The Difference Between Medical Marijuana and Hemp

Depending on where you live, it may be legal for you to have both hemp and medical marijuana (with a prescription.) With both of these options out there, it can be confusing as to what the differences are, and why you’d want both.

There are some very distinct differences between the two derivatives of the cannabis plant. Although both can be legal, it should be extremely obvious to you which one you need at any given time.

Using medical marijuana

Linked to specific medical conditions, medical marijuana is available through prescription only even in states where it’s legal. Medical marijuana does contain the same cannabinoids as everyday marijuana. It can still get you in real trouble depending on what state you’re in. This is because medical marijuana does have THC in it. It can get you ‘high’.

Medical marijuana also sits in the confusing gray area between the states who’ve legalized it, and the federal government. On the federal level, there’s really no difference between marijuana used recreationally and the kind used for health reasons. It’s all still considered a controlled substance by the feds, so it’s all technically illegal.

While federal laws do supersede state laws, those using medical marijuana where it’s legal shouldn’t run into an issue if they’re taking the medication at home, and don’t have more than the legally prescribed amount. It’s not too common for federal officials to raid a home where a sick person is treating their illness with medical marijuana (but they could still arrest you if you’re out and about using.)

What medical marijuana treats

What illnesses medical marijuana can treat varies between states. However, there are many common conditions that can qualify. These include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms
  • Severe and chronic pain
  • Severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment

How to buy medical marijuana with a prescription

If you’re given a prescription to use medical marijuana, you’ll need to apply for a medical marijuana card. There may be a fee involved, and you’ll definitely have to show proof your doctor prescribed the treatment.

Once you have your card, you’re able to go to any registered medical marijuana dispensary. Your prescription can come in pill form, like most medications, but may also be available as a liquid, oil, powder, or even as dried leaves you can smoke. Talk to your doctor if you have a preferred way of ingesting your medication.

As with all medications, you should follow your doctor’s instructions implicitly when it comes to using medical marijuana. Do not exceed dosage and frequency instructions. Contact your doctor immediately if you have any unexpected side effects.

Using hemp-derived products

Unlike medical marijuana, hemp-derived products, such as CBD, are legal throughout the United States. Since they contain 0.3 percent THC or less, they’re legal on both federal and state levels. This means you can walk into any store that sells hemp products, and buy them without an issue.

Hemp-derived products come in all different forms. Some you take orally, while others you use topically. There are cannabinoids in everything from lip balm and hand cream, to gummies and beverages.

Within the category of hemp-derived products, you’ll find different variations in ingredients. Some contain very low levels of THC, while others have none. Some contain CBD, but others may highlight different cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, CBC. Regardless, hemp-derived products will not get you high.

Although some consumers use hemp-derived products to address medical issues such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and more, there’s not enough clinical research yet for doctors to prescribe them as an actual treatment. Whether someone uses these types of products for these types of reasons is based purely on the individual’s experience.

When to pick what

Although they come from the same plant, medical marijuana and hemp are two very different categories of products. When your doctor prescribes medical marijuana, it means you have a specific condition that’s okay to treat this way. You may opt to take a hemp alternative if you don’t like the way medical marijuana makes you feel, but there’s no guarantee the hemp product will be as effective.

As researchers learn more about CBD, and other hemp-derived products, it’s possible actual hemp medications will become available. Since none of these types of products will leave you feeling high, they’ll still be different from actual medical marijuana.

Where to buy hemp products when you don’t need medical marijuana

If you don’t need medical marijuana, but are still interested in trying hemp to treat a condition you currently have, you want to make sure you’re buying the highest quality products. At Arbor Vita8, we pride ourselves on the ingredients we use to create our line of tinctures, balms, capsules, and more. We won’t sell anything we wouldn’t use in our own homes, so visit our online store today and see if hemp is right for you.

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