Isn’t hemp the same thing as marijuana?

by Blaze Ridcully & DGO Pufnstuf

Well, guys (and gals). We’re officially on our fourth Blaze and Puf column, and somehow, this thing has been making some serious dents with our readers. You guys have been sending in a ton of amazing and useful questions about weed, and we’re stoked to hear from you. We’ve also gotten a ton of feedback on our two lovable idiot potheads, and we’re always glad to hear from you. (And that’s true even when you’re telling us we’re dumb, but please don’t. It hurts our feelings.)

If you’re new to this column, here’s the deal. Because we keep getting texts and emails asking us about cannabis-related things, we decided to roll out a Q&A session with DGO’s two weed reviewers. Apparently we’re your safe place for answers on all things pot, and while we never mind chatting about the devil’s lettuce, we would appreciate you asking the questions sometime BEFORE midnight.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the questions you wanted tackled this issue. Enjoy!

I see hemp products in a lot of stores, including in places where weed isn’t legal. Isn’t hemp the same thing as marijuana?

Blaze: Ah, hemp is actually not the same thing as marijuana! This is where a lot of people get confused. Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant. However, hemp does not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets you stoned, while marijuana does. But they do both contain CBD (which will not make you high). The federal government legalized hemp back in 2018, but has yet to legalize marijuana on a national level.

Puf: I cannot tell you how many times over the years that I’ve heard this comparison, so if you’re feeling a little, umm, shocked at Blaze’s answer, don’t be. It’s a common misconception that hemp and cannabis are interchangeable plants, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the deal. Hemp, like actual hemp, basically has less THC in it than the dirt outside of your front door. I’m being dramatic, but it’s borderline true. The hemp plant is often conflated with the marijuana plant because they’re both from the same species, but only one has enough active THC in it to get you high. Can you guess which one that is?

Interestingly, though, both can be used to derive CBD, the cannabinoid that can help with seizure disorders and other medical issues. That makes it even more confusing for people to navigate, since both THC and CBD are cannabinoids. It causes the illusion that both are active in producing a large amount of THC, but they aren’t. Marijuana contains more than 0.3 percent THC, while hemp has less than that 0.3 percent cutoff.

And that’s not the only cause of the confusion, either. There is evidence of a conspiracy that caused a bunch of disinformation around hemp back in the day, too. Here’s what a growing number of researchers hypothesize happened.

So, the theory is that some idiots way back in the day decided that hemp, which is a strong plant fiber that can grow anywhere and in almost any conditions, was too much of a competition to cotton and other textile farmers. So you know what they did? They started a freaking disinformation campaign to get it outlawed under the guise of the whole “reefer madness” junk. Hemp became a Schedule 1 drug despite not having enough THC in it to get you high (you’d have to smoke literal pounds to get stoned, and like, that’s probably not the greatest idea, you know?) — and it wasn’t until very recently that it became legal in the U.S.

I’ll spare you my rant over this whole thing, but there was no reason for hemp to be illegal for decades, other than it threatened the livelihood of some dudes who were partially responsible for a lot of not-nice historical stuff.

So, short answer: They ain’t the same. They’re basically the cannabis plant version of two types of lettuce. Or arugula. Or something cool and metaphorical. I don’t know. Just know they aren’t the same plant, OK?

When I go into a dispensary, I notice that some weed strains are far more expensive than others. What makes some weed strains more expensive than others?

Puf: Um, the amazingness levels of the different strains? Duh? I kid. Mostly.

This is a complicated answer that requires a lot more business acumen than I possess, but in general, weed is a lot like any other product. Booze, food, or clothing all come in different price points and with different qualifiers for the cost.

With weed, you have your high end strains, which are either specialty strains that are hard to find, possess awesome qualities, or have some other weed superpower I don’t know about. And then you have your everyday strains, which are still awesome, bros, but aren’t as marketable or unusual.

There’s a lot more that goes into it, like the method of cultivation, the genetics, the lineage, the quality, and who grew the stuff, but know this: you can’t go wrong with either one. High end or low end, they’re both going to do your body some good, and you shouldn’t discount a strain because it’s five times cheaper than another one.

You should also consider doing some of your own scientific research (read: smoke some of both the high end and budget bud) to see if you can tell a difference. I freaking LOVE high end strains and can sometimes tell the difference, but I also freaking LOVE budget strains, so I’m not a good judge in this category.

Maybe Blaze will be more helpful. I’m off my game these days when it comes to educational topics. Blame it on the never-ending isolation and too much of a good-good thing.

Blaze: Oh man, that’s a complicated question, my dude! There’s a lot of factors that go into marijuana pricing structures and what makes a connoisseur shelf strain. First off, how it’s grown and who grew it plays a big role in that.

Some growers, like Durango Cannabis Company and The Green House Pagosa, have established notorious reputations in the marijuana community for growing some excellent bud. Cultivation and packaging also play a role. Are you buying whole bud or are you purchasing popcorn, shake, or trim? An ounce of whole bud is going to cost you much more than an ounce of popcorn.

And, finally, we get to genetics. While all weed is great, let’s be real here. Some strains have a much more widely appreciated lineage, like OG Kush and Durban Poison. You’re going to pay more for quality strains like that because, well, everyone wants them!

I’m having some lady troubles — when it’s that time of the month I get the worst cramps and just feel terrible. Can weed help with that?

Blaze: Oof, you have our deepest condolences. First off, we highly recommend you consult your physician first. I know looks can be deceiving, but Puf and I are unfortunately not doctors. BUT we can give you a few recommendations based on scientific studies.

Secondly, we need you to read this entirely useless study that was done on the subject in 1847. (See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2487155/)

Thirdly, while not a lot of studies have been done specifically on cannabis’s effect on menstrual cramps, there is plenty of evidence to show that marijuana has a potent impact on pain. In 2017, a study was published in the Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. on this very subject, and in 2015, The Journal of Pain published a study on the safety of people using cannabis as a pain management substance.

Puf: Weed. Can. Help. With. EVERYTHING. I’m not sure how long you’ve been reading our weed-y rants, but I’ve noted a couple of times in some early reviews that I suffer from a little thing called upper-bowel Crohns. I know you want to know about my guts and all, but it is what it is.

Anyway, it’s not the same as hormonal cramps, but it does suck a big ol’ butt when it flares up. I can’t eat. I can barely function. And it’s not uncommon for me to be stuck in the emergency room for fluids when it gets really bad. I have learned to live with it, but you know what? Weed helps a metric shit ton (pun intended), and I will not let anyone pry it out of my cold, dead hands for that reason alone.

When my body freaks out, all it takes is a joint or a puff of a vape to be able to eat or drink normally. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how, but I know it works. I don’t even really care what the mechanism is, to be honest. It just works and that’s enough for me.

Now, I can’t promise you it will knock out your cramps, but I can tell you that there is a very good chance it will. This stuff works to help cancer patients endure pain or get through chemo and it helps chronic pain patients wean off of dangerous opioid painkillers. Chances are good that if you throw back an edible or puff-puff-pass the next time you have cramps you’ll get some relief. Worth a try, you know?

My dog gets so hyper and I’m trying to find ways to get him to chill out! Can dogs ingest cannabis and is it healthy for them?

Puf: Obligatory “I am not a (dog) doctor” here, but I think I can answer this. So, yes and no. While THC and other cannabinoids can help dogs chill out, you need to be careful about the amount and the type of cannabis product your giving el doggo.

Here’s the issue. Your dog is a lot more sensitive to THC than you are, so if your dog gets high, it gets reaaaaaaaaaal effing high. Too much of a good thing means a stressed out, potentially MORE hyper dog on your hands and a traumatized pet parent. That is no bueno for anyone or anydog involved.

That said, there’s a chance that THC can also be toxic to dogs, so again, you need to be careful about what you’re giving your pet when it comes to cannabis. Luckily, there are PLENTY of pet tincture options to give your dog to help them chill the hell out. I give my big ol’ beast of a dog a bacon-flavored pet tincture that has just CBD in it and it’s a lifesaver. He goes from 130 hyper horse to calm and relaxed in the blink of an eye.

CBD is also good for his health, which is primarily what I give it to him for. But if you’re planning to give your dog THC? Don’t. Stick with CBD products instead. It’s not worth the potential headache of an anxious, hyper dog or the potential health ramifications. But that’s just really my opinion, I guess.

Blaze: Aw, poor kiddo. And poor you! Luckily, we have a good answer for you: yes! CBD is safe for your precious canine. You can get CBD treats (that will not make your dog high) in the form of dog treats, so your puppers will love them. You may have to experiment with which ones work best for your dog and lifestyle, but rest assured, CBD will definitely calms your dog down.

Blaze Ridcully & DGO PufnstufGot weed questions? Send them our way at [email protected] and we’ll make sure Blaze and Puf tackle them. Now go forth, send us your email questions, and remember: always pass the dutchie to the left-hand side.

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