What Is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

With the legalization of hemp and marijuana in so many states, it stands to reason that a lot of people will be confused about their similarities, differences, and uses. Some may even believe that they are different types of plants. However, that’s not the case. Below, you’ll learn all you need to know regarding hemp and marijuana.

Is Hemp the Same Thing as Marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, so is hemp different than marijuana? They are essentially just two names for cannabis. The hemp flowering plant is the same as marijuana. The major difference, which is where the law typically comes into play, is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. As discussed below, the THC levels differ, and this is where you will find the major hemp vs. marijuana differences.

Hemp has lower levels of THC when compared with marijuana. Someone taking hemp products will not get high. Marijuana, on the other hand, does provide a high feeling. Is hemp sativa or indica? This is another common question, as it can be confusing. While marijuana comes from either the indica or sativa plant, hemp only comes from sativa.


Hemp vs. Marijuana: Uses

Both hemp and marijuana have a wide range of uses today. Cannabis strains that have high levels of THC are often used for more than just getting high. They are sometimes used for pain management in patients.

Hemp, like marijuana, may be used to create CBD products, which can provide beneficial medical effects. However, hemp is also used to create a range of different types of products including paper, plastic, clothing, and even food products. It is a complete protein, and it has a lot of fiber. Due to the growth rate of the plant, it is an eco-friendly and sustainable way to create these products.

Retail CBD products today come in a range of forms. You can find oil, tinctures, and even food and drinks that contain CBD. In states where marijuana is legalized, you can find CBD that has higher THC content than in states where it is prohibited to 0.3% or less.


Hemp vs. Marijuana: Effects

When taken, you will find that hemp does not produce the psychoactive effects that are associated with marijuana. Still, due to the CBD, it is often used by people to help with various ailments. CBD still contains a plethora of cannabinoids, which interact with various receptors in the body. Hemp CBD products are often used to help with appetite, pain, depression, and anxiety. There is even some research showing that CBD can help to treat epilepsy.

Marijuana does provide those psychoactive effects. It can cause someone to feel “floaty”, happy, and at peace. There is some evidence that it can also help those who have epilepsy, issues with nausea, glaucoma, and other health issues. However, because marijuana is still banned at the federal level, it means that the research is very restricted on the plant. Only once it is legalized federally will enough researchers be able to conduct full, in-depth studies.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: THC Level

THC is known as a cannabinoid, which is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. The THC is associated with the feeling of being high. Hemp has a lower THC level, which means when using hemp-based products, the user does not experience the high feeling associated with marijuana.

Hemp is cannabis that has 0.3% or less THC included. This was originally proposed in 1979 and continues to be used today even though the plant is essentially the same. It is still used as part of the legal definition of hemp and was specified in the Agricultural Act of 2018, as well as other laws across the country.

Marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. Because there are various strains grown, some will have higher THC levels than others will. In some cases, the THC levels can be quite strong.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: Growth Habits

One of the other differences in the hemp vs. marijuana plant you will want to know is the growth habits and cultivation. Sativa plants tend to be tall and slender. Because both marijuana and hemp are derived from sativa, it is impossible to determine which one the plant will be used for. Indica, on the other hand, has thicker leaves and is shorter and bushier. Indica is only for marijuana. Additionally, the resin on marijuana plants is usually stickier and thicker when compared with plants grown for hemp.

Male plants of this species grow and flower faster than females, and they do not produce as much fiber. When growing marijuana, growers tend to eliminate the male plants because they want to create seedless flowers. Fields growing hemp will have several male plants included in the crop for germination.

Most of the time, hemp is grown outdoors, and the crops are rotated to help ensure healthy growth. Marijuana, on the other hand, is often grown inside. The indoor plants do not have to deal with the pests, predators, and diseases that affect outdoor hemp plants.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: Legality

The legal classifications for hemp and marijuana are different, and the legality will vary from one state to the next. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, though, hemp cultivation was made legal in the United States at the federal level. As long as the plant has less than 0.3% or less THC, farmers can grow the crops. The legality of hemp also makes it easier for companies to make a range of products.

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Many states, including Colorado and Missouri, have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, as well as for medical purposes.

Do Hemp and Marijuana Have the Same Medical Benefits?

You will find that they tend to have similar medical benefits, as they can provide relief from many of the same types of conditions. Just remember that hemp doesn’t provide the euphoric feeling that marijuana offers, and this is often a benefit for those who are seeking it for medical use. The high is a side effect that many who are using the plant for medical purposes do not want.

As touched on, CBD from marijuana and hemp can help with seizures, pain, inflammation, mental disorders, nausea, migraine, depression, anxiety, and inflammatory bowel disease. More recent research has shown that it can also help with PTSD and sleep disorders. However, it has not been approved for those uses yet.

THC can help with muscle spasticity, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, decreased appetite, glaucoma, and pain. It may also help with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and chronic neuropathic pain.

The option you choose between hemp and marijuana will often depend on the legality where you live and whether you care about the euphoric side effect.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?

When it comes to the hemp leaf vs. weed leaf, you aren’t going to be able to tell the difference between them if both are sativa plants. Indica plants, which are shorter and wider, grow marijuana. However, the main difference comes from what is inside… the THC levels.

Products you buy should always be marked as to whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana. You can also look at the THC levels. Anything that is at 0.3% or below will be hemp.

If you are looking for cannabis in Missouri or Colorado, consider checking out Vert’s Neighborhood Dispensary. You will find four dispensaries in Missouri—Gallatin, Pacific, Joplin, and Dexter. The Colorado dispensary is in Fort Collins.

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