The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana Plants

difference between hemp and marijuana plants

There is much confusion about the differences between cannabis and hemp, on account of misinformation, poorly termed information resources on the internet, and colloquial use of the two terms. To know more about these differences, read on as we delve deeper into the subject.

Clearing Out the Confusions between Cannabis, Marijuana and Hemp

Theoretically and practically, cannabis is actually the name given to the main plant family, while hemp is a subset or a strain of cannabis sativa. However, people often make the mistake of using the terms cannabis and marijuana interchangeably.

The truth is that marijuana is another variant of cannabis sativa, and what people actually want to know are the differences between hemp and marijuana plants, both of which are strains of cannabis, albeit with significantly different properties.

Identifying the Differences

Now that we have cleared up the main confusion surrounding marijuana, hemp and cannabis, it is time to take a look at the huge differences that exist between industrial hemp and narcotic marijuana, in spite of coming from the same plant family known as cannabis.

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Marijuana Vs. Hemp: THC Vs. CBD

The prime difference between cannabis plants meant to be harvested as marijuana, and strains of the cannabis sativa being grown as industrial hemp can be defined by their THC: CBD ratio. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the 113 other cannabinoids that have been discovered in cannabis sativa plants. However, it is the prime cannabinoid that is responsible for the narcotic effects that marijuana is known for.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is also one of the 113 identified cannabinoids, but unlike THC, it has no narcotic properties, and therefore, is not a psychoactive drug.

Marijuana plants are strains of cannabis sativa which are grown to have high THC in them, but industrial hemp plants are grown to be high in fiber and CBD content, with negligible traces of THC in them.

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The Difference in Use: industrial Hemp

Due to the lack of sufficient THC in hemp, they cannot be used as a recreational drug. Nonetheless, it has a vaster usage compared to marijuana, spread across the following industries:

  • Dietary supplementation and nutrition
  • Medicinal use
  • Fiber for textile
  • Construction
  • Paper, bedding for pets, composite and cordage
  • Purification processes for soil and water
  • Energy storage and biofuel

However, to be absolutely sure that the seeds you are buying and growing are indeed hemp and not marijuana, always buy them from a seed bank with a significant reputation. Even if you need marijuana seeds, they will be able to supply that as long as it’s legal to do so in your location, but there will be no mistakes.

There are some areas in Australia and the United States where marijuana use and businesses are completely legal now, but it is still an illegal drug that is not legalized for recreational use under federal regulations in other regions.

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The Difference in Use: Marijuana

There are primarily two different uses of cannabis strains with high THC content, which are medical and recreational. On account of the fact that marijuana is a potent, psychoactive drug with varying effects on the body and the mind, it is strictly regulated in most parts of the world.

Marijuana plants, however, do have huge potentials in terms of medicinal use. So far, the following conditions have been experimentally treated with the help of medical marijuana:

  • Pain management
  • Nausea
  • Spasmodic muscular conditions
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • PTSD and other anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Side effects of chemotherapy
  • Appetite improvement in HIV patients
  • Slowing down of malignant tumor growth

The results from these experimental treatments are yet to be conclusive and refined.

As you have probably realized by now, industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis, but without any of the narcotic, hallucinogenic effects that are characteristic of marijuana strains.

The difference is profound, which is why hemp is legal in more parts of the world than marijuana, with a likelihood of it staying that way for a long time to come.

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