Is Hemp-Derived Better Than Marijuana-Derived CBD?

Mar 9th 2020

Is Hemp-Derived Better Than Marijuana-Derived CBD?

If you're exploring your options for hemp and cannabis products for the first time, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. There are hundreds of strains from growers and dispensaries from across the country, after all. Keeping all the facts, as well as pros and cons, straight can be a challenge to even those who are familiar with the subject.

For example: you'll find dispensaries and stores that sell CBD products derived from a cannabis strain of the same name, yet they have different flavors, aromas, and side effects.

The good news is you don't need to memorize every single one of them: you just have to remember some key information. Among the must-knows are the differences between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

CBD oil or cannabidiol is the chemical compound that gives your CBD herbal salve, topical balms, and lotions extra healing, soothing, and pain-relieving properties. It is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. It is famous because it offers health benefits without bringing users into a "high." Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, on the other hand, does.

Here's what you need to remember: hemp and marijuana both contain CBD. Hemp varieties, however, contain trace amounts of THC — only 0.3% or less — while marijuana plants have comparatively higher concentrations. This is where the widespread belief that hemp CBD is safer than marijuana CBD originated. People who want to experience the benefits of CBD without risking getting high would choose hemp-derived CBD.

Below is a summary of the main differences between hemp and marijuana:



  • A member of the cannabis sativa species
  • The foliage is leaner (almost similar to bamboo) and its leaves thinner and shinier
  • Contains less than 0.3% THC
  • Doesn't make you high
  • The dried flower of the female cannabis
  • Can come from cannabis sativa or cannabis indica
  • Has bushier and has broader leaves
  • Can contain more than 0.3% THC
  • Can give you a high

Which Is More Effective?

This is a common question that, at the moment, has no scientific answer. Hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD share the same molecular structure — apart from their THC content, they're not so different. Incidentally, THC content is what makes all the difference between them.

THC is a powerful psychoactive agent that binds to the receptors of our bodies' endocannabinoid system. As mentioned, it is responsible for sending people into a euphoric high. Marijuana also contains a much broader range of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, which adds to the uplifting sensation. For those who consider these essential to determining efficacy, marijuana-derived CBD would serve them best.

Additionally, it is believed that THC and CBD have a synergistic relationship (their benefits amplify when used together). It bears mentioning, however, that not all users of THC+CBD products experience the so-called synergy of therapeutic benefits. It's, therefore, erroneous to assume that marijuana-derived CBD is more effective than the less potent hemp-derived CBD, or vice-versa.

On Issues of Legality

The last decade saw cannabis gaining ground with regard to regulation for public access and use. Still, there's more to the matter than granting the 4:20 supporters freedom to enjoy recreational pot smoking.

On Hemp-Derived CBD:

  • CBD is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means it is considered a dangerous drug, and that selling and buying this substance is illegal.
  • CBD that is (a) hemp-derived and (b) contains 0.3% THC or less, on the other hand, is federally legal.
  • The 2018 Farm Bill removed declassified hemp as a Controlled Substance and allowed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support and license hemp cultivation.
  • Regulations exist and vary in each of the states that legalized hemp growing.

On Marijuana-Derived CBD:

Given these legal conditions, hemp-derived CBD has the upper hand when it comes to availability, freedom to cultivate, and product variety.

So, Which Is Better?

The answer depends on your reasons for using CBD-infused products. If you seek sedative or stimulating effects, choose marijuana. If, however, you're a first-time user, hemp would be a good place to start. What's more, hemp CBD is more accessible, and possession won't get you in legal trouble (provided you comply with your state's regulations for buying and selling).

Here at The Helping Friendly Salve, we specialize in hemp-derived CBD products. We offer a variety of tinctures, salves, and edibles that can ease muscle pain and alleviate skin issues, among other things. View our products and contact us with your questions.