Frequently Asked Questions
Cannabis sativa has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, dating back over 1,000 years BC in India and at least 5,000 years BC in China. Hemp and cannabis are both members of this plant species, however, the two plants are genetically distinct and unique in their chemical composition. Thus, they are used for very different purposes.
Cannabis refers to the type of cannabis sativa that is usually grown for its euphoric, psychoactive properties, which are responsible for making users feel high. The fibres and stalks of cannabis are not used. In fact, the cannabis plant is cultivated specifically for its flowers, which contain the highest levels of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the plant. To maximise THC levels in cannabis, it is typically grown indoors so that conditions like temperature, light and humidity can be monitored. Any male cannabis plants are removed to prevent the female plants from becoming fertilised, which lowers the plant’s concentration of THC. When compared to hemp, which grows tall, cannabis grows shorter with lots of flowers. Varieties of cannabis can contain THC concentrations that range from 10% to up to 30%. Cannabis is naturally lower in cannabidiol (CBD), than THC. Since it contains high levels of THC, use and possession of cannabis remains illegal in most countries.
Hemp refers to strains of cannabis sativa that have been bred specifically for fibres used for clothing and construction, oil and topical ointments, nutritional benefits, biofuels and a growing variety of other purposes that do not involve intoxication or psychotropic effects. Because it thrives under natural conditions, hemp is usually grown outside, with both male and female plants sown closely together to encourage pollination and increase seed production. For cannabis to be considered hemp, in most countries, it must contain no more than 0.3% THC per dry weight. The level of THC in hemp is 33 times less than the least potent cannabis strains, so it is impossible for hemp to cause euphoria. Unlike cannabis, hemp is naturally higher in CBD, one of over 100 cannabinoids, that have so far been identified in the plant. CBD is completely non-psychoactive and therefore won’t cause a euphoric effect, making it safe for use.
Cannabinoids are active compounds which act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. They include phytocannabinoids which are found in cannabis and some other plants, endocannabinoids which are produced naturally in the human and animal body, and synthetic cannabinoids which are artificially produced in the laboratory.
There are over 100 phytocannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant. The most notable ones are CBD and THC. Whereas THC has psychoactive effects and is used in human healthcare, CBD belongs to the cannabinoids which are non-psychoactive.
THC and CBD are the two main substances in the cannabis plant and the most well- known phytocannabinoids.
THC is responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis. It creates euphoria by stimulating the release of dopamine in the brain.
CBD acts differently than THC within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). As opposed to THC, CBD does not produce euphoria, intoxication, tolerance, or any alterations in thinking and perception.
No. According to a 2017 WHO review of the medical literature:
“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
The WHO reported: “A wide range of oral doses have been reported in the literature, with most from 100- 800mg/day.” The right dosing for CBD depends greatly on the person taking it and the condition it is being taken for. Some may only need a small amount (5-10 mg), while others may need large doses (> 200mg). The World Health Organization reviewed the safety of CBD in its report and found that “there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” No CBD overdoses have been reported.