Monday, May 11, 2015

The Difference between Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp is one of the latest health food crazes; showing up in protein bars, smoothies, and baked goods. Rich in plant based protein, hemp can be found whole, ground into flour, or pressed into oil. It is also a great source of essential fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E.

While  this “super food” has great health benefits, the U.S. military prohibits members from consuming hemp products due to concerns over THC. For many people concerned with drug testing one question stands out; just how different is hemp from marijuana? 

Hemp and marijuana are popular names for the cannabis plant. While we often conjure up images of white smoke and joints, the plant is actually used for many industrial purposes such as plastics, paper, and fabric.

From a breeding standpoint there are two different species of plants carrying different genetic makeup as well as different cultivation environments. Cannabis plants bred for food, oil, and textiles is known as hemp. Cannabis plants bred to be psychoactive for medical, spiritual, and
recreational usage is known as marijuana.

Both cannabis species contain over 60 different compounds called cannabinoids, the most well known is THC credited for causing the marijuana high. Marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, while hemp contains very little. Counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC is another cannabinoids called CBD, found more in hemp and less in marijuana, further preventing hemp from causing psychoactive effects.

Hemp contains only traces of THC, however triggering a positive drug test is not impossible. Regular users taking about 4 oz of hemp oil or 300 g of hemp seeds daily could see a positive urine test.

The good news is the average consumption of hemp is far below the amount needed to trigger a positive urine test. Our recommendation to those concerned, enjoy hemp in moderation and read food labels to know which foods include hemp as an ingredient.

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