What is the difference between marijuana and hemp?

You have likely seen products containing hemp sold in regular stores, but never products containing marijuana. What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

The cannabis plant

Hemp and marijuana are closely related – they come from the same genus of cannabis sativa plants. However, there are huge differences between these siblings that you should know about as you navigate the cannabis market.

Before all of the cannabis stigma and restriction emerged in the early 1900s, cannabis was used in a variety of products such as clothing, paper, rope, herbal medicine, and as a recreational drug.

Humans have selectively grown cannabis plants for thousands of years. marijuana is cannabis that was bred for its medicinal and psychoactive potential. hempOn the other hand, it is a cannabis plant that was bred for its fiber and seeds to be used in industrial productions.

Image retrieved from Hempeli

Main differences between marijuana and hemp

THC content

Cannabis with less than 0.3% THC is classified as hemp, and cannabis with THC above 0.3% (usually 5% to 40%) is classified as marijuana. THC is the psychoactive compound that changes your perception. The more THC you consume, the “higher” you will get.

Hemp’s THC levels are too low to change. However, if you consume enough marijuana with a much higher THC content, you will get high.

This leads us to their next distinction …


All cannabis products, including hemp, have been illegal under the Controlled Substances Act since 1970. Only with the Farm Bill in 2014 and the Agricultural Improvement Bill in 2018 can hemp and hemp products be grown and sold legally in most countries around the world.

Marijuana is currently still classified as a List I illegal substance in most of the US and the majority of the world. However, many states and countries are changing their attitudes and starting to legalize medical marijuana. Fortunately, both medicinal and recreational cannabis are legal in Canada, so we can burn on the streets with peace of mind.

Marijuana versus hemp

Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp Use

Marijuana is mainly used for medicinal or recreational purposes due to its high levels of THC and CBD. These connections can help:

  • relieve pain
  • anxiety
  • inflammation
  • Loss of appetite
  • And a host of other symptoms

Recreational marijuana use is also popular as the psychoactive properties of THC can alter your consciousness and make you feel “high”.

Hemp has been used for industrial purposes for thousands of years. It is high in fiber, protein, and oil that can be used in:

  • Textile industry
  • Food industry
  • Skin care company
  • And fuel industry

hempImage retrieved from CBD Origin

CBD oil can be obtained from both hemp and marijuana. The molecular composition of CBD oil extracted from hemp or marijuana is pretty much the same. However, many argue that CBD oil derived from marijuana is more beneficial than that from hemp because it contains the full spectrum of ingredients (like terpenes, flavonoids, and more) found in cannabis flower.

Difference Between Growing Marijuana And Hemp And Plant Appearance

Finally, hemp and marijuana are grown differently and therefore look very different. Industrial hemp plants are robust and adaptable and can be grown outdoors in large quantities. Because they are grown for their fiber and seeds, which come from the stem of the plant, they are tall and thin.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is usually grown in relatively small quantities indoors because it is more difficult to grow and requires more careful care from the grower. Since marijuana is used for its THC, which is contained in the cannabis flower, marijuana plants are shorter and bushier compared to hemp plants.

See if you can tell which is which …

Cannabis plantImage retrieved from CannaConnection

TLDR? Here is a picture to sum it all up …

Hopefully this article has cleared up the differences between hemp and marijuana! Now, you can avoid border security complications by bringing hemp CBD oil instead of marijuana CBD oil on your next trip.

What are your favorite hemp products? Let us know in the comments below and follow @cannalifenet for more information.

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