THC & Cannabinoids
Cannabis plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids. There are around 85 found in the plant, of which Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most well known as it is the compound known to cause the ‘high’ you feel when smoking the marijuana (chamba) variety. This is not the same as the low- THC variety known as industrial hemp- they are different varieties. A Malawian analogy is;
Industrial hemp vs marijuana
non-alcoholic beer vs alcoholic beer
(Thobwa vs chibuku)
Industrial hemp, however, contains negligible amounts of THC (between 0.3-1%), which means there is no psychoactive effect when smoked. This is the primary difference between the two varieties and can easily be tested! As industrial hemp is grown in approximately 40 countries (and growing), each is responsible for setting their own THC limits. Europe for example has around 40 approved varieties of industrial hemp seed that is suitable mainly for the Northern hemisphere, and some of these have been trialed in Malawi.
Marijuana, or 'Malawi Gold', can produce high levels of THC and it is bred for its psychoactive effects. No research has been done as to whether low-THC hemp exists in Malawi, with only the high THC variants gaining notoriety.
Another important cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD), is proving to help with epilepsy and seizures, pain relief, and many other ailments. Pharma-giants like GW Pharmaceuticals (UK) are producing medicines with cannabinoids for their own product ranges. Hemp produces more CBD than THC and it is non-psychoactive. In fact, research has shown that CBD could inhibit the psychoactive effects of THC. Invegrow will be producing raw extracts from its hemp varieties using its own technology developed in Africa