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Hemp 101 (What It Is and Isn’t)


In the past few years, hemp has become a huge craze that seems to have swept over the entire world. It’s commonplace to see hemp-infused , hemp-extracts, as well as a multitude of products. Even though the majority of our customers have some experience with CBD or hemp, we still get questions what exactly is hemp?

You’ve come to the right place to learn. PhenoLife uses 100% hemp extract in all of our products, so we’re experts in what hemp is (and what it isn’t). Below, we’ll discuss the background of hemp, similarities to other well-known cannabis strains, and how hemp products can different from CBD products.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis is the genus of plants that includes all cannabis plants, including hemp. Cannabis is usually categorized by strain, which provides some insight into the compounds, tastes, and smells that a customer may experience when a certain cannabis product.  

Hemp is actually a strain of cannabis (specifically, cannabis sativa L), and has a lot of industrial applications (like textile, paper, and even animal feed). It also has naturally high concentrations of CBD, which has several medicinal uses, like as a pain management tool or anxiety reducer. However, in today’s modern market, it’s common to see new hybrid strains available, each with their own unique characteristics. 

There are other strains of cannabis with different concentrations of cannabinoids. For example, marijuana is a well-known form of cannabis, and there are countless strains of cannabis with different mixes of cannabinoids. Whether or not a particular strain of cannabis is legal usually depends on the amount of THC that is naturally occurring, since that’s the compound responsible for creating the “high” with cannabis.

Regardless of whether you’re looking at hemp or marijuana, both are the same species of plant; cannabis.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

If both hemp and marijuana are strains of cannabis, what’s the real difference? The big difference is the compounds found in each strain. Hemp contains naturally high levels of CBD, while marijuana contains naturally high levels of THC. CBD and THC affect the bodies in different ways, which we’ll discuss more in detail a bit later in this article.

There are other notable differences between hemp and marijuana besides their impact on the body. Hemp is a very hearty plant and easily grows outside. It is very fibrous, and those fibers are often harvested and used in industrial applications. Hemp seeds are often sought after as a health food, and while they don’t contain any notable levels of CBD, they do contain healthy fats and oils. 

Marijuana, on the other hand, is comparatively fragile. It is often grown indoors in order to get the maximum yield of its flower, which is harvested and sold to smoke or to be processed into other marijuana products. Unlike hemp, marijuana has few industrial applications, and is nearly exclusively used as a means to get THC.

CBD vs. THC

So, with the biggest difference between hemp and marijuana being varying levels of CBD and THC, it’s a good idea to ask what the difference between CBD and THC is! Both are naturally occurring cannabinoids, but the effect they have on the body is very different. 

THC is the cannabinoid responsible for making users feel “high” or “stoned.” Some common physical effects that are associated with feeling stoned include:

  • Feelings of sedation or relaxation
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduction in pain sensitivity
  • Impaired motor skills or thinking
  • Nausea relief

Some more negative side-effects (associated with taking too much) include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations
  • Nausea

Many people have never tried a THC product, since it’s a controlled in the majority of the world. While its legal status is loosening across the world, it’s still illegal in many countries. 

CBD, on the other hand, is legal in most parts of the world. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have an inebriating effect (meaning you won’t feel high or stoned when using CBD products). Some common effects that CBD produces includes:

  • Pain reduction (especially pain associated with inflammation)
  • Soothed anxiety or stress
  • Relaxation
  • Sedation

Sometimes, people may not tolerate CBD well. Some of the negative side-effects of CBD include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Increase in anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

However, the vast majority of people that try CBD at the appropriate dose will experience little to not negative side-effects.

Indica vs. Sativa

When you’re shopping for CBD products, raw hemp, or legal marijuana, you’ll often see labels like indica, sativa, or a hybrid mix. The terms indica and sativa refer to two primary strains of cannabis, which have slightly different appearances and are native to different parts of the world. 

Sativa strains are native to parts of Eastern Asia and have been cultivated for centuries. When sativa strains are cultivated with THC, they are often reported as providing an uplifting high or a “head” high. For medical marijuana patients that need to regularly use marijuana products, sativas are often sought after for during the day use, since they traditionally provide less sedative effects, especially in lower doses.

Indica strains are native to the Indian subcontinent and have also been cultivated for centuries. Cannabis indica is the traditional, primary ingredient of hashish, which is a concentrated form of marijuana that can be enjoyed in a dab rig or sprinkled on flower and smoked. Cannabis indica is typically reported as providing strong body highs and potent sedative effects (with users often reporting “couch lock” from these kinds of strains).

Cannabis Hybrids

While those are the general differences between indica and sativa strains, the vast majority of commercially available cannabis is hybrids. There can be indica-dominant strains, sativa-dominant strains, and true 50/50 hybrids. Mixing these strains creates different flavors, different appearances, and different effects on the human body.

Hemp Hybrids

Even specifically among hemp (or cannabis that has almost not THC and high levels of CBD), you can find indica hybrids. While customers will get different mixes of cannabinoids and , hemp hybrids still won’t get you high like marijuana will.

There’s More to Cannabis’ Effects Than Indica and Sativa

While cannabis fans often report specific experiences with indica or sativa strains, there’s no hard rule or guarantee that an indica or sativa strain will create a certain effect. Whether you feel energized or strongly relaxed depends more on the specific cannabinoid and terpene mix of a specific strain of cannabis rather than if it’s an indica or sativa strain. 

Customers should keep this in mind as they look to enjoy legal forms of cannabis, including CBD. Cannabis affects each individual in different ways, and there’s no guarantee that a specific strain will produce a specific effect.

Terpenes

CBD and THC fans may have noticed the term terpenes becoming more and more common as they shop for cannabis products. Of course, since terpenes don’t have anything to do with cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), a lot of customers are at a complete loss of what terpenes are or why they’re

Terpenes are compounds found in all kinds of plants (not just cannabis), and are responsible for creating specific kinds of smells and tastes. For example, limonene, a terpene commonly found in citrus fruits, is often used to create lemon-like smells and tastes in candies and fragrant oils.

Cannabis terpenes are responsible for the unique smells and flavor notes across different cannabis strains. For example, have you ever smelled a cannabis strain that had very distinct, piney notes? Then you were smelling pinene. Have you smelled citrusy notes in cannabis? Then you were smelling limonene (yes, the same terpene found in most citrus fruits)!

Why Are Terpenes Important?

New research suggests that terpenes may have some potent therapeutic and medicinal qualities, including the terpenes naturally found in cannabis. It’s one of the major reasons PhenoLife uses full-spectrum CBD in all of our CBD products. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds found naturally in a specific strain of hemp, which includes terpenes and minor cannabinoids.

If you use cannabis products that don’t include terpenes, you could be missing out on health benefits that CBD doesn’t provide on its own. While research continues to be ongoing about the specific benefits of certain terpenes, there doesn’t seem to be anything to indicate that terpenes would be harmful.

Hemp Products vs. CBD

Let’s do a quick wrap up of what we’ve learned about hemp so far:

  • Hemp is a strain of cannabis, like marijuana
  • Hemp has naturally high levels of CBD, and naturally low levels of THC
  • In addition to creating CBD products, hemp has a number of industrial applications
  • Hemp can be found in indica-dominant or sativa-dominant hybrids, but legal hemp still won’t get you high like marijuana.

So, we’ve talked a lot about hemp in relation to making CBD products, but there are a variety of health-oriented “hemp-derived” products available on the market. It’s a common misunderstanding to lump all “hemp” products together, including CBD, but there’s some important differences that customers should note.

Hemp Seeds and

Hemp seeds, hemp oil, and products that use those seeds and oils, like lotions. Hemp seeds (and the oil they make) have high nutritional value, since they’re so high in healthy fats. Lotions often use hemp oil since it may be surprisingly at treating certain skin disorders. Given the low cost of growing hemp, hemp seeds and hemp oil have become a popular choice.

However, hemp seeds and hemp oil do not have any CBD. In fact, they don’t have any cannabinoids at all, since those compounds are found in the flowering part of the cannabis plant. Hemp seeds and oil are very healthy, but since they don’t have CBD, you won’t get the benefits that CBD may provide.

PhenoLife Products: 100% Hemp-Extract Formula

Now that we have a good understanding of what hemp is (and what it isn’t), it should make sense why it’s so important that our products use 100% hemp-extract. CBD and cannabinoids provide a lot of benefits, but there’s a lot more to hemp than just CBD, and our all-natural extract helps to provide the whole benefits of the hemp plant, not just the benefits of CBD.

Full-Spectrum CBD

As we mentioned, all of our CBD formulas are made with full-spectrum CBD, so you get the benefits of all the cannabinoids and all the terpenes that are present in hemp. This may provide stronger effects than just CBD alone (a phenomenon described as the entourage effect).

3rd Party Lab Testing

There can be a lot of variation in what’s in a CBD product. This could be the concentration of CBD present in products, other cannabinoids that may be present, or even impurities that are common in cheaper, less-trustworthy products. It is crucially important to buy CBD products that have 3rd party lab tests available, since it’s the only way to know for sure what’s in a given product.

Hemp Takeaways

Let’s summarize everything we’ve learned about hemp:

  • Hemp is a strain of cannabis, just like marijuana
  • The difference between hemp and cannabis is the difference in cannabinoid concentrations
  • Hemp seeds and oil can be used to create health products, but those products don’t contain any CBD

If you still have questions about hemp, CBD, or related products, we’d love to help. You can ask our experts more about what hemp is, what it’s used for, and how to find a hemp product (with CBD or not) that might be a fit for your needs.

At PhenoLife, we carry a variety of full-spectrum, CBD products. Many of our products are made with catered formulas designed to target specific health issues. You can take a look at our online store to see what we offer, and if you have questions specifically about PhenoLife products, feel free to ask us!

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