Recently, Germany has taken a huge stride in the fight for legalization and legalized the magical herb for medicinal as well as recreational uses. Although in our country, in recent times, the arrest of some Bollywood stars has sparked widespread discussion about the use of the magical herb. But what is it exactly and is it different from hemp? 

Hemp, weed or marijuana and CBD are all byproducts of the cannabis plant and the words are used interchangeably—plus there is a plethora of poetic terms and code words imprinted through pop culture that make them even more confusing. However, they're not all the same and have very different uses. While one can get you high, the other is used for wellness. Moreover, the legality of cannabis varies depending on its intended use. While many countries permit its medical and industrial use, only a handful allow it for recreational purposes. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of these terms and explore their distinct characteristics and applications.

> Cannabis, weed, pot, and marijuana all refer to the same group of plants known for their relaxing and calming effects. However, effects vary depending on your mode of consumption. Marijuana, often known as weed or pot, encompasses the dried leaves & flowers derived from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. Within these plant parts lies the presence of THC, a psychoactive compound responsible for inducing the characteristic "high" associated with marijuana use, along with other similar compounds. It is hence illegal to possess or consume it in many countries around the world. Animal studies have shown that early exposure to addictive substances, including THC, may change how the brain responds to other drugs.Cannabis consists of approximately 120 chemicals, collectively known as cannabinoids. Among these, the two most prevalent are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Interestingly, both THC and CBD are found in varying concentrations in both marijuana and hemp plants.

Cannabis plants have been classified into three primary categories: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis/hybrid. Each of these are said to have their own characteristics and effects.

SATIVA : Sativa's leaves are long, tall and finger-like. It is known for its "heady high"--an invigorating, energizing effect that can "reduce anxiety or stress and increase creativity and focus".

INDICA : These leaves are shorter, plumper and fuller compared to sativa. Indicas are also known to be calming and relaxing.

RUDERALIS : These are small plants that don't grow more than 12 inches. However, they grow super quickly. Ruderalis is considered to have very low levels of THC and high amounts of CBD, and aren't used as much for recreational purposes.

Hemp, a member of the cannabis family, and is very different from marijuana. It is cultivated primarily for its versatile industrial applications. Its robust fibers are utilized in the production of various goods, such as textiles, paper, and ropes. Moreover, hemp seeds serve as a nutritious source of protein and healthy fats, finding their way into a variety of food products. Unlike its cousin marijuana, hemp contains minimal levels of THC. With THC levels typically below 0.3%, hemp is prized for its non-psychoactive properties, making it a valuable asset in numerous industries. Moreover, hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound with potential health benefits.

Traditionally, hemp has been utilized as a natural remedy for various health issues, including skin disorders, inflammation, pain, seizures, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It is favored by many because of its high levels of CBD. This non-psychoactive compound provides relief for these ailments without causing any intoxicating effects that are typically associated with THC found in marijuana.

People typically process industrial hemp into one of three forms:

Hemp seeds and seeds extract - Hemp seeds are a nutrient-dense foodstuff with a variety of uses. People often use hemp seeds as part of savory and sweet dishes for their mild, nutty flavor. They should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Most hemp products require refrigeration after opening. 

Hemp Oil - Hemp seed oil is extracted from seeds of the hemp plant. The extraction occurs through cold-pressing, similar to the way that olives are cold-pressed to make olive oil. The many health benefits of hemp seed oil come from its high content of three polyunsaturated fatty acids which help remove cholesterol from the body.

Hemp Fiber - Hemp fiber is strong, durable, and has excellent insulation properties. It is also naturally resistant to mold and mildew, making it an excellent choice for textiles and building materials.

    > CBD, short for cannabidiol – a natural compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Despite its widespread popularity, understanding CBD can be a maze, especially when it comes to determining its potential uses and how to incorporate it into your routine. CBD has taken the wellness world by storm, whether it's blended into your morning coffee, infused into skincare concoctions, or simply sold on its own. Yet, amidst the plethora of options, questions persist about the precise benefits of CBD and the optimal ways to reap its rewards.

    The big Question : WILL I GET “HIGH” USING CBD?
    - NO, CBD cannot make you high. CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won't have any effects like euphoria

    Despite claims of its widespread benefits, unbiased evidence supporting the efficacy of CBD remains limited. However, a handful of unbiased studies have shown promising results. For instance, a 2021 study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research found that CBD-rich treatments were effective in relieving moderate to severe pain, anxiety, and depression, while also improving overall well-being in individuals experiencing these symptoms. It's worth noting, though, that this study did not demonstrate the benefit of CBD for those with mild symptoms.

    For more details about CBD and its effects, click here

    ***Before using any CBD product, you should speak to your doctor to come up with a safe dosage plan that works for you. This plan should also take into account your symptoms and any other medications or supplements that you may be taking.

    >The big Players and Investors in the Hemp Industry:

    The hemp industry has attracted some big names and exciting start-ups. In 2017, Ratan Tata and Rajan Anandan invested in BOHECO, showing their belief in its potential. Hindustan Media Ventures followed suit by investing in Hemp Horizons in 2022.

    And just recently, Nithin Kamath tweeted his conviction to allocate capital to hemp-focused start-ups. We also have India Hemp & Co, Hempstrol, GreenJams, HempStreet, Satliva, Hemp Republic, and many more driving innovation in this space. It is projected that by 2027, India could see around 500 companies working in industries related to hemp and its by-products.

    While the distinction between the two plants might seem clear-cut, the legal framework surrounding them is anything but. Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, the flowering and fruiting tops of the hemp plant remain banned, yet leaves, seeds, and stalks enjoy exemption. However, the landscape is shifting, with significant strides made in recent years.

    Cannabis, or hemp, is the name of the plant. Weed, marijuana and hash (hashish) refer to various products that are made from the plant. These terms are often used interchangeably.