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).