CBD 101: Intro Guide > What Is CBD? > What Is Hemp?
5 minute read - Mar. 1st, 2019

What Is Hemp?

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Hemp is an extremely versatile plant. It has been used throughout history to produce food, ropes, paper, homeopathic medicine, and even fuel. The plant’s benefits make it one of the most diverse and useful crops on the planet.

Although hemp has virtually none (less than 0.3%) of the chemical that gets you high: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the United States during the 1970s, from a legal perspective, hemp was outlawed by the federal government. Thankfully, the United States has been working over the last few years to reclassify hemp as an agricultural product due to the extremely low THC content. Hemp was reclassified as an agricultural crop and differentiated from other high THC plants by the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill¹.

Tall hemp plant stalks that are growing into the sky

Differences between hemp and high thc plants

Given the legal status of the hemp plant across the western world, it is important to talk about what sets the plants apart. Hemp plants produce over 85 organic chemicals called cannabinoids. The ratios of the cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, are the main differentiator of the plants. The 2018 Farm Bill officially separated hemp from illegal plants by defining hemp as a plant with less than 0.3% THC. Anything over that amount of THC is still federally illegal. 

Chemical structures of CBD & THC cannabinoidsHemp is bred to have negligible amounts of THC. High THC plants can have 100 times more THC. By comparison, some strains of plants can be 30% THC, whereas hemp is less than 0.3% THC. 

Hemp is rich in a different chemical, cannabidiol, also known as CBD. In recent years, CBD has become popular for its therapeutic uses for health and wellness. CBD accounts for up to 40% of the cannabinoids in hemp and has no psychoactive qualities.


The most common cannabinoids are:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)


How to extract cannabinoids

CBD can be found throughout the plant stalk, node, fan leaf, and flowers, with the highest concentration in the roughage of the plant. There are various methods for extracting cannabinoids from the plant. Two of the most common methods of extraction are using ethanol or CO2.

Ethanol Extraction: High-grade grain alcohol can be used to extract cannabinoids. However, ethanol is a powerful solvent which typically dissolves many unwanted compounds too. As such, ethanol extraction requires additional filtration to isolate CBD or individual cannabinoids.

CO2 Extraction: CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide pressurized to extremely low temperatures. This process is more efficient at separating CBD and the other full spectrum of cannabinoids.

At the end of this process, the hemp extract can be further separated


Structure of the plant & how hemp is grown

Mature grown cannabis plant with buds and leavesThe hemp plant is a broadleaf plant with a tap root system. It has fibrous stalks, large fan leaves, nutrient-rich seeds, and dense flower bud clusters. Hemp plants are typically taller, growing up to 20ft tall.

Hemp is a relatively easy crop to grow². The plants generally require around 100 days to reach maturity with 10-12 inches of rainfall. While it is possible to grow in a greenhouse, large acre plots of land are more suitable for growing.


Daddy Burt Products

While many people think that Hemp Oil and CBD Oil are the same things, they are not. There is one crucial distinction that sets them apart. CBD oil is focused on the CBD concentration for health and wellness benefits. Hemp oil is derived from only the seeds. By coming from the seeds, it contains negligible traces of CBD and other cannabinoids but has high nutritional value. 

Hemp seeds are another fantastic method of obtaining the nutritional benefits. These tiny seeds are a superfood. They are rich in protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids such as Omegas, but contain no THC or CBD.

Written by:

Alex Zorniger

Alex is an employee at Daddy Burt Hemp Co. He studied nutrition, the environment, and entrepreneurship at Tufts University before joining the Daddy Burt team. Alex has a passion for helping people learn about the constantly evolving Hemp industry.

Reviewed by:

Bob Estes

Bob is the founder and CEO of Daddy Burt Hemp Co. Bob has quickly become an authority and expert in the hemp & CBD industry.

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