The cannabis plant or hemp has been selectively bred for hundreds of years.
The species and subspecies of cannabis vary in name, growing conditions, and genetic structure.
This led to the rise of two Cannabis “families”: Marijuana and Hemp.
1. The illegal one: Marijuana
The cannabis plant contains up to 80 active compounds, some of them having a psychoactive effect. These compounds are called cannabinoids.
Some chose to focus on the “spiritual” use of cannabis, and developed strains with a high level of psychoactive compounds.
Take THC, the most famous of these compounds: its psychoactive effects (put it simply: making you high) are well-known and have been regulated and restricted by country laws and international treaties.
This means that not all cannabis varieties have illegal THC levels.
2. The legal one: Hemp
Hemp is the name used to refer to the “industrial use” of cannabis: clothes, paper, tea, salt… It is grown in 30 countries around the world, and its main characteristics are that hemp contains really low (and therefore authorized) levels of THC, which makes it legal in most of the world.
It does, however, contain cannabidiol, or CBD, an active compound that has been studied in-depth by scientists in the last 20 years.