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When I first started learning and sharing about CBD, I got the incredulous responses I expected: “Wait. Isn’t that weed? You’re using [selling, teaching about] weed? I thought you were a Christian.” My answer is always, “Yes.” Yes, I am a Christian. And, yes, I use and teach about CBD. I believe it helped change my family’s life for the better, in a natural way. Loving Jesus and using CBD are not a contradiction in terms. Let me tell you why.
I met Jesus for real when I was 15 years old. I grew up going to church, but those years in the pew seemed to have little impact. I did not understand that God is a God who knows me and loves me. I’m grateful I had the spiritual foundation, but as I started high school, I was acutely aware that something was missing. Then I started to attend a nondenominational youth group. I quickly found this group had nothing to do with what I knew of as church, and everything to do with Jesus.
As one of the leaders intentionally spent time listening to me and building a relationship with me, I realized something was very different about how my leader viewed Jesus. To this youth leader, Jesus was a warm, loving, and personal friend. My view of Jesus at the time was that He was distant, disappointed in me, and judged me for all the things I did wrong. As I spent time in the youth group, my view of Jesus changed. I fought an internal battle and finally surrendered my heart and life to Christ at an overnight retreat. Instantly, it felt like my life changed. I was a different person. I acted completely different. My old friends were surprised and confused. I didn’t have all the answers, but I knew I wanted the same kind of personal relationship with Christ the people at the youth group had.
After high school, I chose my college largely based on how much support I would get in my new Christian walk. I joined a Christian sorority. I volunteered with another non-denominational youth group. I became like the leaders who pursued me, spending time with high schoolers introducing teens to the Jesus I found. After I graduated college, I joined the staff fulltime and began pioneering and building new ministries in my area.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and here I am now passionately educating people about hemp-derived CBD oil, a legit member of the cannabis family. This time, it was my Christian friends who were surprised and confused. Instead of feeling attacked or ashamed by their questions about CBD, I addressed them directly. Those who cared about me needed to know: Is there is a difference between marijuana and hemp? If so, what is it?
Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis family, but they are not the same. Think of them as similar to fruits in the citrus family. Lemons and oranges are part of the citrus family, but lemons and oranges are quite different. Not only are they different colors, but also they have different characteristics. Lemons are yellow. They’re sour. They’re great in some beverages and dishes to give an added kick, but I would not sit and eat an entire lemon. Oranges are, well, orange. They taste sweet and tangy, and they are great to eat.
Likewise, hemp and marijuana are in the same family but have different appearances and characteristics. Hemp is a much taller plant with a longer stalk and fewer leaves, usually situated at the top. Marijuana is shorter and bushier, with lots of broad leaves and flowers. Hemp and marijuana are not used the same, either. Marijuana is typically used for medicinal and recreational purposes. Hemp is used in literally thousands of different products, including paper, clothing, plastics, skin products, and more.
The main difference my friends and family needed to know has to do with the presence of THC, a naturally occurring cannabinoid in both plants. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the psychoactive element in marijuana that produces the “high.” Hemp has almost no THC. Marijuana has a lot of it. Hemp does not produce the recreational high that marijuana does. Hemp does not get users stoned, wasted, or in any way impaired.
Marijuana can have levels of THC that range from 5 to 20 percent. Hemp can only be cultivated to contain less than .3 percent THC. With this scant amount of THC, it is virtually impossible to experience any sort of “high” with hemp. Hemp contain a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid in high levels called cannabidiol, or CBD for short. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-pain properties.
Loving Jesus, Using CBD
Today, I still love Christ and pursue a personal relationship with Him every day. I also use CBD. I do not feel these two facts about me are an oxymoron or a contradiction of my beliefs or standards. Once I explain to those who ask, most people understand. I am using a God-given plant oil to help my family heal with fewer side effects than prescription medicines. CBD oil produces no high. Just as I choose as a Christian not to get drunk; I also choose not to recreationally use any substance that would impair my faculties.
As I look back over the past couple of years and my journey to CBD, it may seem like a great change to those who do not know the differences between hemp and marijuana. However, I know as I continue to research and share about CBD oil that I am still doing what God has called me to do. I have found that sharing hope and healing through hemp-derived CBD oil has become its own kind of ministry. As Genesis 1:12 states, “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
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