn’t make any sense as unhelpful cross-pollination would occur. Even if the crops are not planted directly together, pollen from the hemp plants would easily fertilise the marijuana plants, resulting in a reduction in THC. This would mean that the marijuana no longer produces the ‘high’ that it is grown for – essentially making the product useless. So while it’s technically possible to hide marijuana in a field of hemp plants, it’s not something any grower would want to do.
Hemp is the male cannabis plant
There are a few reasons why this myth has come about, and to help debunk it, we need to explain a little about the growing process. If you know anything about marijuana, you’ve probably heard that the female plants are the valuable ones, as they produce the flowers that are sold as weed buds. The male plants are usually culled from the crop, as pollination of the females would mean that they produce seeds instead of the flowers.
The fact that hemp is often grown for seeds has perhaps led to the idea that hemp is the male version of the plant. The truth is that both hemp and marijuana plants can be either male or female, and that the female hemp plants produce what we know as CBD flowers. In crops that are grown for seed (and not CBD), the male plants are allowed to pollinate the females.
Hemp oil is used in cooking
We wouldn’t blame anyone who sees a recipe calling for hemp oil and gets a little confused. We know that CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants, but perhaps illogically, this isn’t what we mean by hemp oil. What’s labelled as hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, not the flowers. It’s great as a healthy addition to your diet as it’s high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but unlike CBD oil, it doesn’t contain CBD or any other cannabinoids. So just be aware that if you’re looking for the health benefits that CBD can offer, you won’t find them in a bottle of hemp oil.
All CBD oils are the same
While CBD itself is a single chemical compound, there is much more that goes into your CBD oil, which is why it’s so important to choose wisely. Whether you decide that full-spectrum or broad-spectrum is the best for you, these oils will contain not only CBD, but also other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and small amounts of THC.
It’s the way that all of these compounds work together (a phenomenon known as the entourage effect) that means each brand of CBD oil will be slightly different. Growers often cultivate their own strains of the plant, which have a different balance of cannabinoids and other compounds. So two different oils that each contain 10% CBD may affect you in different ways.