What Is The Difference Between Marijuana And Hemp?

The Cannabaceae family grows large varieties of cannabis plants. Which are known by two different names. Marijuana & Hemp are two separate varieties of plants, contrary to popular belief. In fact, they aren’t even different species.

The law distinguishes between “hemp” and “marijuana,” despite the fact that science does not.

The content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main legal distinction between the two. THC is one of the several compounds discovered in the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids. It’s the one that’s mostly responsible for the “high” that comes from marijuana.


The Hemp Plant 

The hemp plant is a legal alternative to marijuana. It is mainly distinguished due to its low THC levels. Less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

What is the significance of 0.3%?

A book from 1979, titled, “The Species Problem in Cannabis: Science & Semantics” explained these calculations. Author Ernest Small discusses how difficult it is to distinguish between hemp and cannabis because there is no taxonomic difference between the two.

The 0.3% rule was presented by Small as a possible solution, but he admitted that it is an arbitrary amount.

All these factors were taken into consideration during the formation of the 2018 US farm bill stating hemp as a legal cannabinoid in the US. Since the psychoactive compounds of THC are low in concentration, hemp could be sold and consumed legally.

Unless farmers have a cultivation license to grow industrial hemp with no more than 0.3% THC. The European Union has put the restriction at 0.2%, while the UK has set the limit at zero percent.


How Is Hemp Grown?

In contrast to marijuana plants, which are frequently grown in greenhouses or indoor grow facilities, hemp plants are virtually exclusively grown outdoors.

Because hemp is vulnerable to the same predators, illnesses, and insects that attack marijuana, many farmers adopt a strategy known as crop rotation, which involves planting alternate crops in the same location to prevent the organisms from accumulating.

The order in which crops are rotated and the sorts of crops that are rotated with hemp will be determined by the farm’s location. Hemp can also be grown as a rotational crop on farms where it is not the principal crop.


Is Hemp Useful?

Hemp is a type of plant which can be used to make CBD, a recreational medication. Hemp-derived, CBD medication has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] as an epilepsy treatment.

Many people use CBD products to treat a variety of conditions all across the world, treating everything from cancer to acne. But more scientific research is needed on CBD’s usefulness in such health conditions.

As previously indicated, CBD extracted from hemp has a wide range of applications. The FDA-approved medication for treating childhood epilepsy is the most official.

Beyond that, additional research is needed, however, experts are interested in using CBD to cure or alleviate the symptoms of:

  • Alzheimer’s disease [A type of dementia]
  • Cancer, Inflammation, Mental Disorders
  • Chronic and neuropathic pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [A type of anxiety illness that causes nightmares]
  • Depression, insomnia, panic attacks
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder in Social Situations


What Does Hemp Look Like?

Hemp, particularly farmed for fiber or seed, is usually shorter and skinnier (up to 20 ft). It resembles long ditch weed at times, although hemp has been discovered growing amid weeds in Nebraska, Kansas, and other states.

When you compare a marijuana farm to one that grows industrial hemp, you’ll find that they’re plainly not the same.

Hemp, unlike marijuana, is used in a variety of ways. Healthy dietary supplements, skincare topicals, edibles such as gummies and brownies, are among them.

Legal hemp goods are now available not only online, but also in numerous grocery stores and gas stations. Hemp is thought to have over 25,000 applications in all.



When people mention “marijuana,” they usually mean cannabis that can make you high. The phrase is synonymous with “weed” and a variety of other terms.

Hemp may be cultivated more densely than marijuana, which requires plenty of space to avoid mold or bacteria. Marijuana plants are planted be distanced from each other having only one crop yield every 4 feet square.

On the contrary, hemp yields that are to be used for extracting oil are planted at a density of 35 to 55 plants every 4 feet square.

Plants grown for fiber are planted even more densely, at a rate of 100 to 120 plants per 4 square feet.


How Is Marijuana Different Than Hemp?

Marijuana is largely different than Hemp due to its high concentrations of the Delta-9 THC compounds.

The amount of THC in cannabis plants varies. Some strains have been cultivated to have a higher THC content than others.

The fundamental distinction between the two is their chemical makeup, particularly in terms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is the molecule that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. The THC level of a typical batch of marijuana ranges from 5 to 20%. THC levels in quality marijuana can range from 25 to 30 percent.


What Does Marijuana Look Like?

Marijuana has a distinct appearance from hemp. Marijuana leaves grow in three different forms. They either grow broad in size, look like a tight bud, or appear to be nugget-shaped with tiny crystals or hairs covering their surface.

Hemp, on the other hand, has thinner leaves with a higher concentration of them near the top. Below the top half of the plant, there are few branches or leaves. Marijuana appears to be a fleeting fad when viewed from a distance.



While the subject can be complicated and perplexing, the differences explained here will shed some light on it and adequately explain the distinction between hemp and marijuana.

Despite their problematic use, the labels “hemp” and “marijuana” have become profoundly embedded in our culture and society.

There is a clear need to re-educate the world, on the benefits of hemp and marijuana.

Because these phrases are used in a legal context, it’s critical to know what they imply, how they differ, and how they relate to cannabis in order to fully grasp your rights and avoid legal pitfalls when using CBD products.