Comparing and Contrasting Hemp and Marijuana

CBD products

Many may equate cannabis to marijuana and hemp. Although they are not necessarily wrong, a lot of these people do so with the impression that all cannabis has mind-altering and addictive effects, and that these are just names for a plant that can be used interchangeably. This notion needs correction and here are the reasons why.

Varieties of cannabis

If you are one of those people who think hemp and marijuana are the same thing as cannabis, you would be partially right to do so, but not completely. Hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of Cannabis, which is a genus of plants categorized under the Cannabeceae family. This genus has three primary species which are Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis indica. While several sources may refer to hemp and marijuana as “strains” or “species” of cannabis, these are not proper nomenclature for plants of the cannabis genus.

Hemp and marijuana are just how we culturally classify cannabis based on certain properties. So, whether the species of the plant is sativa, indica or ruderalis, any cannabis may qualify as hemp or marijuana.

Effects and chemical compounds

The main difference between hemp and marijuana would be in their chemical composition. Cannabidiol is the collective term for chemical compounds found in cannabis, and the two types of cannabidiol that differentiate hemp and marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is mainly responsible for the soothing effects of cannabis. Meanwhile, THC is the compound which can induce the “high” people may experience when consuming cannabis.

What we consider as “hemp” are the varieties of cannabis that contain a THC concentration of 0.3% or less, but with high concentrations of CBD. Marijuana, on the other hand, would have more than 0.3% THC (normally, marijuana has 5% to 30% THC), without necessarily having high CBD concentration. This means that marijuana is a psychoactive cannabis and hemp should have no such effects.

Cultivation and application

Hemp and marijuana also vary greatly in their cultivation. Hemp can grow outdoors in almost any climate and only requires minimal care. Typically, marijuana would need a lot more care to grow, so it is mostly grown indoors or in greenhouses. They also look different, with the leaves of hemp usually appearing skinnier than those of marijuana. Observing the plants from a distance, marijuana may look more like a short fat bush, while hemp can be skinnier and taller. It’s possible for hemp to grow up to 20 feet tall.

CBD products

The CBD oil and other CBD products which can be bought from a CBD store are commonly derived from hemp, whereas the products sold in a dispensary are generally marijuana products. The main uses for marijuana could be either medical or recreational, but hemp can be used for a lot of other purposes, such as clothing, food, and body care.

When all types of cannabis were outlawed by President Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the benefits offered by the plant became inaccessible to many. But with the rising popularity of CBD products and the legalization of marijuana in different states, it would serve us to know a little bit more about cannabis, such as its different classifications and how they could affect us.

Meta Title: The Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana | What Makes Hemp Different from Marijuana

Meta Description: Hemp and marijuana may strike a lot of people as being exactly the same plant. However, they would be wrong to think so, and here are some of the reasons why.

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