For over a century, misinformation has been breeding about the cannabis plant and its cousin, the hemp plant.
In fact, the distinction has become so blurred that most people use the terms cannabis, hemp, and marijuana interchangeably. This has led to misunderstandings regarding the real usage of hemp and kept people away from accessing its true benefits. This post aims to unveil the differences between hemp and marijuana in the simplest possible manner.
The Anatomical Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
At a quick glance, it’s impossible to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana since the two look similar in terms of appearance. But, appearance is just the tip of the iceberg.
Marijuana has dense buds, a “bushy” appearance, and broad leaves. Hemp, on the other hand, has skinny leaves. It grows skinnier and taller than marijuana. If you hold the two plants next to each other, you should clearly be able to see these subtle differences.
Now, let’s talk about what is arguable the most important distinction, which is based on their chemical composition.
Cannabis and the Power of Artificial selection
Cannabis has been cultivated by humans for a variety of purposes since antiquity. so, it comes as no surprise that there are several different species and even different varieties within the species, depending on the purpose the plants were bred for. Through artificial selection, different species of cannabis have different properties –s ome have been used for medicinal purposes, others as food, and others to create clothes, ropes, and other items.
Industrial hemp is produced by strains of Cannabis sativa that have been cultivated to produce minimal levels of THC and are instead artificially selected and bred to grow taller and sturdier. This is done to enable the plant to be used effectively іn the production of hemp oil, wax, resin, hemp seed foods, animal feed, fuel, cloth, rope, and more. Industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa.
Medical marijuana is produced mainly from variants of Cannabis sativa that have been selectively bred to maximize their concentration in cannabinoids. Cannabis ruderalis is almost exclusively grown for medicinal purposes, as it naturally has very small quantities of THC .
Hemp vs Marijuana: The Composition
This is probably the most significant difference that people need to know.
Cannabis carries a range of compounds called cannabinoids – CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being the two most dominant ones.
Both of these cannabinoids have benefits to offer to the human body. However, tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive substance, which is what causes the ‘high’ and the sense of euphorіa when using marijuana. CBD, however, carries no psychoactive properties.
This is the BIGGEsT difference between hemp and marijuana.
Hemp carries almost negligible levels of THC (<=0.3%, typically), whereas marijuana is rich in THC, with concentrations as high as 15 – 40%. It’s due to this major distinction that industrial hemp farms cultivate it for a variety of different uses.
Hemp vs Marijuana: The Difference of Usage
since marijuana contains higher amounts of THC, it is often used for its psychoactive properties.
Hemp, however, has a number of industrial purposes. It is used for making hundreds of resources such as biofuel, building materials, food products, clothing, oils, paper, etc. – just to name a few. CBD is growing exponentially in popularity all across the globe. Therefore, the cultivation of hemp is also increasing for the purpose of producing a variety of products that have little to no trace of THC.
Hemp vs. Marijuana: The Legality Aspect
The presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does not only dictate how hemp and marijuana are used across a wide spectrum, but it’s the key governing factor that dictates the legality of these plants.
The laws related to hemp/marijuana usage are different in each country and state. The protocol regarding cultivation and transportation of hemp – as well as its usage and sales – varies depending on the amount of THC in it.
In the UsA, hemp containing less than or equal to 0.3% of THC is classified as legal. If we talk about the rest of the world, then most countries have kept the allowed THC content in the hemp plant as low as 0.2%. since hemp is naturally low in THC, most countries have deemed it legal.
The landscape surrounding marijuana has started to change as many countries – including the United states – are seeing the massive medicinal and economical implications this plant could have. As a result, some places have legalized marijuana. But, it’ still illegal in many counties, and in the United states, it is illegal on a federal level.
Industrial Hemp Dietary supplements
since industrial hemp is naturally rich in CBD and has been bred to have only trace amounts of THC, many people today are turning to industrial hemp products as an alternative to medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is not legal in all states in the Us and many countries worldwide, while products made from industrial hemp can be a safe and legal alternative. You can get many of the same beneficial effects of medical marijuana from industrial hemp products without getting “high.”
Industrial hemp products are completely safe, as they are made according to federal standards and are produced in FDA-registered facilities within the Us.
Final Thoughts on the Major Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
It should be abundantly clear that, although hemp and marijuana come from the same family, they have a number of important differences. Whether you talk about the anatomy, chemical composition, usage, or even legality, there are some important distinctions that need to be made to not confuse the two.