Cannabis Confusion: The Difference Between Hemp and Other Forms of Marijuana
What do you think when you hear the word cannabis? For many people, thoughts are immediately conjured of a potent illegal drug and nothing more. The campaign against cannabis and all of its related forms has been widespread, and along with that campaign has come a massive amount of ignorance. To be sure, there are many uses and benefits to cannabis outside of an easy high.
During decades of the federal prohibition of cannabis, public knowledge of it has become limited, and misinformation has entered the discussion. Is all hemp cannabis and cannabis hemp? Are you going to get on high from hemp, or is it a drug? There’s a lot to know, and a ton of misconceptions out there. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of agronomists, sustainability advocates, nutritionists and many others, this misinformation is being corrected through scientific research and its dissemination to the public. With this article, we want to make a small contribution to ending the confusion about this amazing plant once and for all.
Various Kinds of Cannabis
We begin by looking more closely at the nature of cannabis to see how it interacts for medicinal or adult purposes. Cannabis is a genus of Cannabaceae family. The number of species in the genus is controversial, but at least two different species can be identified: cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.
There are some visible differences between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These include the size and structure of the leaves as well as the size and density of the flowers. Indica plants tend to become shorter and woodier than Sativa plants. Indica varieties usually also have shorter leaves, while sativa varieties have more leaves that are long and thin. Flowers of Indica varieties are generally wide and dense, while sativa varieties typically are less dense and typically have more flowers.
Hemp refers to several varieties of Cannabis sativa that have been addressed explicitly for various purposes: not psychotropic: for fiber for clothing and construction, for topical oils and ointments, healthy foods and many other product applications. Therefore, not every cannabis can be classified as hemp. Instead, hemp is a group of special varieties of Cannabis sativa that have specific characteristics.
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
There are several benefits of hemp seeds. Some of them include the following:
Hemp contains many plant sterols and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of colorectal, breast and prostate.
Hemp provides high levels of soluble fiber that keep your digestive tract healthy and clean. Therefore, you can quickly eliminate indigestion such as constipation and flatulence.
Hemp can help bring about weight loss because it is a natural appetite suppressant and makes you feel full longer. Adding just four tablespoons of hemp seeds to your meal can dramatically reduce cravings. You will also feel more energetic and can exercise and other activities to lose weight.
Ensures a healthy mind
Your brain has many fatty acids that are found in hemp. Therefore, regular consumption of hemp can prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and can also improve your memory. Hemp seeds can also relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve your mood.
What Else is Hemp Good For?
The main difference between typical smoking marijuana and hemp is not found in their medicinal or recreational properties, but in their use in everyday life. Cannabis does not really serve this industry in any capacity – it’s bred to be potent chemically. Hemp on the other hand has a long history of being used in everything from clothing, to rope, to paper.
If this is your first time hearing this, you might be in disbelief. I’ve personally heard people exclaim things like, “make clothes out of marijuana, that’s absurd.” There is so much misunderstanding about these plants it’s a sin. No, the kinds of marijuana that people smoke aren’t typically used to make paper and clothes. Yet, its close cousin, the plant we commonly refer to as hemp, can and does all this and more.
So just how many uses does hemp have?
- A sustainable source of paper (Much more viable than using trees). Hemp has been used to make paper for thousands of years.
- Fuel. Hemp oil is actually used to light lamps, and can be turned into different kinds of biofuels for use in engines.
- Botannicals and cosmetics. Hemp has natural oils that soothe and nourish the skin.
- Textiles. Hemp is ideal for making canvas, common garments like shirts and denim, sails, flags, nets, and even durable ropes. The hemp textile industry was once huge in America, before cotton gained in popularity. Again, this is something rarely spoken about in mainstream circles.
- Hemp materials can be used in place of wood in some instances for use in homes and other structures.
- Plastics can even be derived from the hemp oil industry as a byproduct, and are much safer than plastics made from traditional fossil fuels.
Uses and Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis, generally referred to as marijuana is a psychoactive drug which is derived from the Cannabis plant. It is strictly intended for medical and recreational uses. It should, however, be noted that all drugs come with a primary intended effect and a secondary unintended effect known as side effects. While the world has focused greatly on the secondary effects of smoking marijuana, there are a good number of primary health benefits that can be derived from the use of marijuana.
About 84% of the American public is of the view that the medical use of marijuana should be legalized. This is mainly because they believe the drug should be used legally only within the confines of medical and recreational usage. Although some of the medical benefits of Cannabis may have been exaggerated by advocates of marijuana legalization, data from recent research studies conducted to that effect has shown that marijuana can be put to a legitimate use medically.
Marijuana although one of the most abused drugs can be used for a variety of medical uses. This article will be addressing some of the many benefits that can be derived from smoking marijuana.
Specific Health Benefits of Cannabis
Data provided by the National Institute on Drugs Abuse (NIH) shows a list of medical benefits of Cannabis. Some of these benefits are listed below.
It May Serve as A Pain Reliever
Marijuana contains two major active chemicals which researchers believe can be put to medical use. It contains cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While the latter has been proven to have pain relieving properties, the former has been linked to an impact on the brain. It is believed that the combination of these two chemicals in marijuana is what makes the smoker high.
In addition to the THC and CBD, there are other medically important chemicals (about 400) contained in marijuana. Out of this vast number, 60 of the chemicals have been identified as cannabinoids. Some of the uses of marijuana as a pain reliever include;
- Marijuana has been linked to the reduction of chronic pain.
- Reduction of muscle spasms
It Improves the Lung Health
Marijuana unless smoked with tobacco has no harmful effect on the lungs. Research findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that smoking marijuana increases the lung capacity rather than impairing it.
It May Be Used for The Treatment of Glaucoma
According to data provided by the National Eye Institute, smoking marijuana has been successfully linked to the lowering of intraocular pressure (IOP) in people suffering from glaucoma and those with normal pressure.
It May Control Epileptic Seizures
CBD present in marijuana has been shown to reduce the rate of seizures in individuals batting with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Treatment of Cancer
A study carried out in 2014 revealed that smoking of marijuana could slow down the growth of brain tumor which is associated with malignant brain cancer in people. Furthermore, another research conducted at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco in 2007 revealed that CBD might be put to good use in preventing the spread of cancerous cells in the body.
Educate Yourself and Spread The Good (Green) Word
There is no question that cannabis is an amazing plant. There is a reason why it is so sought after for more than just the highs it gives. The uses for both cannabis and hemp are indeed many – in fact, it is one of the most versatile plants on the entire planet. From clothing to a powerful anti-cancer agent, there really is a bounty to be had in this plant family. But its power isn’t going to reach the people it needs to, and it isn’t going to be allowed to impact society, if no one knows what it does.
Seek knowledge of cannabis in all of its forms, and take the time to educate your peers. The “green” revolution starts by breaking down the barriers placed by the anti-drug lobby and their like-minded disinformation cult. It should be noted that a big chunk of the reason why this plant is still used as a crutch by some people is to jail innocent Americans and to keep certain segments of society down. Not to mention populate prisons so the prison industrial complex can march on.
Any battle of information must be won with facts. The reality is, as wonderful a plant as cannabis may be, if people remain ignorant, they will fear it and fight it. So get out there and educate whoever gives you their ear to listen. Change minds and hearts, and most of all, use facts. They are most certainly on our side, for the benefits of cannabis so severely outweigh the negatives, there’s no way a logical mind can find fault with it. We need this kind of mentality going forward: fight back with facts, and make sure people understand and stay informed. Then, perhaps, we can start to see commonsense legislature on the issue, and the ludicrous “war on drugs” can finally come to a close.