What’s the difference between cannabis, marijuana, hemp, and CBD flower?
It may surprise you to hear that we get asked this question all the time. On the other hand, you may be thinking, “finally, someone will answer this question for me!”
Either way, we’re here to set the record straight. While the answer is clear, and relatively simple, it has to be laid out in parts, so here goes…
“Cannabis” is simply the name of the genus under which three species fall - sativa, indica, and ruderalis. In the 21st century, this term is used interchangeably with words like marijuana, pot, etc, to describe THC flower or CBD flower, especially when in a more civilized setting such as a dispensary - or even on tweedlefarms.com!
It does not imply a certain type of cannabinoid concentration, such as high-THC or high-CBD. In fact, all three species in the genus cannabis are capable of producing substantial amounts of both THC and CBD; sometimes separately, sometimes concurrently!
For many decades, when people thought of cannabis, the word “marijuana” came to mind.
Unfortunately, that’s because of a man named Henry J Anslinger, who was the first drug czar of the United States. Now, with the value of hindsight, we know that because of his close relationship with leaders in the textile and paper industries, many of whom were worried about the burgeoning hemp industry tanking their sales, he was extremely motivated to make sure that cannabis did not rise to prominence; be it recreational, medicinal, or industrial.
Together, he and his big business cronies set out to demonize cannabis by branding it “marijuana,” a dangerous drug brought into America from south of the border! Screams of “won’t somebody think of the children” could be seen and heard throughout the media.
And, it worked. Cannabis was outlawed in 1937, and it took nearly 60 years to only start becoming available to those that needed it.
Alas, we’re getting off-topic. In this context, know that “marijuana” is essentially a misnomer. It’s widely-understood to mean high-THC cannabis, rather than CBD flower, but the plant it describes is no different from the hemp plant. Rather, it’s just branded differently.
Once again, this is really a case of branding. When people hear the word “hemp,” they generally think of a material that has 1000 (or more?) uses—textiles, paper, plastic, concrete, and so on—as those have been the prevailing uses of hemp for decades.
This definition, of course, has begun to change with the advent of CBD flower, aka smokable hemp flower.
Hemp can mean an impossibly tall cannabis sativa l plant that will be decorticated and processed into fabric or a short, stubby cannabis indica plant that will produce the dankest, most resinous hemp flower this side of the Mississippi. It simply depends on the variety.
In the end, both examples are hemp. Ergo, both are cannabis.
Now, CBD flower is a reasonable descriptor that does a good job differentiating CBD-rich cannabis from flowers high in other cannabinoids.
We’ve also found that people prefer to use the term CBD flower, as it does not carry the negative connotation that sometimes goes along with hemp. Unfortunately, many still do not know how nice hemp flower can be!
So, to answer the question, “what’s the difference between cannabis, marijuana, hemp, and CBD flower?”, we’ll leave you with this.
Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis. Cannabis, in our eyes, is the superior term, as it is scientifically correct and all-encompassing.
If you want to be more specific, try CBD flower, THC flower, or CBG flower.
Hope that helps!