Do you know the difference between hemp and marijuana?

It is easy to get confused when it comes to distinguishing hemp from marijuana. These terms are often misused interchangeably, although there are clear differences – and big similarities – between the two of them. First, it is important to understand that hemp and marijuana are plants of the same species, Cannabis sativa L, therefore the generic term “Cannabis” may refer to both. However, due to some chemical specificities, they may be legally categorized by one or another.

What is hemp?

Cannabis is a highly versatile plant that can have all of its parts included successfully in different industries. The seeds are used in the production of food and a nutritional oil with vitamins, minerals. It has a great lipid profile, but no cannabinoids. The stem has fibers that are used in the production of paper, fabrics, ropes, plastic compounds and construction materials. When grown for fiber, it is typically grown outdoors, being able to reach heights of more than 10 feet.

But it is in the flowers that we find the so-called cannabinoids and where the CBD oil used in medicine comes from.

According to the text of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is considered “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, (…), whether growing or not, with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis”.

In other words, for a Cannabis plant to be considered hemp, it must contain a maximum of 0.3% THC, the active ingredient that causes psychoactive effects. This level is so low that it is highly unlikely for a user to experience psychotropic effects with hemp-derived products, which naturally has a higher content of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the more than 120 cannabinoids so far identified in Cannabis. But this is valid only inside the USA because it is provided by the law of the country. Other nations adopt different values to distinguish such kind of plant, often referring to it as “industrial hemp”.

And what is marijuana?

Considering the same law, marijuana would be every Cannabis plant or its derivatives with more than 0.3% of THC by definition. Marijuana is often referred to Cannabis plants grown mainly for its psychoactive properties that cause the feeling of euphoria – or being “high” – caused by THC, which is found in higher concentrations in such plants. These products are also extracted from the flowers, making it even more concentrated in THC levels. 

Plants that are not grown for its stem fibers are commonly grown indoors and in greenhouses because they don’t need to be too tall, and so that conditions such as light, temperature and humidity can be closely controlled, although it can also be grown outdoors. All male plants are removed from the enclosure to prevent the females from being fertilized and developing seeds, allowing the plant to focus its energy in cannabinoid productions.

Through selective breeding, varieties of marijuana can have THC concentration of up to 30%. The plant naturally has a very low content of CBD, and its possession, whether for recreational or therapeutic use is illegal in the United States under federal law. At the state level, however, policies regarding the use of cannabis vary greatly.

Our high-quality CBD

Our CBD products are derived from hemp and are legally available to ship nationwide through our online store. Our hemp is not genetically modified, it has a high CBD content and is grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers in selected microclimates to optimize production and plant health.

Did you know these differences between hemp and marijuana? Discover more about hemp and CBD oil on our education page.

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