11 Things to Know for the Wild West of Cannabis

| in Questions and Answers |

We have heard more than one person in the industry refer to what is happening as the "Wild West of Cannabis".  And we couldn't agree more, but want to do our best to help you - our customers, our clients, and distributors - to understand the words that are being used and the definitions that we have created, to help differentiate between products.  These are not interchangeable with what some individuals (or people who are not as informed in either media or government) may use, but these are what we use and how we use them.


1. Cannabis:  This is a flowering plant that is indigenous to Central and South Asia.  There are three different species of the plant including: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.  These different species can be bred by farmers to have different qualities - like different amounts of compounds within the plant, including cannabinoids.  Cannabis includes both what is referred to as "hemp" as well as "marijuana" - all of these products and their components come from Cannabis plant.


2. Marijuana: This is a term most often used to refer specifically to Cannabis that is bred to be high in THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid that is understood to give people a "high".  Sometimes marijuana is used as a term in the press to include all Cannabis species and all different types of cannabis that are bred with higher or lower cannabinoid content.  Since most people are familiar with marijuana as the term as the psychoactive plant or component, when we refer to 'marijuana' at That's Natural!, we are referring to the Cannabis plant that is bred and the products that are created with high levels of THC, that get people "high".  This is different than what is usually referred to as "hemp".


3. Hemp: This is a term used for the Cannabis plant that has been bred with minute amounts of THC and instead, higher amounts of other cannabinoids, like CBD.  Hemp products, like fibers and oils that are made from the seeds, have been legal to purchase and sell in all 50 States since the creation of hemp products.  Hemp products do not have THC in any discernible amount, and therefore, do not give people a "high" and are not psychoactive.  Using or consuming hemp has never been "illegal", however growing "Cannabis" (including hemp) which our federal government indiscriminately created legislation for during the failed Drug War, is what was illegal.  So the end products for hemp were never illegal, but growing hemp was, and that is what caused a temporary destruction of the hemp industry and market.  That has been changing with both State-level governments (e.g. Amendment 64 in Colorado) and with the Farm Bill at the federal level of government.


4. Cannabinoids: These are unique compounds found in abundance in the cannabis plant.  There are other plants that contain cannabinoids (like Echinacea), but cannabis has large amounts of cannabinoids.  There are at least 85 different cannabinoids that have been isolated - two of those that are isolated that are garnering the most attention are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).  But these are just two - there are at least 83 additional cannabinoids that have not been studied as much, but may hold even more promise for human and animal health (humans have an "Endcannabinoid System" that is now being researched for its role in the body's many functions.


5. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): THC is the principle psychoactive component of Cannabis, and plants can be bred to have higher amounts for medical applications for THC.  Although humans and animals have been consuming or using Cannabis for thousands of years, THC was first isolated by two Israeli scientists in 1964.  THC has many medical applications, however is the component that is most often thought of as being the "get high" aspect of the plant.  


6. Cannabidiol (CBD):  CBD is considered a major phytocannabinoid, with many more potential medical applications versus THC.  Since CBD is not psychoactive, this compound is regulated like a supplement, instead of a drug, and therefore has huge potential with not only helping more people with their health and wellness, but also bypassing the bureaucracy created for natural medicine by federal and State government regulations.  Much like Chamomile (the herb) is not psychoactive and regulated as a supplement, Cannabis plants bred to have high levels of CBD and limited or untraceable amounts of THC, can be used to create natural medicines that are immediately available to the people who need them.


* One way of absorbing the compounds for the human body is to refine Cannabis into an oil - which can then be used topically or internally.  Here's our past article for the different definitions of the oils, however, we have included them in the text of this article as well.


7. Cannabis Oil:  In the broadest sense of the word, this could theoretically mean any oil coming from any cannabis plant.  Now, some strains of cannabis are bred for high levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and some strains of cannabis have virtually no THC and instead are high in other cannabinoid content - like that of CBD (Cannabidiol).  Marijuana is a type of cannabis that has high levels of THC and gets people "high".  Hemp is a type of cannabis that has high levels of CBD, and does not give people the "high", but instead may offer some medicinal benefits.  If someone uses the term "cannabis oil", unless it is specified what they mean, then this could be oil made from any type of cannabis plant - either marijuana, hemp, or otherwise - and so people should exercise caution when investigating or purchasing products that do not specify what the company is using or what the company means.  Also, be wary of media using this term, as it may be used incorrectly when reporting on the legal or illegal nature of cannabis products.


8. Hemp Oil: Hemp oil is generally referred to as oil that is made from the actual seeds of the hemp plant.  Hemp oil in this regard has mainly topical applications - especially used in soaps, lotions, and shampoos/conditioners.  Hemp seeds that are not refined into oil are available to consume just by themselves (they are quite delicious in our opinion), and hemp seeds can also be ground into powder - to use in protein drinks, baking, etc.  There is virtually no THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid in the marijuana species of plant), and hemp oil products are legal to purchase and sell in all 50 States (and have been for decades).  Remember, there is a difference between hemp oil and CBD oil made from hemp!


9. Marijuana Oil: This is oil refined from cannabis specifically for its high levels of THC.  It is psychoactive, and has higher levels of the cannabinoid THC - the compound of the cannabis plant that is not yet "legal" in all 50 States for people to use medically or recreationally.  Marijuana oil would only be "legal" for use in the States that have approved using marijuana recreationally (Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Oregon), or the 23 and counting States that have passed "Medical Marijuana" laws that do allow access for patients to use marijuana as a form of treatment for sickness and disease. 


10. CBD Oil: CBD stand for Cannabidiol - a cannabinoid found in high levels in hemp.  CBD is not psychoactive, and there is preliminary research showing many potential benefits to human health.  Each human being is "pre-wired" with an Endocannabinoid System, and we have "receptors" in our body that recognize the various cannabinoids.  Most pharmaceutical drugs are artificially synthesized to "fool" our receptors - however, cannabinoids are already understood and accepted by a human's Endocannabinoid System.  CBD oil is refined from the hemp flowers, leaves, and stalks (versus the seeds like in regular hemp oil made from the seeds.  CBD Oil can be used both internally and topically.  CBD Oil is legal to purchase and sell in all 50 States, and can be used as a supplement. 


11. CBD Oil that also has THC:  There are some CBD oils that are not legal to buy and sell in all 50 States.  These CBD products have the addition of THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid), but are sometimes referred to as simply 'CBD oil" (especially by the media, which fails to explain why that particular type of CBD oil is "illegal" - because it also has marijuana and THC in it).  If CBD oil is referred to as "illegal" or a "banned substance", then this is CBD oil that has THC in it and actually comes from marijuana - not hemp.


CBD Oil that contains no THC and that can be taken as a supplement is legal to purchase and sell in all 50 States, and that is the only reason that Google and Amazon allow such on their large national marketplaces.  These products are legal to purchase and sell because of their absence of the psychoactive component THC. 


In conclusion, Cannabis is not exclusively marijuana or hemp - they are different in terms of what they are used for and how they are used.  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were actually hemp farmers, and hemp has been used all over the world, for thousands of years, for its oil, seeds, and fiber - not for any type of 'psychoactive effect'.  It's so important to know the different terms and how they are being used by either companies, media, or government.  Remember - every industry is latent with politics, and that can determine the type of information that you are receiving It is your RIGHT to choose foods and medicines that you believe are good for your body, and at That's Natural! we aim to protect your right to do that.  The first step, is education.  Don't be afraid to speak up and be a part of the natural medicine revolution!