Part 1 - Hemp Oil vs CBD. Confused?

By Ron Lev,

Reclaim Labs’ Founder

In the past year, it feels that the three-letter abbreviation, CBD, is everywhere – in the local pharmacy, that street corner bodega and even at your neighborhood dry cleaner…

So, what’s the hype all about and what does hemp or cannabis have to do with CBD anyway?

Let’s take a few steps back. Hemp has been with mankind almost forever, or more precisely, was already utilized for industrial usage as early as 10,000 years ago.

Hemp mesh

Hemp Mash

Hemp or industrial hemp is a strain of the Cannabis sativa that was grown specifically for its derived products.

It’s one of earth’s fastest-growing plants and was the first plant to be spun into usable fiber.

It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed and much more. Read the following to gain deeper insights into industrial hemp fibers.

There are even cars that are made out of hemp and, in fact, back in 1941 Henry Ford, who was a hemp farmer himself, created the first hemp-made car as a means to help struggling American farmers.

It even ran on hemp biofuel!

hemp car

Ford's Hemp Car

So how did such an industry essential got itself associated with the “bad boy”, marijuana, and even worse, got deemed illegal for so many years?

Well, essentially, hemp and marijuana are like siblings – the good boy and the bad boy.

Both are a Cannabis plant, but each has a different composition, namely, relating to the psychoactive ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol, or simply THC.

Hemp has none or negligent amounts of THC, while Marijuana is THC dominant. However, this common denominator of cannabis was enough to have legislators, initially, include hemp as a Schedule I Controlled Substance and outlawed.

Only in 2014 that year’s Farm Bill revised the status of hemp legalization and allowed its cultivation not for industrial purposes, which involve the fiber and seed, but not the flowering tops which contain THC and CBD.

Hemp CBD products were allowed only for research and only in states that participated in the Hemp Pilot Program. Under this program, hemp was defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% of THC.

Later, the 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp and made it legal to grow industrial hemp and finally removed it from the list of controlled substances.

Hurray! There are still many legality and regulation issues, but that’s a whole other discussion.

So, what did we learn so far:

Cannabis is the plant from which both hemp and marijuana are created and while marijuana has large amounts of THC, hemp has less than 0.3% of THC. In essence, it’s a legal definition that sets apart hemp from marijuana:

  • THC concentration ≥ 0.3% = ILLEGAL

  • THC concentration < 0.3% = LEGAL

As simple as that!

hemp vs marijuana


LEGAL = 0.3% > THC concentration ≥ 0.3% = ILLEGAL

In the next blog-post, I’ll discuss CBD and other cannabinoids.

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