It definitely looks and smells like marijuana, but it’s not, it’s actually hemp. So what’s the difference? Do people smoke hemp, does it grow buds like marijuana? There are so many questions. To understand both marijuana and hemp you need to know their differences.
Unlike marijuana, hemp will not impact your judgment and it’s 100% legal! Today, thanks to green thumbs and selective breeding, there are many different CBD-rich hemp strains to choose from, each with their own unique flavor, aroma, and cannabinoid profile. Let’s see why more and more people are using hemp.
What Is Hemp?
Many people think of marijuana when they hear the word “hemp”. Yes, they are both from the Cannabaceae family, but is hemp the same thing as marijuana? Not exactly, so let’s set the record straight.
To understand their main differences, it’s important to note that both of these cannabis varieties (hemp and marijuana) are full of beneficial compounds known as cannabinoids. As you will see the concentration levels of a specific cannabinoid separates hemp and marijuana.
Cannabinoids can be very important. They are the main active ingredients in cannabis that interact with our endocannabinoid systems (ECS). The ECS plays a very important role in our daily lives by regulating many bodily functions. Researchers estimate there are over 120 different cannabinoids in cannabis and many are exclusive to the plant.
Each cannabinoid can offer different benefits and one will get you high. For these reasons, THC and CBD have become the most significant cannabinoids and it is THC alone that separates hemp from marijuana. Let’s classify these world-renowned cannabinoids.
Tetrahydrocannabinol aka Delta-9-THC is the chemical compound in cannabis that causes intoxication. Not much THC is needed to get a novice smoker high, as little as 3mg could induce effects.
This compound is closely related to THC, even their molecular structures are similar. However, CBD does not cause intoxication. Users looking to get the benefits of cannabis without any kind of mental impairment are increasingly using CBD products.
How is Hemp Different Than Marijuana?
Now that we know THC gets you high and CBD doesn’t let’s look at the different varieties of cannabis. Highlighting their differences will help us to decipher why one could get you in trouble and the other one won’t.
This type of cannabis has high CBD and low THC. In the technical literature, it is sometimes referred to as Cannabis sativa L. Hemp has largely been an industrial product for thousands of years. However, since the discovery of the ECS (1992), hemp has turned into the CBD source. The amount of THC in hemp is not enough to get you high. Furthermore, any CBD oil products made from hemp will not get you high.
This is the most famous cannabis variant, with high levels of THC and varying levels of CBD (depending on the strain). For example, Cannabis sativa has very low levels of CBD with high levels of THC while Cannabis indica has high levels of both THC and CBD.
Legalities of Hemp & Marijuana
The 2018 Farm Bill (formally known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) has technically defined hemp as any part of the cannabis plant, along with any products derived from it, with a THC concentration less than 0.3%. The passing of this federal law makes hemp legal in all 50 states. Consequently, any cannabis plant with THC amounts above 0.3% is marijuana which is federally illegal.
What Are Buds?
To understand what buds are and how they grow all you need to do is look at the plant’s anatomy. The cannabis plant is made up of the following parts:
These are the underground structure of the plant. The roots soak up nutrients and water for the plant to feed. They are also responsible for removing metabolic waste from the plant.
This is the long, skinny structure that holds up the plant. It takes nutrients from the roots and leaves and disburses it to the rest of the plant. The stem and roots hold the least cannabinoid content.
These are little points on the stem from which branches extend out. On the cannabis plant, the nodes are where new branches separate from the stem.
These are the iconic 5 to 9 pointed leaves cannabis is known for. The leaves turn light (sunlight/artificial) into energy through a process known as photosynthesis. Fan leaves hold very little cannabinoids, but sugar leaves can actually hold a decent amount.
These occur on the ends of the nodes and are arguably the most important part of the plant. Male plants produce small pollen sacs that look like clusters of mini oblong peas while female plants produce large flowers that are covered in resin. This resin is rich with cannabinoids. These female flowers can be trimmed down to pointed or round buds. Buds are the part of the cannabis plant that is most often consumed.
So you see, the buds are an absolutely crucial part of the plant. They are chock full of cannabinoids as well as terpenoids and flavonoids, all of which contribute to the various benefits of cannabis. Furthermore, these valuable female buds can occur in a cluster known as a cola. These colas can bunch together on lower branches, but the main cola (also known as the apical bud) forms at the top of the plant. Just think of it like a queen’s crown for the female cannabis plant, with the sticky resin full of cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids as the crown jewels!
Does Hemp Have Buds?
So, does hemp have buds? Yes, absolutely, its a variety of cannabis and as we just found out cannabis grows buds. Remember, hemp and marijuana have the same anatomy and structures. The real difference between the two is the chemical makeup of the resin found in the bud. People may also refer to cannabis flowers as:
- Hemp flowers
- CBD flowers
- CBD buds
Can You Smoke Hemp?
Ok, we know hemp is related to marijuana but does it smoke like marijuana? As a matter of fact, it does! You can actually spark up and get all the benefits of the cannabis plant without the marijuana high. So it’s no surprise that this method of CBD consumption is gaining popularity.
Today hemp is the driving force of the booming CBD market and hemp buds are definitely riding the wave. In fact, Jonathan Miller of U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a lobbying group for the hemp industry, has stated that smokeable hemp is the CBD product that is “growing most rapidly”.
So how can you smoke hemp? Well, first of all, you should stick to smoking just the flower because the rest of the plant holds only minuscule cannabinoids and its smoke is undesirable. To smoke premium cbd flowers/buds you can use any of the following methods:
- Water Pipes: bongs, bubblers, hookahs
- Rolled up with papers (similar to a joint, but without the THC)
- Pre-rolled hemp/CBD cigarettes (also known as hempettes)
- Regular pipes
- Vaporizers (using dried CBD buds)
Some of these methods result in a smoother smoking experience than others. For example, using a bong is generally considered to be easier on the throat and lungs because the smoke gets filtered through water before it’s inhaled. Vaporizers offer a smoother experience as well. They reduce harshness by heating the flower just enough to vaporize cannabinoids and terpenes. So they avoid burning the plant material which results in a smoother hit than smoking.
What Does It Feel Like To Smoke Hemp?
First of all, it will not get you high. However, users who have smoked hemp have reported:
- An increase in relaxation.
- Improved ability to concentrate or focus.
- More restful sleep (with no hangover).
- Improved appetite.
- Reduction in nervousness.
Why Do People Use Hemp Buds?
They’re rich in CBD
More and more people are turning to CBD in order to get all the benefits of cannabis without any intoxication. Remember, CBD is different from THC in that it will not get you high. However, it does have subtle effects on mood and perception, including a sense of relaxation or an improvement in mood.
There are other beneficial compounds
THC and CBD are not the only cannabinoids; as stated earlier, current research has estimated that there are approximately 120 of these compounds in the cannabis plant. Additionally, there is a whole host of terpenoids and flavonoids, many of which have beneficial effects.
Full-Spectrum (Synergistic Effects)
One of the more fascinating aspects of the cannabis plant is that it is most effective when all of its compounds are taken together. This “synergistic effect” (also known as the entourage effect) refers to cannabis’s elements working together which increases the power of its overall effects. For example, CBD products that are full-spectrum are generally considered to be more effective than isolate products. Full-spectrum means that the product contains the whole spectrum of cannabis’s cannabinoids (with less than 0.3% of THC).
What Else Can Hemp Buds Do?
Did you know that besides smoking hemp buds they can be processed to extract CBD and other cannabinoids? Hemp buds are the richest source of cannabinoids and they are used to make many CBD applications including:
When you apply a CBD topical to your skin it will quickly interact with cannabinoid receptors (CB2) spread throughout your dermis. Many people use CBD topicals to improve workout recovery, nourish the skin, and relieve minor soreness or tension. Common CBD topicals include lotions, ointments, salves, balms, bath bombs, and CBD lip balms.
You can take a CBD tincture and drop it directly under your tongue. This method of administration is second only to smoking in terms of how quickly the effects are felt. This is because the mucous membranes under your tongue are highly permeable, allowing the CBD concentrate to be quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.
Cannabinoids found in the hemp plant need to be activated via a heating process known as decarboxylation. If you directly eat the buds off a cannabis plant, you won’t really get many of the effects. However, cannabinoids are heated up when they are infused into edibles, the decarboxylation occurs and the activated forms of the cannabinoids are ready to be absorbed. CBD gummies, cookies, and lollypops are among the most popular types of hemp edibles.
There are also CBD vape juices, CBD infused drinks, and much more. You can try different applications and see which ones best suit you. The great thing about the variety is that it allows you to switch it up so you’re not taking CBD the same way all the time. Many people thoroughly enjoy smoking CBD buds, you may too? Remember, you won’t get high from them, but you will get all the other beneficial properties of cannabis.