Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Hemp vs Marijuana: How Are They Different?

At least 11.8 million young Americans currently abuse marijuana. This statistic is not shocking, considering that marijuana is the most abused psychotropic drug in the United States today. However, most people confuse the abuse of marijuana with the benefits of the hemp plant. 

As more Americans embrace the use and the benefits of CBD, it’s critical to differentiate between marijuana and hemp. Have you been considering the differences and similarities between hemp and marijuana? Most people get confused when trying to compare the two. 

Here, we compare hemp vs marijuana and lay down all the underlying differences. Read on to learn more about the types of CBD. 

What Is Hemp? 

Hemp is a product of the cannabis Sativa plant. The term hemp became a household name in the year 1979. Hemp refers to any cannabis strain that contains at least 0.3% or less of THC by dry weight. 

Part of the need to define hemp based on THC content was to differentiate it from cannabis. Today, the Agricultural Act of 2018 in the United States uses the 0.3% content by dry weight threshold to distinguish hemp from illegal marijuana. 

What Is Marijuana?  


The term marijuana is a household name in the United States today. While most people use other varying nicknames depending on location, marijuana translates to cannabis with overly high THC levels. 

Marijuana is a strain of cannabis that has high psychoactive (mind-altering) effects on the user. The marijuana species comes from the dried flowers of the Cannabis sativa, which makes it’s a twin to the hemp strain. 

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What Are the Differences Between Hemp vs Marijuana?

Most of the confusion around hemp vs marijuana stems from the fact that most Americans have limited information on some unique factors that define these two subspecies of the cannabis plant. In this section, you’ll learn the key defining characteristics that separate hemp from marijuana. 


The aspect of composition is the first unique factor that differentiates hemp from marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana have exceptional levels of THC. However, the critical difference between the two is the amount of THC that each subspecies presents. 

Hemp contains no more than 0.3% of THC, one of the key defining differences between the two. On the other hand, marijuana has up to 30% of THC, which causes the feeling of highness most marijuana users feel. THC is among the close to 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. 

THC is the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant, which causes a high sensation in the human system. The level of high a user derives from consuming marijuana due to the high THC levels sets it apart from marijuana. 


The issue of legality often confuses most Americans when trying to differentiate between hemp vs marijuana. The United States laws are clear on the legality or lack of it of both hemp and marijuana. This issue of legality is well stipulated under the United States laws. 

Hemp falls under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law underwent revisions in the year 2018, under the Agricultural Improvement Act of the year 2018, which legalized hemp under the hemp-deprived products, which are any cannabis products that have less than 0.3% of THC. 

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This means that hemp doesn’t fall under the controlled substances category. Marijuana, on the other hand, has been under the Controlled Substance Act for a while now. This means that found if found using marijuana, you stand accused in law. 

The issue of legality continues to attract varying views among Americans as the government steps us the crackdown on the use of recreational marijuana. As such, when comparing hemp vs marijuana, legality has to be among the most salient differences you should consider. 


The other common difference between hemp and marijuana relates to the aspect of use. Hemp remains the most used cannabis strain in the industrial setting today. This is in part because the CBD strain has some unique attributes. 

Hemp is useful in making ropes, textiles, and paper. The global hemp market currently stands at over $26 billion by 2026 due to the broad range of uses hemp presents. 

The hemp plant is also useful in preparing a range of acids, including aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and Sugars lactose. 

When comparing hemp vs marijuana, the hemp plant’s unique benefits to the economy stand out predominantly. The most recent discovery of the hemp plant’s uses relates to the growth of the biofuel sector. The sector remains one of the most vibrant today. 

Marijuana, on the other hand, has for long now been used for recreational purposes. The vast part of the current marijuana market serves the recreational marijuana customer base. However, over the last few years, there has been a growing use of marijuana for medical purposes. 

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The benefits of marijuana are now evident due to the range of therapeutic applications in the medical setting. However, this use remains regulated to minimize overuse concerns when consuming marijuana for recreational purposes. 


The other difference between marijuana and hemp relates to the process of cultivation. Hemp often grows outdoors and doesn’t require environmental control. This is more reason why the option is suitable for industrial purposes. You can find out more here on the various hemp CBD genetics and strains and the process involved in the cultivation and preparation process. 

On the other hand, marijuana has to grow in highly regulated environments. Growing marijuana requires a particular focus on quality to minimize the possibility of low quality. The need for special attention sets the two types of CBD apart. 

These Are the Salient Differences When Comparing Hemp vs Marijuana 

When comparing hemp vs marijuana, it’s essential to consider specific attributes that set the two apart. The growing interest in CBD use has introduced a unique focus on the benefits this wonder product presents to the human body. 

As more people embrace cannabinoids, it’s important to conceptualize the unique differences when comparing hemp vs marijuana. The main distinctions between the two are in the use, cultivation, THC levels, and the issue of legality. 

You can read more on CBD education, interviews, and health in our subsequent blogs. 

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