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CBD Oil from Hemp vs. CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana. What's the difference?

CBD Oil from Hemp vs. CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana. What's the difference?

Cannabidiol (CBD) containing products are the latest craze to hit the health industry, with everyone from neighborhood pharmacies, national franchise supermarket chains, tobacco smoke shops, and medical marijuana dispensaries taking part. With so much information out there, a common question I am asked is, “What is the difference between CBD derived from medical marijuana and the CBD oil you can purchase in a retail store?”

CBD oil from two different plants

CBD oil can come from the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. Both are Cannabis plants, but different variations of the same plant. Marijuana is the cannabis plant frequently harvested for its flower. This incredible plant contains many pharmaceutically active compounds including CBD (cannabidiol), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBG (cannabigerol), terpenes, and flavonoids.  The cannabinoids (compounds derived from the cannabis plant) have many physiologic effects, including pain relief, reduction of inflammation, and normalizing effects on your immune system and nervous system. A common psychoactive effect of many cannabinoids is euphoria.  

 Different strains of marijuana contain varying concentrations of THC, CBD, CBG, terpenes and flavonoids. Medical marijuana is bred in a variety of ways to produce diverse strains, with different levels of the cannabinoids and other therapeutic compounds. There are two major strain types of marijuana plants: sativa strains and indica strains. The sativa strains are more uplifting and stimulating, while the indica strains promote a calming and sedative mood. Consequently, some marijuana strains are best utilized for anxiety or seizures, some strains help promote your appetite, some strains improve your energy and focus, some strains are more effective for pain and some strains are more effective for sleep.

 The hemp plant is a variation of the cannabis plant primarily harvested mostly for its seed, fiber and stalk. Hemp has been historically used as food, fuel and textiles and as a source of CBD.  However, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and other psychoactive compounds and therefore, it is virtually impossible to get “high” from using CBD derived from hemp.  

What is the CBD oil that I can purchase in the retail store?

Currently hemp is now legal in all 50 states in the U.S.A. with the recent change in farming laws. Before 2019, however, hemp production was restricted/outlawed by the Marijuana Tax Act in 1938. Conversely, marijuana use is still much more restricted by state and federal laws and can only be purchased in those states that have legalized medical (or recreational marijuana).  Therefore, the CBD oil that you can purchase at your local pharmacy, tobacco smoke shop, and food stores legally must be hemp derived CBD. Hemp derived CBD has no significant psychoactive properties. Using these hemp-derived products will not promote mood-altering effects.

Should I use hemp derived or marijuana derived CBD?

Unfortunately, because of the previous legal restrictions on hemp and marijuana, the formal research on the effects or effectiveness of various forms of CBD are relatively sparse. One well established conclusion is that hemp and marijuana derived products are extremely safe with the risk/benefit ratio skewed towards benefits.

Over the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to discuss therapeutic effects with hundreds of medical marijuana patients. I have attended to countless patients that have used both CBD oil from hemp and cannabis derived sources. They tell me that the marijuana derived (medical) CBD seems to be more effective than the hemp derived CBD. My current recommendation is that if you are suffering from any debilitating medical condition currently approved under the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP), I highly suggest you enroll in the program and obtain a prescription to utilize the marijuana-derived products.

I am currently unaware if there are various subtypes of CBD oil extracted from different strains of hemp. I have seen various products marketing various CBD oil for specific symptoms like pain,stress or anxiety relief.  However, these various claims may just be a marketing strategy similar to other nutriceutical products.  

CBD oil has been legal and around for decades, so why is it getting popular now? The recent changes in the legal climate have drastically increased the availability and access to these beneficial and safe products. Moreover, with all the coverage and commotion of medical and recreational marijuana, entrepreneurs are looking at getting into the booming industry. Only time will tell if CBD oil from hemp will sustain its popularity, especially if marijuana does become legalized or the medical marijuana programs continue to expand.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of medical marijuana or if you would like to enroll in the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program, schedule a consultation by calling (732) 268-7663 or request an appointment online 

The information in this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Results are not guaranteed and may vary for each individual.