Hemp is cannabis, specifically Cannabis sativa. It's usually thought of as cannabis with low concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Some people use hemp — or more commonly, industrial hemp — to refer to rope, fibers, and other textiles created from the plant's stalks. In the US, the cultivation of industrial hemp is legal nationwide if it contains no more than 0.3% THC. Other countries have similar restrictions.
The most strict definition of hemp says it's the same as cannabis. But in the weed world, cannabis is usually thought of as either high-THC marijuana or low-THC hemp. In that context, the term hemp is sometimes used interchangeably with CBD, though they aren't the same. Non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) is the primary cannabinoid in hemp, much like intoxicating THC is the primary cannabinoid in marijuana. Hemp contains up to 18% CBD, a much higher percentage than is found in other cannabis. CBD may have many beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, pain-relieving, anti-stress, and anti-anxiety properties.
Shopping for hemp and CBD
If you'd like to try hemp products for yourself, perhaps for their reported health benefits, be sure to read the labels carefully. When looking for CBD, make sure the product you're considering actually contains CBD, not just hemp. On the other hand, if you're after the fiber, protein, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium found in hemp seeds or hemp seed oil, you don't need to look for CBD. Either way, check the label for contents and make sure there aren't any additives or claims the product will cure, treat, or prevent any medical condition. Learn more about CBD products, including what CBD is used for, in our CBD section.