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Hemp vs. Marijuana: What's the difference?

by Margie Borecki, PhD.

What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

The federal law states that “Hemp” is a term used to classify varieties of Cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight). “Marijuana” are the varieties of Cannabis that contain more than 0.3% THC content (by dry weight). THC is the psychoactive component that provides the ‘high’ associated with marijuana.

Why all the confusion? Both hemp and marijuana are derived from the same species of plant (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis), so they often (always) look the same and smell the same. It’s been recently found by researchers (not researchers in the USA… it was illegal to study cannabis here during most of the 19th century) that you can breed varieties of these strains to a known amount of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. That is how we have hemp vs marijuana! Hemp has low amounts of THC, and marijuana has high amounts (pun intended) of THC.

The uses of the plants are therefore wildly different. First and foremost, hemp can NOT get you high, but has helped some folks with inflammation, anxiety, depression, etc. (check out our post about the benefits of hemp CBD). Hemp was traditionally used for fiber and seed production, and has over 400,000 different documented uses. Marijuana has been grown exclusively for high THC. Marijuana may also to have health benefits (think cancer), but it’s fame comes from the ‘high’.

Originally published on the Intentional Growth website, our farm.


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