Anyone interested in learning about cannabis can find plenty of information online. They can research the legal angle, the health angle, or even the history of recreational use. Unfortunately, it is easy to find conflicting information. Why? Because terms are not clearly defined.
Terms are critical to any cannabis discussion. If a mixed group of lawmakers and advocates are discussing the possibility of legalization, they need to be on the same page. Defining terms differently creates confusion. Likewise, everyone not being on the same page explains why there is so much conflicting information online.
A good example is a recent post that appeared on the Island Now website based in Long Island, New York. The article references terms like ‘CBD flower’ and ‘organic chemical’. Both terms are used improperly throughout the piece. As a result, readers may find themselves confused.
Cannabinoids and Flowers
Referring to ‘CBD flowers’ cannot be justified in any reasonable way. CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp plants. Hemp plants also produce flowers. So while CBD and flowers can exist in the same plant, there is no such thing as a CBD flower.
The author of the piece demonstrated a clear lack of understanding about all things cannabis. Not only was the reference to ‘CBD flowers’ improper, but the author also went on to say that “the rules governing hemp are somewhat ambiguous.” That is also not true.
Industrial hemp was legalized throughout the United States with the 2018 Farm Bill. That same bill also legalized CBD. CBD crude oil, isolate, and derived products can be sold and possessed legally in the U.S. as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC by volume. The law is very clear on this.
Hemp and Marijuana Are Plants
Another area of confusion for many people is the cannabis plant. We generally tend to think of marijuana when cannabis is mentioned. But marijuana is just one strain of cannabis. Guess what? Hemp is another strain. That’s right. Both marijuana and hemp are cannabis plants. They are just different strains of the same plant with different levels of THC and CBD.
Getting back to the previously mentioned post, the author states that “marijuana is an organic chemical.” No, it’s not. Marijuana is a plant. THC is an organic chemical found in marijuana. It is one of more than 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by cannabis plants.
Consumers Are Confused
The lack of clearly defined terms is causing confusion among consumers. In Utah, THC and derived products can only be consumed for medicinal purposes. Furthermore, patients must have a valid medical cannabis card to purchase such products. But note that the state uses the word ‘cannabis’.
THC and cannabis are not the same thing. We have already established that. Cannabis is a plant; THC is a cannabinoid. This confuses people in Utah who often don’t realize they can obtain and use CBD – another cannabinoid found in cannabis plants – without possessing a valid medical cannabis card.
Utah medical cannabis pharmacies, like Provo’s Deseret Wellness, can attest to the fact that a lot of eligible patients in the state don’t even know they can use medical cannabis legally. Again, a lack of clearly defined terms confuses them.
We will not ever get close to settling the debate over legalized cannabis until we come up with standard terms and definitions. Until we are all on the same page, how can we express what we believe and find some path to a compromise? We cannot. Someone in the cannabis industry or government needs to come up with a standard set of terms sooner rather than later.