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cannabis v. marijuana

With the emergence of CBD oil in the last few years, a question that often comes up nowadays is about cannabis v. marijuana. Is there a difference, and if there is, what is it?

They come from the same plant, but their uses and applications are certainly much different. As more science and medical applications emerge for cannabis, it is important for us to continue to distinguish and educate others about what separates the two.

But perhaps you’re new to it all and aren’t sure even which is which. If that’s the case, you’re in luck. Let’s take a look at the difference between marijuana and cannabis, and why it matters.

What is Cannabis? 

To make this argument easier, we’ll change the phrasing we use slightly. First, let’s identify cannabis. Cannabis is the plant that both marijuana and CBD (cannabidiol) come from.

To call them the same thing would be wrong. Cannabis contains over 400 different compounds, including THC (we’ll talk about this in a second), and CBD, which is probably what’s causing the confusing for many people. 

If you need help remembering this, think of cannabis as simply something scientific to study. Nowadays, plenty of research and money is going into just what cannabis (the whole plant) may be able to do to improve human health.

As you’ll learn in a second, at least two of their compounds can do a lot– and the outcomes are quite different.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is another term for cannabis, which admittedly is confusing. Let’s take away some of that confusion by classifying marijuana as the recreational drug that has been popularized in movies and the mainstream media. Further, many U.S. states (Colorado being the first) worked to legalize recreational marijuana on November 6, 2012. 

Now, here’s the major difference in the marijuana v. cannabis discussion. Marijuana contains a powerful compound called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. You don’t need to remember that word– just remember that it’s the compound that notoriously gets people “high”.

There are some psychoactive effects to THC, which happens as a result of binding to receptors in the brain. Users who smoke marijuana, ingest it, or even use it as a topical agent like lip balm (growing ever popular in today’s legal weed markets) may feel a sense of euphoria or ‘high’ from consuming the drug.

What is CBD?

Another term you may have heard recently is CBD, or cannabidiol. Anywhere from doctors to veterinarians are now suggesting CBD oil as a good option for anything from seizures, to pain, to inflammation and more. Some people even give it to their dogs to help alleviate joint pain.

The thing with CBD oil is that it’s not regulated in all states, at least yet. This means that you need to be careful if you are using it. CBD oil on its own will have no psychoactive effects– but the truth is, if it’s not regulated, you never know what you’re going to get.

In fact, depending on the country, CBD oil can get you in trouble. It was only recently that a British man on vacation in Bali was sentenced to 15 years in prison for having CBD oil on him. 

What’s tricky is that he had actual THC oil on him, which has psychoactive effects. For a recreational user of either (or both), that might be common knowledge. But if you don’t know what you’re buying, what your state (or country)’s stance is on the stuff, it’s best to do some research first.

Is There THC In Cannabis?

There is THC in weed, marijuana, or what you’d call the cannabis plant. In theory, there should be no THC (the stuff that gets you high) in a topical CBD oil. But that isn’t always the case.

Especially in the early days of CBD oil being used to treat things like anxiety or pain, some users reported feelings of euphoria or being ‘high’ from using it. Obviously, this was not intended. But the truth is, you may not know what you got until it’s too late.

As the medical field continues to pump out studies on the benefits of CBD oil and the cannabis plant, we’re sure to see cleaner versions of CBD that have no traces of THC come out. Like with all things, sometimes it’s better to not be an early adopter and let things play out before you jump in head first.

Also, be very careful. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has attempted to get both CBD and THC listed on the Level 1 drug offense list in recent years. They’ve admitted to being aware of the medical uses behind CBD oil but do not believe it is different as some research has linked CBD to being addictive.

Cannabis v. Marijuana: Wrapping Up

So you’ve read a lot of acronyms to this point, but hopefully, you get the gist of the cannabis v. marijuana discussion. If not, let’s do a quick recap.

Both marijuana and CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant. There are over 400 compounds active in the plant itself, all of them having different benefits or reactions.

THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, is illegal in some states and gets users high. CBD oil, on the other hand, is currently being lauded as a great alternative medicine for alleviating ailments like pain and anxiety.

Learn more things about cannabis (and even careers in Cannabis) by checking out more of our website. We hope this article cleared things up for you and you’re able to pick and choose which you’d like to use going forward!


About Quantum9

Quantum 9, Inc. is a Chicago, IL-based cannabis consulting firm. We specialize in getting high net worth individuals and private equity cannabis business licenses to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. We have over 50 marijuana consultants that work for the company, and we have practiced in 12 countries. Our areas of expertise include permit acquisition, team building, employee training planning, and process planning. We help clients fully maximize the potential of any cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary business.

One Comment

  • Josh Noble says:

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