Hemp (“industrial hemp” according to federal law) and marijuana (“marihuana” according to federal law) are both subspecies of the plant, cannabis sativa in the same way that wolves and domesticated dogs are members of the same species, canis lupus.

Generally speaking, hemp is defined as cannabis containing low amounts of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and marijuana is defined as cannabis containing high amounts of THC. Generally speaking, the less THC cannabis makes, the more CBD (cannabidiol) it makes, and vice versa. Specifically in the United States, the US Federal Farm Bill of 2014 defines hemp (“industrial hemp”) as cannabis sativa containing less than 0.3% THC by weight, while “marihuana” is defined as cannabis sativa containing greater than 1% THC by weight. What about the plants containing 0.3-1.0% THC you might ask? They’re currently undefined…

Growing hemp in a state that still holds “marihuana” to be illegal is not for the faint of heart. While hemp oil processors and product developers such as ourselves can simply dilute hemp extracts to easily meet legal levels, for farmers facing unannounced crop testing, depending upon the genetics used and the environment in which the plants are grown, legal hemp crops can “go hot” and produce THC above legal levels. New South Botanicals salutes South Carolina’s first cohort of hemp farmers in their brave effort to navigate the uncertainty of growing a new crop in a new state that still condemns one of mankind’s oldest medicines.

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