Medical Marijuana 101

CBD Oil, Hemp and Medical Marijuana: You Have Questions, We Have Answers!

The cannabis industry has grown exponentially in the US as more states adopt laws to make this plant and its benefits accessible to the population. While in some states marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use, in others (like Texas) its use is restricted only for medical reasons. In contrast, with the adoption of the 2018 Farm Bill the government not only legalized the sale and consumption of hemp based products, but also created a program to support its production for industrial and wellness use. 

Are you confused when it comes to differentiating between hemp and marijuana and the products derived from these plants? You’re not alone. Hemp and marijuana may belong to the same Cannabis genus, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Understanding these differences is crucial to make informed choices and navigate the rapidly expanding market of CBD and hemp-derived products. If you have a lot of questions about this subject: don’t fret! We have answers for you!

Is There A Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Yes! Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, they are different. The key differentiating factor is their THC content: hemp plants only contain up to 0.3% or less of THC while the marijuana plant has a higher concentration of this cannabinoid which is well known for its psychoactive effects. Because of this, hemp derived products don’t cause the “high” effect attributable to high THC content present in products derived from other cannabis plants. 

Hemp is legal at the federal level and hemp-based products are widely available to the public online and at retail stores. In contrast, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance at the federal level which restricts its commercialization to those states that have legalized it at the local level whether for medical purposes or for medical and recreational purposes. 

Hemp CBD oil vs. Cannabis CBD oil: What’s the Best CBD Oil?

Both hemp and marijuana contain CBD, but if you thought CBD oil is the same regardless of where it’s harvested from, think again! The truth is, although both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants containing CBD, the concentration of cannabinoids in each of these is different. 

Hemp oil is obtained by pressing hemp seeds and contains many vitamins and antioxidants but only up to 3.5% of CBD (sometimes none).

In contrast, high quality cannabis oil from marijuana is extracted directly from the cannabis flower using a solvent, tested for purity and quality before it can be sold to the public and can contain up to 20% CBD. 

Because of the notable difference in CBD concentration, CBD oil from marijuana is more adequate for medical use while hemp CBD oil is considered a wellness supplement rather than an effective medicine. So, before you start googling “CBD oil near me,” identify your needs, do your research and decide what’s the best CBD oil for you depending on whether you’re looking for a wellness supplement or for an actual medical solution. 

Are Store Bought CBD Products and Dispensary CBD Products Comparable?

Nope. There are stark differences between these two categories. Over-the-counter CBD products are hemp based, therefore have minimal or no THC content and are legal at the federal level so they’re granted wide consumer access. They are also not regulated, and unless certified by a third party, consumers can’t rely on the quality of said products. This is a key factor to consider because unfortunately, there are many products in the market that state false claims, contain harmful chemicals and in some instances don’t even contain the CBD dose they advertise. Before searching “CBD stores near me,” consumers looking to use these products should only proceed after vetting for quality and consulting with their doctor, and be aware that they are mostly geared as nutritional supplements for wellness, not medical purposes.

By contrast, cannabis products sold by dispensaries are derived from the marijuana plant and known as medical cannabis or medical marijuana. Because of its origin, the production and distribution process of medical cannabis is highly regulated which ensures not only the purity of its components but also the safety and transparency of the products (as opposed to over-the-counter products, with medical marijuana you know every component that goes into your body and can rest assured that the doses are accurate and no harmful chemicals were used in the fabrication of the product.) 

Also, medical marijuana combines different cannabinoids which causes an “entourage effect” (this refers to the theory that multiple cannabinoids work better together than any one cannabinoid alone so taking a full or broad spectrum compound is more beneficial than taking a cannabinoid isolate, say CBD alone for example.) Medical cannabis as indicated by its name is geared for medical use, not recreational and can only be dispensed by prescription (each state has its own procedures on how to obtain a prescription.)

Since THC Causes a High, Should I Stay Away From It and Stick to CBD Only?

Not necessarily, it depends on what your medical condition requires. Although it’s true that THC has psychoactive effects, this cannabinoid can also be highly effective at treating several conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, lack of appetite or sleeping difficulties due to its anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties. THC can make a big difference in the quality of life of patients suffering from cancer, spasticity, MS or Parkinson’s disease (to name just a few).

CBD and THC work best when they’re together; CBD has the ability to counter THC’s psychoactive effects so when administered in the right combination, patients can benefit from THC’s properties without having to deal with its psychoactive effects, relieving symptoms in a way that CBD alone couldn’t achieve. 

This is actually one of the big advantages of using medical marijuana over buying CBD products over the counter: patients have access to a customized treatment plan that includes a ratio of THC to CBD that best suits their particular needs. Having access to the benefits of THC (otherwise unavailable in the legal open market) while combining it with CBD to amplify such benefits as well as to counter its antipsychotic effects can mark an essential difference in a patient’s quality of life. 

Why is Medical Cannabis More Appropriate to Treat Medical Conditions?

If you suffer from a qualifying condition, your best approach is to use medical cannabis because working with a marijuana doctor has numerous benefits over buying retail CBD products. Consider these main aspects:

1- Efficacy: Medical marijuana has a higher CBD concentration than that of over the counter CBD products and therefore will likely be more effective at providing symptom relief. 

Also, you might benefit from incorporating THC to your treatment via a customized medical marijuana treatment (which is not possible with retail CBD products.) 

2- Quality and Safety: Only medical cannabis provides peace of mind in terms of quality and safety vs. store bought products since medical marijuana is subject to strict regulations and high quality standards. By contrast, over-the-counter CBD products are not regulated and although not all products are low quality, many out there are and patients don’t always have the knowledge or resources to properly vet each product. 

3- Valuable Medical Advice: Cannabis doctors look at their patients’ medical history and take into consideration any other conditions or medications they are taking to avoid negative interactions when incorporating medical cannabis to their comprehensive medical treatment. 

Also, a good marijuana doctor will accompany you every step of the way on your journey, adjusting your dose when necessary and providing valuable advice and information when needed. Basically, you are not left alone when making important medical decisions which is what would happen if you bought over-the-counter CBD products. 

Understanding the differences between hemp and marijuana is crucial for anyone interested in navigating the rapidly expanding market of cannabis-related products and making informed choices. If you -or a loved one- have a qualifying condition and are looking to start medical marijuana treatment in Texas, contact us! We are here to help.

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