Hemp Vs. Marijuana: What is the difference?

    Hemp Vs Marijuana

    Hemp and Marijuana are often confused. And it’s all because people lack the information that helps them become more aware of their significant differences.

    With the rise of CBD oil, tinctures and Cannabis derivatives in the market, people are really confused. Many end up thinking that both hemp and marijuana refer to the same thing – weed.

    You have to know that while Cannabis may contain CBD, not all manufacturers of CBD oil get it from Marijuana. And while hemp is closely related to Cannabis, it is not actually grown for recreational purposes. So before you end up as the laughing stock of your friends for trying to smoke hemp, here are a couple of facts you might want to go through so you’ll be more informed.

    What is Hemp?

    Hemp close up

    Hemp is also known as Industrial hemp. It’s a fast-growing plant that can provide a lot of uses in different industries including agriculture, textile, and even food. It has been used by many ancient civilizations, in fact, studies have shown that its use began around 50,000 years ago.

    In those days, hemp was used to make rope and various woven fabrics. It was also grown for food with the use of its seeds, and it was dried in order to produce other products such as oils for cooking and even creams. Hemp was also vital in its use as housing material. As far as history can tell, man and hemp have gone hand in hand when it comes to innovation simply because this plant has so many practical uses.

    Just to make things clear, Hemp is a term that refers to a variety of Cannabis that does not contain high amounts of THC. This means that any type of cannabis that contains 0.3% THC can be considered hemp.

    Hemp Can’t Make You High

    Hemp plant

    Yup, you heard it right. For cannabis to be considered hemp, it needs to be classified as non-intoxicating. While it may still contain some THC, it’s ratio should not be high enough to produce any mind-altering effects. Can you Smoke it? Absolutely! There are those who are currently cultivating it for smoking. While you can’t expect to get stoned from smoking hemp, you may still be able to enjoy the high levels of CBD that it can provide.

    But a word of caution, just because it can be smoked, it does not necessarily mean that it should be smoked. You should know that you can’t just grab any type for smoking. This is because most hemp has been known to cause severe headaches when smoked. Not to worry, there are other fun and more potent sources of CBD, such as dabs or CBD oil.  We highly recommend that you use these products as opposed to resorting to the use of unknown hemp varieties.

    Hemp is Legal

    Plant Closeup

    Despite being harmless and being one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world, hemp became collateral damage of the war against drugs during the 1970s. Marijuana has been targeted by many law enforcement agencies even decades before the Drug Enforcement Agency was established. And because of its close relation to marijuana, as well as the lack of proper information and the tools necessary for testing, hemp was unintentionally outlawed in the US.

    With growing all types of cannabis made illegal, it was misclassified as a drug and its cultivation suffered a very sharp decline. During this time, the world also began to lose the various practical ways that hemp could be used. During this time of misinformation, anyone caught growing or having it in their possession could be charged under the controlled substances act even though it did not contain any of the active, mind-altering substances that marijuana had.

    While misinformation began the enmity between hemp and marijuana, it was scientific research and the spread of proper information that finally ended it. The Agricultural Act of 2018 finally gave us the real and now accepted definition of hemp. It has also allowed its cultivation and harvest for industrial purposes and for the production of its derivatives.

    Hemp May Look Like Marijuana

    To the untrained eye, differentiating them can be quite tricky. In fact, arrests and seizures of 100% legal hemp have occurred many times in the past simply because it can look almost exactly like marijuana. With so many varieties of it, and with all the strains of marijuana, these plants can almost be indistinguishable by looks alone.

    But with the help of selective breeding, it can now be easier to identify hemp through its appearance. Since it is typically grown for its fiber, found predominantly in the plant’s stalk, growers were able to create a variety that grew taller but skinnier than most marijuana strains.

    How is Hemp Grown?

    Hemp and marijuana are both grown for different purposes. While you may want to grow marijuana for its THC content or for the effects that it can provide, hemp is grown for its fiber, seeds and flowers. This is why instead of being grown delicately indoors under controlled conditions, it is cultivated outdoors and allowed to grow as robustly as possible.

    When it comes to hemp, the yield is king. Most hemp growers focus on having plants that can provide a better stem quality, high hemp oil content, and more seed yield. Today, there are also hemp growers that focus on cultivating some that is high in CBD content. There are now varieties that contain more CBD and have unique terpenes and aromatic qualities for the production of high-quality hemp oil or CBD oil products.

    What are the Benefits of Growing Hemp?

    As mentioned, it can be used in a myriad number of ways. It can be used for clothing, making ropes, as housing material, and even in agriculture. Today, hemp is now even being utilized in the automotive industry for making composite panels. To help you understand the benefits of growing it, here are some of its uses:

    1)Hemp Roots

    Its roots can be used as organic compost. Since they can grow quite fast, their roots can be separated upon harvest and processed into fertilizer to help other plants grow. Some people are also known to use its roots in making medicine.

    2)Hemp Stalks

    By far, the stalk is the most important part of the hemp. Stalks contain a lot of quality fiber and they can be used to make something as simple as paper, animal bedding, and fiberboards. But nowadays, because it has been legalized and is more readily available, there are many companies exploring its properties and uses for making housing insulation, clothing, plastic car interiors, and even jewelry.

    3)Hemp Seeds

    Hemp seeds are the edible portion. They can be used as nuts and incorporated into granola bars, bread and even in protein powders. The seeds can also be processed into seed cake and used to make beer and specialty flour. Typically, the seeds are dried and pressed to extract their oil for medicine, cooking and even for fuel.

    The Nutritional Value of Hemp

    Aside from its use as a source of fiber for making different materials, and its CBD content, hemp can actually have a significant nutritional value when used as a food source. Some of the benefits of using it as a part of your diet includes the following:

    1) Hemp seeds are a great source of protein, fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

    Its seeds can contain almost 10 grams of protein per 30 grams of seeds. This makes it a great source of vegetarian protein. The seeds also contain all the essential amino acids, making them a highly prized food item among vegetarians and vegans who need them for optimal health. These amino acids are needed by the body for muscle formation and growth.

    As a source of fiber, it can help you maintain your digestive system. Having adequate fiber on a daily basis can also help you manage your weight, appetite and blood sugar. Hemp is also a great source for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) or omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3, has been known to help improve brain function, improve eye health, and reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

    It also contains vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. This makes it a great nutritional source that will help you meet your daily required intake of these vital nutrients.

    2) Hemp can help protect your brain

    Studies have shown that because of its naturally high CBD content, hemp can be used to help protect your brain. Its CBD content acts as an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation, improve your immune system, and protect your neurons. CBD has been known to help reduce seizures and neuropathic pain. It has also been known to improve the condition of individuals who are suffering from Alzheimer’s diseases, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

    3) Reduce inflammation

    Hemp seeds contain gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid which may help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a common occurrence in many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. And with the help of its seeds, you may be able to find relief or the reduction of inflammation.

    Hemp seeds are also known to have anti-rheumatic effects. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your own immune system attacks your own tissues, causing inflammation on your joints. Studies have shown that it may be beneficial to help lessen the inflammation caused by this disease.

    Another form of chronic inflammation is acne or atopic dermatitis. Hemp can help people suffering from acne by supporting their gut health, by reducing inflammation, and by providing omega 3 fatty acids which is also known to help improve the condition of your skin.

    What is Marijuana?

    Marijuana in a jar

    The use of the term “marijuana” differs around the world with regard to its legal application. In some countries, marijuana refers to the whole cannabis plant, while in others, it can only refer to the part of the cannabis that contains THC. The use of the word “marijuana” originated in Mexico many decades ago, however, its true translation is unclear.

    Although hemp and marijuana can be both a variety of Cannabis Sativa, their main difference would have to be their THC content. By today’s definition, marijuana is any variety of cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. This means that this cannabis variety can induce euphoria or can have psychoactive effects when smoked.

    Marijuana Appearance

    Picture of Marijuana

    In looking at the physical differences between hemp from marijuana, you may notice that hemp leaves tend to be skinnier. The branches and leaves of the hemp plant can mostly be found at the top with very few leaves at the bottom portion.

    Marijuana plants on the other hand, have broad leaves and they tend to develop buds or nuggets that are filled with tiny hairs or crystals. Marijuana plants are also short and they can look like squat bushes. Hemp, on the other hand, can grow as tall as 20 feet.

    What are the Benefits of Using Marijuana?

    Guy smoking

    The benefits of using marijuana lie mostly in its chemical composition rather than its physical parts. Marijuana can either be Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica, but to be considered as marijuana, it should contain high amounts of THC, an active cannabinoid that causes people to experience a high. It can also contain CBD, terpenes, and, additionally, minor cannabinoids.

    Marijuana users benefit from its THC content by providing them with psychoactive effects. THC produces euphoria in users and it can help them to feel good, happy and even relaxed. CBD on the other hand can help people who suffer from anxiety, stress, chronic pain and even insomnia.

    Hemp Vs Marijuana

    Whether it be with the use of hemp or marijuana, many people agree that cannabis is very important simply because it can provide a wide range of benefits. Although both suffered from public backlash years ago, more countries have begun legalizing hemp. Marijuana is also now slowly being legalized one state at a time in the United States and with proper information and research, more US states and countries may soon follow.

    Although they may look the same to an untrained eye, hemp and marijuana have so many differences. While hemp is grown for practical and industrial purposes, marijuana is used medicinally and for recreation.

    Why is Differentiation Important?

    Cannabis Close up

    Differentiating one from the other is very important simply because the lack of proper information can stop countries from taking advantage of what both cannabis varieties can provide.

    If countries conflate hemp with marijuana, they may fail to recognize the potential of hemp in many industries  On the other hand, if people have an open mind towards scientific evidence and research, they might be able to take advantage of hemp as a means to provide livelihood and improve their local economy.

    The same thing goes for marijuana. We firmly believe that marijuana has so much to offer not just in terms of recreation but also for its medicinal purposes. Legalization as well as the cultivation of the different varieties of cannabis, whether it be hemp or marijuana, in different countries can pave the way to significant discoveries that can benefit a lot of people in the future.


    Without proper information, it can be very hard to properly identify one from the other. In a nutshell, hemp contains very little THC, and it does not have any psychoactive properties. Unlike marijuana, hemp cannot be smoked unless you have the proper variety.

    Hemp can grow tall with slender leaves, and it is typically cultivated for its fiber, seeds and its CBD content. And, it is fast-growing and it can be cultivated outdoors because of its resilience to environmental factors.

    Marijuana on the other hand, is any variety of cannabis that contains high amounts of THC. The plants typically have broad leaves and they can grow into short, thick shrubs. They are typically cultivated for its use in recreation and medicine. They can also be grown for the production of CBD oil, cannabis tinctures, and other derivatives. Since marijuana contains potent psychoactive properties, it is still considered illegal in many countries around the world.

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