What’s the difference, scientifically, between hemp flower and real weed? They look & smoke the same.

158 views
0

People in my city are going crazy over this new ‘hemp flower’. Obviously, I get that one is hemp and the other is marijuana. But how is it that the flowers/buds come out looking almost exactly the same? Is there really any difference when it comes to the buds / plants themselves, besides different cannabinoids?

In: Other

You know how all apples look basically the same but taste a lot different? The reason for this is that plants have different cultivars in the same way that dogs and cats have different breeds. Different cultivars of apples produce different amounts of sugar – some produce a lot of sugar and taste sweet while other’s don’t.

Cannabis is the plant that people are growing when they grow hemp or weed. The difference between hemp and weed is the cultivar – cultivars that have <.3% THC by weight are called hemp. Cultivars that have more than that are called weed.

Other than the THC content there is no meaningful difference between hemp and weed.

Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis. Cannabis is classified as hemp or marijuana, legally speaking, based on THC levels.

Per the Farm Bill passed in 2018, ‘hemp’ is cannabis with Delta-9 THC contents under .3% by dry weight, whereas ‘marijuana’ has Delta-9 THC contents greater than .3% by dry-weight.

There are many strains of cannabis that generally produce Delta-9 THC levels below .3%, and are thus categorized as hemp. They typically produce much greater levels of CBD, too. They still have very similar buds to marijuana.

Hemp flower smokes the same, looks the same, and smells the same. The experience is familiar, but unique.

Total effective THC levels in 1g of good hemp flower match that of a standard edible dose, so you can still feel ‘high’. The likelihood of experiencing anxiety with your high is much lower because (1) hemp flower generally has ultra high levels of CBD, and (2) THC levels are about 1/20th that of typical marijuana.

I’m a big fan of hemp flower, or what I call ‘bud light’, myself. I used to smoke traditional bud all day every day but it’s hard to do that at my age and even appear responsible. A more modest experience is exactly what I’ve needed for a long time and I’m so glad to have discovered it.

>People in my city are going crazy over this new ‘hemp flower’. Obviously, I get that one is hemp and the other is marijuana.

Same plant, slightly different varieties. Just like there are different varieties of apples.

Marijuana is a slang term of dubious distinction that was cannonized into federal laws in the late 1930s, despite it’s unclear definition.

Hemp usually refers to the **fiber** produced from domesticated *Cannabis* plants. Although it can refer to plants grown for that purpose. The cloth produced from hemp fibers is called “Canvas” in English. In the past it was widely used for sails because of it’s strength. Modern “canvas” is usually a simulation made from a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers. This is due to the current regulatory difficulties of growing cannabis.

Cannabis grown for the purposes of hemp fiber usually contains almost no TCH and CBD. Some varieties have been developed for the production of edible seeds and oil rather than fibers. These also tend to be termed hemp though in the traditional and strict sense this refers to the produced fibers.

>But how is it that the flowers/buds come out looking almost exactly the same?

Same plant.

>Is there really any difference when it comes to the buds / plants themselves, besides different cannabinoids?

There are a large number of factors that influence the amount of cannabinoids including genetics, weather, light, time of harvest, flower maturity, fertilizer level, etc. The same plant may have different levels depending on when you harvest the flowers.

Modern cannabis has a very long history of cultivation and is probably descended from hybrids of at least three wild species: C. indica, C. sativa, and C. ruderalis. Possibly a fourth.

This occurred slowly over thousands of years in the same way that dogs have been bred for thousands of years, Note that these are all wild species in the strictest sense and the Cannabis you buy in stores is heavily domesticated, heavily crossbred, and is completely dependent on humans for reproduction.

In literature it’s commonly named *C. sativa,* but because there are significant genetic differences between domesticated Cannabis and wild C. sativa, it arguably more accurate to describe it as, *”C. domestica.”* to distinguish it from wild C sativa which is hardly recognizable. There is a decent genetic argument to be made. (Note that this is a subject of ongoing debate so I won’t muddy the topic much further.)

It’s often the case that sellers will refer to their product as C. sativa or C. indica. There’s no scientific basis to such claims. In both cases you’re looking at varieties of domesticated cannabis. They’re all “real” domestic cannabis.

Cannabis may have different forms, colors, and flavors in the same way that different varieties of roses have different colors, shapes, sizes, and aromas. They’re just different cultivars that have been developed by selective breeding.

The developing flower buds are most often used because they usually contain the greatest fraction of cannabinoids. Leaves and stems can be used but there are considered inferior “swag” quality and tends to have less cannabinoids and less pleasant aroma. That is assuming you find the smell of burning weed to be pleasant at all.