Hemp Vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference Between Both Plants?

With numerous hemp products hitting the shelves, hemp is a trending force. And many people might be thinking, “are hemp and marijuana the same”? The simple answer is: No. It is a common mistake saying that hemp and marijuana are the same. These varieties of cannabis are more like cousins than siblings. Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the United States. But hemp is legal: it can be grown, processed, sold, and consumed. To know the difference between them, one should pay attention to the compounds.

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What Is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana are varieties of Cannabis sativa. However, there are some differences between them. The main one is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the compound that makes people feel high. Marijuana can have high THC levels. Hemp, however, has only trace amounts of THC. Hemp and marijuana have many chemical and genetic differences

Since both are varieties of Cannabis sativa, the leaves’ structure is the same. Historically, marijuana has had a negative connotation. In fact, many consider marijuana as a racist term. This expression is tied to an anti-Mexican sentiment. During the 1930s, cannabis was negatively linked to Mexican immigrants. This association was one of the reasons that later led to total prohibition.

THC Level: The Main Difference Between Hemp and Cannabis

The key distinction is that hemp contains much less THC content than cannabis. By definition, hemp plants contain no more than 0.3% THC, compared to the 5-20% THC found in cannabis. Although THC is known for recreational use, it can also have therapeutic purposes. Hemp can also hold more cannabidiol (CBD).

The Legality of Hemp vs. Marijuana

Authorities were slow to see the difference between hemp and cannabis. Many countries around the world still criminalize hemp production. From 1970 to 2018, the U.S. federal law classified all types of cannabis as a controlled substance. However, states pushed more and more for a legal distinction between varieties. Now, farmers can grow hemp for many purposes, as it is federally legal. Cannabis for recreation, however, is only allowed in a few states.

CBD and THC amount distinguish hemp from cannabis

Hemp and Cannabis: Different Uses

Hemp uses are many, from industrial raw material to health supplements. The stems and fibers can be used for clothing, paper, hemp concrete, bioplastics, and much more. Hemp seeds are highly nutritious and make hemp oil and foods. The flower buds are rich in CBD, which can help treat many diseases.

What about hemp oil, does it have THC? Much like the hemp plant, hemp oil only contains traces of THC. It can’t cause psychoactive effects or make you fail a drug test. Hemp seeds and hemp oil are entirely legal to purchase and safe to consume. 

Cannabis planted for THC has limited uses and is not federally legal in the U.S. It is often used for medicinal and recreational purposes. To extract the CBD or THC content, the only part of the plant used is the buds. The rest of the plant is not suitable for use due to the amount of THC.

Final Thoughts: Distinguishing is Key for Legalization

Hemp and marijuana are both noteworthy varieties of cannabis. The distinction between them is crucial for hemp worldwide legalization. Seeing hemp and cannabis as the same means losing a huge opportunity. Allowing hemp could bring many benefits to the countries that do so. The ecological and economic gains would be only the start.

So, are you convinced about getting
into the hemp industry?

After reading and understanding more about this booming industry, how do you feel? Are you excited as we are? The possibilities with hemp are endless!

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