The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana Explained

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Over recent years, several studies and researches have revolved around the growth of cannabis and its potential benefits. 

Whether the entire cannabis plant is harmful or if it has specific components that carry the ‘high’ effect has risen at large. These studies led to the realization of terms like ‘Hemp,’ ‘Marijuana,’ and other cannabis-related terms.

Making one wonder: what is the difference between hemp and marijuana? There are several differences. Most of which you will learn about if you stick around.

Scientists, potential cannabis users, and students worldwide are eager to unmask this once revered plant turning out to be a potentially helpful medicinal plant.

But how comes the same plant is referred to by others as hemp and others as marijuana? Maybe because they are the same thing. Or they share the same components.  

You can only tell the truth about this mystery if you read more below. Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Although hemp and marijuana are of the same species of the cannabis plant, the truth is that they differ. When you understand the difference between marijuana vs. hemp, you can have an easy time navigating the cannabis market.

Understanding the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana 

There are important ways in which hemp and marijuana differ. One of the notable difference is in the chemical composition of both. You can also spot differences in their usage and legality, as explained below.

The Difference in Chemical Composition 

Cannabis Sativa has a component known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) responsible for the ‘high’ feeling you get when you ingest cannabis. It is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.

It is the difference in THC’s percentage composition in various cannabis plants that bring about marijuana and hemp.

Marijuana is any cannabis plant with more than 0.3% of THC and will make you high if you ingest it in any way. The more THC you consume, the more impaired your judgment becomes. You begin realizing some changes in your cognition and how you feel.

On the other hand, Hemp has a lower concentration of THC, normally 0.3% and below. This makes it safe for consumption and ideal for use for medicinal purposes.

The rise of cannabidiol (CBD) products has been because of the medicinal value that hemp is believed to have. Hemp is the highest quality of cannabis plants, but you cannot use it for recreational purposes owing to its low THC concentration.

Legality of Use

Generally, since the 1930s, cannabis has been illegal and still is due to the intoxicating effect on the human body. However, with the realization that its hemp compound could have beneficial medicinal values, some countries have since legalized hemp.

Before 1930, cannabis was openly used for various purposes, and no restrictions were surrounding its use. It was used for clothes, paper, and rope production. Some even used it as herbal medicine and a recreation drug.

After the restrictions came in the US, the agricultural production of cannabis declined, and many started forgetting about the plant.

Until 2014, the passing of the farm bill 2014 brought to life the legality of the production of the hemp plant as an agricultural plant. Since hemp contains 0.3% or less of THC, it was cleared for production since then.

This bill has given farmers the freedom to come up with various hemp products to benefit patients’ use. Products such as hemp/CBD oil, hemp nugs, and hemp gummies are among the popular products you can use for medicinal purposes.

On the other hand, marijuana has not been lucky with the laws. It is still high in THC and cannot be produced as an agricultural product. It is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the FDA.

Therefore, any marijuana product is still illegal and considered harmful to your health.

Difference in Usage

Hemp is the more useful of the two types of cannabis plants. Today, nearly all the products you may have heard about or came across on shop shelves are made from hemp. This explains the growing popularity of hemp in the recent past.

Hemp is used in creating CBD products such as massage oils, CBD nugs, and medicine for various illnesses.

The uses of marijuana are slightly different from those of hemp. Thanks to its high THC concentration, marijuana is used to make medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. 

Medical and recreational marijuana may be prescribed to patients as part of the therapeutic healing process. Some marijuana plants are perfect for making fabric, textiles, supplements, and body products.

Difference in Appearance

Selective breeding has been the main cause of disparity between these two types of cannabis plants. Industrial hemp and marijuana have different uses and are, therefore, produced differently in slightly different conditions.

This selective breeding has impacted the appearance of these two plants.

Since the flower is the healthiest and the most THC-rich part of the cannabis plant, it is more developed in marijuana. Therefore marijuana plants are bushier and shorter than hemp plants.

Hemp plants, on the other hand, were initially grown for their fiber. The fiber is largely found on the hemp plant’s stalk, which is why they are taller and skinnier than marijuana plants.

The Difference in Cultivation Requirements

It is true marijuana and hemp are both cannabis, but that doesn’t mean they are grown the same way in the same conditions.

When cultivating marijuana, you have to be extremely careful. You have to cautiously monitor the temperature and humidity levels throughout the growth period. And you have to spread the plants far apart and control nutrient intake keenly.

Growing hemp, on the other hand, shouldn’t be tiring. You can grow them close together in almost any condition. It doesn’t require much care, which means you won’t need any chemicals or fertilizers to nature.

Hemp and Marijuana Might Be Here to Stay

While hemp and hemp products are receiving and enjoying a great reception across the world, that may not be true for marijuana. However, both plants might be staring at a better future if more research is carried on them. 

Hemp is doing well, and new CBD products come up from it every day, including pets’ products. If your vet prescribed one of these products for your pet, you may want to know if you should pick CBD oils or edibles for them.

We hope you’ve understood the difference between hemp and marijuana. Check out our other posts for more information about hemp and marijuana.