Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa (Ruderalis is a third type, but it is not highlighted as often). While marijuana can be considered a member of either the Indica or Sativa families, Hemp is a member of the Cannabis Sativa family.
Within the cannabis plant there are over 450 known compounds: cannabinoids, terpenes, chlorophyll, flavanoids, fatty acids, etc. The two most well recognized elements are the cannabinoids THC and CBD. THC and CBD are only two of over 100 identified cannabinoids.
THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis and it exists in both Hemp and Marijuana. Individuals looking to "get high" are interested in consuming THC, which is typically associated with marijuana. Marijuana Farmers and Master Growers continue to improve their skills in creating marijuana strains with have varying levels of THC along with taste, smell, etc. Some marijuana strains can contain up to 40% THC.
Understanding how THC works in the body and mind also means understanding the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) — a system of cannabinoid receptors, lipids, and enzymes that plays a discernible role in maintaining internal regulatory balance. When our bodies achieve this balance, it’s called homeostasis. The ECS is present throughout the body, consisting of three main components: “messenger” molecules, or cannabinoids, that our bodies synthesize, the receptors these molecules bind to, and the enzymes that break them down. The ECS has several receptors, but the main players are receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors, found mainly in the central nervous system, activate when THC binds to them — which in turn causes THC intoxication and other cerebral effects.
Although THC is linked to its euphoric effects, there are also many medical uses as well.
As consumer's connect THC to marijuana, CBD is typically linked to hemp, and CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties. Hemp products typically contain less than .3% THC, with some products containing zero THC (e.g., CBD Isolate). Additionally, hemp has thousands of years of history as being used for industrial purposes, capable of producing hundreds of crucial resources such as paper, clothing, building materials, biofuel, food products, oils and more.
CBD is a cannabinoid and again, only one element of the over 450 known compounds of the plant. On it's own, CBD has some benefits, however full spectrum cannabis oil containing naturally occurring CBD is more beneficial. Whole plant benefits are know to deliver the entourage effect. The entourage effect results when the many components within the cannabis plant interact with the human body to produce a stronger influence than any one of those components alone – it’s a synergistic effect.