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Hemp or marijuana – Which is better?

Updated on May 31, 2016
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Paul Striker is a blogger and writer in the LA area. He's also an advocate of healthy living and the ending of the war on drug.

There is a lot of misinformation doing the rounds when it comes to hemp and marijuana oil. A brief introduction will help the uninitiated to gain a better understanding of these plants and the role they play in medical science.

To begin with, both hemp and marijuana are part of the cannabis family. They are both the same botanical plant species, namely Cannabis sativa. The difference between the two lies in the relative concentrations of the two main compounds known as cannabinoids which can be found throughout the cannabis family. These are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).

THC is the psychoactive ingredient which is responsible for the feelings of elation associated with marijuana. Marijuana strains of the plant produce high levels of THC.

CBD, by comparison, is non-psychoactive. Hemp plants produce only minimal quantities of THC, insufficient to have an effect on humans. Hemp can also be grown under a wider range of environmental conditions than marijuana, which generally prefers a warmer, moister climate.

Thus, when referring to cannabis oil, it is important to distinguish between THC oils and CBD oils. Both of these can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp.

CBD in modern medicine

The medicinal uses of both THC and CBD have been receiving a lot of attention, particularly since the mainstream media has begun reporting on the benefits offered. Even nursing professionals are commenting on the possible uses of Cannabis. However, it is CBD oil that has become the focus of a great deal of excitement, since it appears to offer many benefits similar to THC-rich marijuana without the ‘high’.

CBD oil has shown great promise in research into a variety of ailments; including cancer, PTSD, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and the management of chronic pain. Although THC oil has received some attention, it has not been the focus of nearly as much research owing to the ethical questions posed by research into a psychoactive substance.

Hemp oil and Epilepsy

One of the more remarkable cases where medical marijuana has been effective is that of young Amelia Weaver. Amelia was suffering from an aggressive form of epilepsy which resulted in her experiencing between 50 and 80 drop seizures per day.

Her distraught mother campaigned tirelessly and was eventually given the go ahead to treat her daughter using CBD oil administered in tablet form. The response to this treatment was immediate. Amelia hasn't suffered a single drop seizure since treatment began and has suffered only the occasional mild fit.

Research results so far have been so promising that the FDA has granted CBD ‘orphan drug’ status for the treatment of rare conditions characterized by chronic seizures.

Hemp, Cancer and bio-fuels

There is an entire list of respected and influential medical organizations that have acknowledged the benefits of CBD or THC oil in the treatment of cancer, particularly chemotherapy side effects and chronic pain. Among these are the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Aside from the medical applications, hemp is also capable of producing two different types of fuel. These are hemp ethanol, which is made from the fermented stalks of the hemp plants, and hemp bio-diesel.

Closing remarks

CBD and THC have different effects on the endocannabinoid system, and as such, will doubtless prove to have different effects in the treatment of various ailments. It is hoped that comparative studies will ultimately determine the correct cannabinoid choices and treatment protocols for the use of these natural compounds. For the present, the primary point to bear in mind is that non-psychoactive hemp containing CBD may have as many, if not more uses than its psychoactive counterpart, THC.

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