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Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp vs. Marijuana – The differences & similarities
Hemp and marijuana are both the same species of plant, the Cannabis plant.

However, it is their chemical makeup that differs. Here in the U.S.A., we define Hemp as the Cannabis Sativa plant with less than
0.3% delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). A Cannabis plant with more than 0.3% THC is considered marijuana. THC is the compound that gives
you the “high”.

All cannabis (hemp and marijuana) was grouped together and outlawed in the 1970’s under the Controlled Substances Act. With the passing of the Farm Bill of 2014 long-overdue changes began to happen in the hemp industry. The Farm Bill defined hemp as the cannabis Sativa plant with 0.3 percent or less THC and allowed for limited industrial hemp growth and research. With the passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp production, processing, and hemp products became legal in all 50 states. With the passing of this bill, the industry is now growing at an extremely rapid pace.

Unfortunately, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug here in the U.S. This means that any marijuana-derived product is considered illegal under federal law. However, as of 2020, 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 35+ states have some form of medical marijuana program. For those not living in a marijuana-friendly state, there are CBD products and CBD-rich hemp flower available. We sell a wide variety of hemp flower strains at

Today, hemp is commonly used for the production of paper, clothing, and rope, as for CBD extraction. This includes hemp supplements, lotions, salves, and other skincare products, pet supplements, clothing, and accessories. Today, you can buy raw hemp flower and legal CBD-rich hemp products online,in many grocery stores convenience stores, & other retailers. Overall, hemp has thousands of natural & healthy applications.


Can You Get “High” from Hemp?

Many people have begun to smoke and vape hemp in the form of pre-rolled cigarettes or bought as “buds” that look similar to marijuana. Smoking “hemp flower” can be very relaxing, however, it will not give you the “ high” felt when consuming marijuana. This goes back to the THC content only being 0.3%. THC or less. With such high CBD content, the tiny amount of THC is canceled out.

Hemp vs Marijuana
Type Is it Cannabis? THC Content Intoxicating? Cultivation Applications
Hemp Yes Low THC
(< 0.3%)
No Automobiles, body care, clothing, construction, food, plastic, CBD production
Marijuana Yes High THC
Yes Medical and recreational uses

So How Can You Actually Tell The Difference?

Hemp and marijuana can be differentiated by looking at their chemical makeup, method of growing, natural adaptability and, sometimes, appearance. Marijuana and hemp have noticeable and contrasting differences.


Hemp vs Marijuana horizontal infographic, healthcare and medical illustration about cannabis

Marijuana often looks different from hemp. When you observe their leaves, marijuana’s shape tends to either be broad-leafed, a tight bud, or look like a nugget with tiny hairs or crystals. Hemp, on the other hand, has skinnier leaves that are concentrated at the top. Few branches or leaves exist below the top part of the plant. When you observe the plants from afar, marijuana looks like a short fat bush. Hemp, especially hemp grown for fiber or seed, is typically skinnier and taller (up to 20 ft). At times, it almost looks like long ditch weed – hemp was actually found to grow among weeds in Nebraska, Kansas and many other states. In general, when you compare a marijuana farm with those of industrial hemp, you’ll notice that they are clearly very different from one another.


The main difference between hemp and marijuana is in its chemical composition. In specific the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects or “high”. The average marijuana plant contains 5-25% THC content. Some premium marijuana can have up to 25-35% THC. Legal hemp flower has at most a THC level of 0.3%. This is essentially none, making it impossible to get “stoned”. You do get all of the medicinal benefits the plant has to offer without the “high”. High-CBD Hemp flower offers relaxation and a calming effect is often reported by users.


Hemp and marijuana are both grown in the same environments. Hemp is typically grown for its fiber, seed, and stalk. Hemp plants are grown as close as 4 inches apart and typically grow in large multi-acre farms.  Much like marijuana, it can grow in a variety of climates and its growth cycle is 108-120 days. There are numerous varieties of hemp, which can be grown for fiber, seed, or CBD content. Hemp grown for CBD-content is often grown more like medical marijuana. Unlike hemp, marijuana requires a carefully controlled, warm, and humid atmosphere for optimal growth. Its growth cycle is generally a little shorter, some as short as 60-90 days. Medical cannabis is typically grown 5-6 feet apart. Hemp and marijuana should never be grown together. If a marijuana field was grown with or near a hemp field, the hemp’s pollen could potentially ruin the marijuana crop, diluting marijuana’s psychoactivity rendering both crops unusable and worthless.


What are the chemicals that make hemp and marijuana different?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects. An average batch of marijuana contains anywhere from 5-20% THC content. Many premium marijuana strains can have up to 25-35% THC. The strongest I have seen reported is Godfather OG. Godfather OG has been dubbed “the most potent weed in the world” & has a THC content of more than 34%. It is a hybrid variant from California Herbal Remedies containing a cross of Granddaddy Purps, Cherry Pie and OG Kush. In terms of quality, this strain won the High Times Cannabis Cup for Best Indica. Reported effects include a whole-body euphoric state, with some saying that it could render users couch-locked or even immobile for hours.

CBD reportedly has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without any psychoactive effects. Thus, it has recently gained popularity as a medical supplement and is now the leading application of hemp in the U.S.


Sativa vs  Indica

Cannabis comes in 3 varieties Ruderalis, Sativa, & Indica. Sativa strains are typically taller, more loosely branched and have longer, more narrow leaves. They are usually grown outdoors and can reach heights of over 20 feet. S

Indica strains are shorter, more densely branched and have wider leaves. They are better suited for growing indoors. Indica plants tend to contain higher THC content.

Note: Many hybrids of these plants have been developed recently, so it is more important to examine the exact level of THC, CBD and other compounds in a plant rather than strictly categorizing them “Sativa” or “Indica”


hemp vs. marijuana

Hemp vs Marijuana horizontal infographic, healthcare and medical illustration about cannabis

With the passage of the Farm Bill legalizing hemp products, it has become the wild west out there. It is truly buyer beware and buy at your own risk. Not all CBD products are created equal. Make sure to buy from a company that is transparent about its practices. Always buy Organically grown hemp, American hemp, and make sure it is 3rd party tested for purity & potency.

From paper, bio-degradable plastics, hempcrete for building, to CBD-for medicines, there are so many uses for hemp. We are decades behind in its development and knowing all of the many benefits the plant has to offer.

Hemp is now fully legal at the federal level and marijuana continues to slowly become legal state by state, and will hopefully someday soon be federally legal too.




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