Hemp Vs. Marijuana: A Complete Guide

Hemp Vs. Marijuana: A Complete Guide

Marijuana and hemp are known to be two kinds of cannabis plants, offering different uses. Hemp differs from marijuana based on its application, cultivation, and function. Though there are differences, the government was reluctant to look at them, which ultimately lead to the classification of all kinds of cannabis in the Schedule I Drug. In 1970, hemp and marijuana were banned under the Controlled Substances Act.

Marijuana, also referred to as psychoactive cannabis, is used for recreational and medicinal purposes by people. Many states in the United States are legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. However, it still remains federally illegal.

Today, people are using hemp in different ways in which marijuana cannot be used. Some of them include accessories, clothing, skin products, healthy dietary supplements, and so on. You will also be eligible for buying hemp products online as well as from grocery stores. IHF is one of the reliable stores online that is known for selling authentic hemp products. The popularity of hemp is because of the fact that it offers more than 25,000 possible applications.

Almost 50 years have passed, but the government is still confused about the distinction between the two plants. Even though hemp is legal, federal policies and banks tend to treat the hemp business owners like criminals. In rare instances, arrests have also been made over hemp in certain parts of the country.

Is it Possible to Get High on Hemp?

Recently, many people have pre-rolled cigarettes to smoke help. They can also be bought in the form of “buds” that look quite similar to marijuana. When you smoke “hemp flower”, you might find the experience to be quite relaxing; however, it won’t get you high. It is because these flower buds are known to contain CBD, a compound that doesn’t contain THC.

How to Tell the Difference?

When you look at the appearance, natural adaptability, method of growing, and chemical makeup, you will be able to notice some contrasting differences.

Appearance – Marijuana looks quite different from hemp. When you look at the leaves, you will see that marijuana is broad-leafed, comes with a tight bud, and looks like a nugget that comes with crystals and tiny hairs.  Hemp is known to have skinnier leaves that are mostly concentrated near the top. Few leaves and branches are also present below the top portion of the plant.

When you look at marijuana from far, you will notice that it seems like a short fat bush. Hemp that is grown for seed or fiber is typically taller and smaller. Hemp also looks quite similar to a long ditch weed that is found in Kansas, Nebraska, and several other states.

Chemical Makeup – The essential difference between the two is the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The psychological effects of marijuana are a result of THC. An average marijuana batch would contain about 5-10% of THC. The premium batches would have around 25-30% of THC.

On the other hand, legal hemp is known to contain only 0.3% of THC. Because of this reason, users will not be able to experience any “high” after taking it. Hemp also contains cannabidiol (CBD), a compound known for providing several benefits to the body.

Cultivation – The environmental requirements of marijuana and hemp are quite different. Hemp needs to be grown closely together, with a distance of 4 inches between the plants. People prefer growing them in multi-acre plots. It is also possible to grow hemp in different climates. Hemp comes in many different varieties, and they can be grown for their CBD content, seed, and fiber. The growth cycle of hemp is 108-120 days.

On the other hand, marijuana needs to be grown very carefully under a humid, warm, and controlled environment for optimal growth. The growth cycle is around 60-90 days. The plans need to be grown at least 6 feet apart. If you grow marijuana and hemp together, but if they are very close together, the hemp’s pollen could ruin the marijuana crop very easily.


The chemicals that are responsible for making hemp and marijuana different from one another would be THC and CBD.

THC also referred to as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. The THC content could vary from 5% to 30%, depending on the quality of the marijuana plant.

If hemp has to remain legal, it needs to have a THC level that is not more than 0.3%, which makes it impossible for you to experience a “high”.

CBD, the active compound in hemp plants, is known for its anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that do not come with psychoactive effects. Because of this reason, hemp has gained significant popularity in the United States. Some researchers also state that the natural compounds present in hemp work to create the “entourage effect”. It means that the negligible portions of THC help in enhancing the CBD action without making you feel “high”.

It is important to note that all CBD isn’t equal because there are many fraudulent sellers in the market. As the market is unregulated by the government, consumers have to be highly cautious before making a purchase online. Research the products and websites before you decide to buy the CBD product.

Final Thoughts

When you look at it from the legal aspect, you will notice that both the plants are quite different. One is federally legal, while other isn’t. However, marijuana is becoming legal one state at a time and soon might become federally legal as well.

The government might consider both the plants to be similar, but they are actually quite different. It is essential to have full information about the two in order to avoid misunderstanding and confusion. Medical marijuana is known for transforming people’s lives, but industrial hemp has far more benefits to offer. Still, research studies are being conducted to understand the effects of marijuana and hemp use in a better way to come up with conclusive facts. If you are planning on buying any of the products, make sure that you check the state laws before making any purchase.


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