Hemp is a type of cannabis, but so is marijuana, which is illegal. What’s the difference between the two, and why is hemp legal while marijuana is not?
Hemp flower is legal to produce, cultivate, transport, and sell at the federal level in the United States, meaning it’s safe to perform these tasks nationwide. However, when it comes to smokable hemp, the laws get more complex.
Alongside the spike in CBD use came a spike in the demand for hemp cultivation, which has arguably contributed to the government’s stance on the subject. Though hemp flower is legal, marijuana is not, so it’s important to ensure that any CBD you seek out comes from hemp that meets federal regulations.
What is Hemp Flower?
Hemp flower, sometimes referred to as just “hemp,” is a term used to describe cannabis plants that contain 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight). In other words, hemp is a specific kind of cannabis that contains little to no THC.
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects we associate with marijuana. So, without the presence of THC, a “high” can not be achieved. In other words, hemp flower does not get you high.
Though it doesn’t contain much or any THC, hemp flower does still contain other useful cannabinoids, most notably CBD (cannabidiol). Many people use hemp flower or other hemp products for a variety of medicinal and personal reasons.
How Hemp Differs from Marijuana
As mentioned, the main difference between marijuana and hemp is the presence (or lack thereof) of THC.
Those who’d like to experience the positive and medicinal properties of cannabis without consuming THC can benefit greatly from hemp flower. It still provides many of the same benefits as marijuana, and it’s safe to use!
If you’d like to learn more about hemp flower, you might be interested in this guide on the subject. There you’ll learn more about where hemp comes from, how it can be used, and how it’s unique.
Is hemp flower legal in all 50 states?
Hemp flower for cultivation and ownership is legal in all 50 U.S. states, at least as of 2021. However, in some states, the laws get more fuzzy when it comes to smoking hemp.
In the following states, you should be careful about smoking hemp, however owning or growing hemp is no problem.
- North Carolina
Hemp production and cultivation as well as the transportation of these products have been legal for a few years. The 2018 Farm Bill, passed by the U.S. Congress, legalized hemp at the federal level after decades of prohibition. Federal legality means that users can’t be prosecuted at the federal level for any crimes related to hemp, but states were still free to create their own regulations and legislation surrounding the topic.
This difference in legality between hemp and marijuana has something to do with the fact that CBD does not make you high, and also with hemp’s usefulness in other scenarios. For example, hemp is used for making textiles, shoes, clothing, and more, and isn’t only useful for smoking.
Even more strict states, like Idaho, now allow the production and sale of hemp. Some states limit how much THC can be in hemp products at a more specific level than what’s outlined by the Farm Bill (0.3% THC or less), and others outlaw any CBD derived from marijuana rather than hemp.
Overall, though, it’s not nearly as difficult to access hemp-derived CBD products as it may have been in the past.
Is it legal to order hemp flower online?
Yes, it is legal to order hemp flower and other CBD products online, at least within the United States.
Thanks to 2018’s Farm Bill, it’s legal to produce, transport, and sell hemp flower at the federal level. That means it’s legal to do all of these things within each individual state. CBD products in general are legal to purchase online, but some states (named above) have specific laws surrounding where CBD must come from and what sort of CBD products are allowed to be sold commercially.
CBD products, including hemp flower, must come from hemp plants and contain 0.3% or less THC by weight. Hemp flower’s trace amounts of THC means that it won’t produce a psychoactive high – a lack of THC is what separates CBD hemp flower from marijuana, which is still federally illegal.
So long as you live within the United States and are purchasing from a company within the U.S. that follows all FDA regulations, you shouldn’t run into any concerns. Sometimes you will notice that products say “not intended for smoking” on the packaging. These products are still safe to smoke, but that disclaimer is meant to help with distribution in states where the laws about smokable CBD flower are murky.
In fact, shopping online for hemp flower is perhaps one of the best ways to compare product options and buy in bulk. The internet is a great tool for locating the highest-quality, most potent, and most worthwhile hemp flower options for your budget.
Is hemp flower legal to grow in the U.S.?
It is indeed legal to grow hemp flower in the U.S., though individuals looking to grow hemp on personal property or without commercial intentions must still secure approval from appropriate state and local agencies.
The Farm Bill of 2018, as discussed, legalized hemp cultivation and production at the federal level, opening the door for manufacturers to begin growing product in earnest.
Because hemp is no longer classified as a controlled substance, it’s possible to legally grow it even if you’re not part of a formal operation. Regulations for this type of growth vary from state to state, and you’ll likely need to secure permission from your state’s Department of Agriculture before you get started.
Growing hemp can be a complex process, so for most users, personal growth is a bit of a heavy commitment. Fortunately, there are many sellers nationwide who utilize only the best farming and growing techniques to ensure that the end product is as potent and high-quality as can be; purchasing great hemp flower for a reasonable price is more possible now than ever.
Hemp Flower Benefits
In the past, we’ve discussed many of the benefits of smoking hemp flower. But no matter how you consume hemp or CBD, you generally stand to benefit in some way.
Many of the positive effects that come from hemp consumption come from CBD, which has anti-inflammatory and calming properties.
For many, hemp is a great (and legal) alternative to marijuana. Hemp can provide many of the benefits associated with smoking marijuana minus the high, which makes it a nice way to implement them into your life without risking any legal trouble.
In other words, hemp flower fills a void that, as of right now, marijuana can’t. Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and until legislation changes, hemp may feel like a safer and more approachable option.
If you live in one of the 33 U.S. states with a medical marijuana program, you may be able to access products with both THC and CBD (or just high levels of CBD).
Thanks to the entourage effect, products that offer both THC and CBD are generally more effective and stronger. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for these programs or can even access them at all. That’s where hemp comes into the equation.
Potential Side Effects
Though side effects from hemp flower or CBD consumption are relatively uncommon, they are still possible.
You may be more likely to experience side effects if you take a larger than normal dose of your products, so it’s a good idea to take things slow, especially when trying out something new.
Be sure to take note of any of the following symptoms if you experience them after hemp consumption:
- Dry mouth
Though these symptoms likely will go away on their own and won’t require any sort of medical treatment, it is important to be aware of them, especially if they happen more than once.
Certain medications can also interact with CBD/hemp flower upon consumption, so if you take prescription medications it’s not a bad idea to check with a doctor before trying out new products.
Even when things get broken down, there can still be some uncertainty when it comes to the legality of hemp flower, especially because some states falter from the precedent set by the federal government.
Still, it’s generally safe to say that hemp flower is legal across the board.
As time goes on and the medicinal and health benefits of both hemp and other forms of cannabis become more clear, it’s likely we’ll see another shift in the way the legal system views hemp.
If you’re looking for great hemp products at an equally great price, check out our directory. There you’ll find all sorts of hemp flower options, information about products, reviews, and more.