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Cannabis is trending. You’ve heard a lot about its potential benefits, and now you want to give it a try. There’s just one problem, however: there’s a ton of options out there! So how and where exactly do you get started? The first step is determining what exactly you want to get out of it, and how you’re comfortable with consuming it. Here are four popular cannabis products for your consideration.

 

Marijuana

Marijuana is the same thing as a hemp flower, except instead of being derived from a hemp plant, the flower comes from a marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa indica. These flowers are commonly referred to as “buds”. Marijuana buds are rich in delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), containing 5-20% THC on average. However, they can contain up to 30% THC.

Marijuana is primarily used as a drug, and has been used as a drug for hundreds and possibly even thousands of years. The high levels of THC in marijuana creates an intoxicating ‘high,’ with effects such as euphoria and relaxation.  It can also be used medically, but this is less common. 

Marijuana is illegal on the federal level, and each state has its own laws on marijuana. Where legal, marijuana is typically smoked on its own or inhaled through a dry vape system. Glass pipes and wrapping papers are also used to smoke marijuana, similar to rolling and smoking a cigarette. Smoking marijuana allows its effects to come on immediately because THC gets absorbed directly into the blood from the lungs instead of having to pass through the digestive system.

Some people use marijuana in baking or cooking, because cannabinoids are fat soluble. This means it’s easy to make a marijuana-infused butter or oil in just about any dish. These are generally known as “edibles”.

 

Hemp Flower

When you think of a flower, you probably think of tulips and roses and other colorful flowers that you see by walking by the floral section of your local grocery store. But flowers don’t have to be colorful or showy to be considered flowers. In fact, all a flower is is the seed-bearing part of a plant. And hemp flower is the seed-bearing part of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa sativa.

When harvested, hemp flowers in particular are rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids. Because the whole flower is sold to consumers, it doesn’t have to go through the same rigorous extraction process as CBD oil. This means that it contains a much greater quantity of hemp’s naturally occurring compounds compared to any other CBD delivery format. It is speculated that hemp flower could offer more benefits for this reason.

Unlike its cousin, marijuana, it’s impossible to get high from hemp flowers. In fact, legally grown, federally regulated industrial hemp plants must contain less than 0.3% THC according to the 2018 Farm Bill. Instead, hemp flowers are used for their anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects, as well as neuroprotective properties.

Hemp flower can be taken in the same way as marijuana. It can be smoked like a cigarette, or inhaled via dry vape system. Like marijuana, smoking hemp flower delivers CBD directly to the user’s bloodstream via the lungs, allowing for more immediate effects. Hemp flower can also be used in cooking.

 

CBD Oil

CBD oil starts with the extraction of cannabidiol from a Cannabis plant, whether hemp or marijuana. This can be done in a variety of ways. For small-scale production, solvents like butane can be used, and some people even use olive oil, but the best method is supercritical CO2 extraction. This is more expensive, but CO2 extraction results in a safe, high-quality final product. The extracted cannabinoids are suspended in hemp or coconut oil for sale.

CBD oil has a range of known benefits, whether anecdotal or confirmed scientifically. Athletes often use CBD products to manage pain and swelling. People with depression and anxiety use the oil for better mental health. Dog owners have found that CBD products help reduce stress in their pets. The FDA has approved a CBD-based medicine for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. Even cancer patients are known to use CBD to ease nausea and increase appetite during chemotherapy.

CBD oil is generally taken sublingually, or under the tongue. Here, the cannabidiol gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the thin tissues there, which makes CBD oil fairly fast-acting. The flavor of CBD oil varies depending on the extraction process and whether it’s just cannabidiol or “full-spectrum”, but generally it has a very earthy flavor. If you don’t like the taste, you can mix it with your beverage, but it will take longer to take effect.

CBD oil is legal in all 50 states as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. Some contain more, so it’s good to get a verified report from an independent testing lab before buying. You should also beware of hemp oil marketed as CBD oil. Some manufacturers will try to scam you by either diluting CBD oil with hemp oil, or not using CBD oil at all, so it’s good to check authenticity before buying.

 

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is made from cold pressing hemp seeds to produce hempseed oil. This oil is known to be very healthy since it contains all the nutrients and minerals found within hempseeds, plus  healthy, unsaturated fats. This oil is a popular beauty product, and is renowned in the industry for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains incredibly high levels of vitamin E, an important antioxidant, and may play a role in combating the effects of aging. 

Because it’s less processed than CBD oil, hemp oil is significantly less expensive by weight. It also does not contain cannabidiol or any other cannabinoids. Keep in mind that sometimes CBD oil is marketed as hemp oil, so if you’re looking for this product, look for hempseed oil.

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