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The hemp family

The confusion is partly due to the Dutch language. In Dutch, hemp is a family name for a plant species, the “Cannabaceae”. The cannabis plant is part of this family, as are the hops we use to brew beer.

The other cause of the confusion comes from the English language. The names are different there. Hemp, a type of cannabis plant, is also translated to hemp in Dutch. As a result, there is one word for both a plant and the plant species or family.

Because a lot is taken over from English in the Netherlands, the meaning of “hemp” shifted in our country. That probably started at the beginning of the last century. After centuries of using the hemp plant for all kinds of purposes, cannabis products were banned. This almost certainly happened because of the confusion between hemp and weed.

The use of hemp

We assume here hemp in the form of the cannabis plant. For centuries in the West we knew the cannabis strain “Cannabis Sativa”. The plant was used for various purposes. 

Some used parts of the plant to make clothes, others braided it into rope. You could process certain parts into food, but they were also used to make sails for boats. It was a versatile product with countless applications. This Cannabis Sativa was called hemp. 

Since we started researching the hemp plant several decades ago, we know that it is full of cannabinoids, especially Cannabidiol (CBD). The plant has already been used medicinally, but now we know why it works so well for us.

Weed and THC

While we here made rope and clothing from the Cannabis Sativa, the Asians used the cannabis strain Cannabis Indica. They used them for medical purposes.

Cannabis Indica is also full of cannabinoids, but especially a lot of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is currently the only known psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants. The cannabis plant with a lot of THC is called cannabis plant.

These two species came together at some point, later a third species was added: Cannabis Ruderalis. In the course of time, the three species were crossed into new variants. In addition, variants of Cannabis Sativa with a lot of THC were also created. Because hemp was no longer necessary for rope, tarpaulin and the like; there were modern products. But the high of the cannabis plant was still wanted by all kinds of people.


From the fifties of the last century, people gained more insight into the active substances in the cannabis plant. Scientists discovered the cannabinoids. They saw that the original hemp of the Cannabis Sativa mainly contains a lot of CBD and that THC is present in all three types of cannabis plant. Growers are now increasingly able to adapt plants to their wishes. 

Scientists are now investigating the possibility of creating cannabis plants with higher percentages of the other cannabinoids. Instead of just a lot of CBD or a lot of THC, for example also more CBG (Cannabigerol), CBL (Cannabicyclol) ​​or CBN (Cannabinol).

The product of CBD

CBD contains a lot of cannabidiol and less than 0.05% THC (in the Netherlands and in many European countries the standard is 0.2%). In most cases, such as with hempcare, CBD is the name for a full spectrum cannabis product. That is a product with a lot of cannabidiol and all other cannabinoids, but hardly any THC. 

Some manufacturers offer products containing only cannabidiol. Such a product then lacks the so-called entourage effect. This is a collaboration between the different cannabinoids and terpenes that enhances the effect of the individual cannabinoids and ensures a better effect.

Medicinal and recreational use of cannabis

Articles about medicinal and recreational cannabis are increasingly appearing in news reports. Unfortunately, cannabis is sometimes replaced by the word CBD. After the above, it should be clear that CBD is an innocent product. CBD has now been released in many countries and is even permitted as a medicine in the UK. Even in countries where it is still prohibited, the sale is tolerated. 

The only obvious difference is that medicinal refers to the medical benefits. In some countries, this means that the CBD product is made under government supervision. The CBD product may often contain more THC than is allowed with freely available CBD.

Recreational refers to home use by people who want to experience the high of THC. The cannabis plant is often used for this. In countries where the legislation in favor of recreational cannabis has been amended, a certain higher THC content is usually allowed.

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Additional information

CBD (cannabidiol) and full spectrum CBD (all cannabinoids without THC) are products of the cannabis plant Cannabis Sativa, which contains a lot of cannabidiol and hardly any THC.

We haven’t mentioned marijuana yet. Marijuana is the same as weed. To be clear: cannabis refers to products of the cannabis plant, both hemp and weed. Marijuana and weed are products high in THC from one of three types of cannabis plant.

A CBD product contains CBD supplemented with so-called carrier oil. For this, a manufacturer can choose from several oil products. For hempcare we use hemp seed oil. This oil is made from the pressed seeds of the hemp plant. It has beneficial properties in itself.

Scientists and manufacturers sometimes use the term ‘hemp oil’. This is another name for full spectrum CBD oil.

Some manufacturers also use the term “broad-spectrum CBD.” By this they usually mean a variant with all cannabinoids, but in principle no THC at all. The tricky thing is that the terminology surrounding CBD is not regulated, so providers can use them interchangeably.

read more

Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules
Christelle M. Andre, Jean-François Hausman en Gea Guerriero
Frontiers Plant Sci., 04 februari 2016

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