The distinction between hemp and marijuana – the two main species of Cannabis – is largely misunderstood. People think that cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are the same thing but nothing could be farther from the truth. This misconception has created problems in understanding the uses and benefits of each of these substances. Are there any differences between hemp and marijuana? And if so, are the differences considerable? It’s good you are reading this right now because that’s exactly what we are going to cover in today’s article.

Hemp and marijuana
Let’s establish this once and for all; hemp and marijuana are not the same thing. Now, cannabis is a family of plants under which there are two main classifications – cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. While hemp comes under the classification of the cannabis sativa family only, marijuana comes under either the cannabis sativa or the cannabis indica. There are certain similarities between the hemp and marijuana as they both hail from the cannabis sativa family. Nonetheless, there are several key differences that separate the two because of their unique biological structures.

The Anatomy of hemp and marijuana
It may seem oblivious to the one who knows nothing to very little about both plant species but the structures of both plants are distinct from each other. With marijuana, the leaves are broad, buds are dense with its general outlook appearing as short and bushy. With hemp, however, the leaves are skinny and are more concentrated on at the top of the plan with the general outlook appearing taller and skinnier than marijuana.

The chemical composition of hemp and marijuana
It is important to note that every cannabis plant churns out a variety of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Despite the fact that there are different types of cannabinoids, the two main ones that stand out among the rest are the cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While both compounds have been found to benefit the body in many ways, THC is psychoactive (causes the user to feel “high”) whilst CBD isn’t. What separates hemp from marijuana when it comes to these compounds is that hemp contains a very minimal amount of THC; often 0.3% or less whilst marijuana contains very high concentrations of THC; often 15% to about 40%.

The uses of hemp and marijuana
Marijuana is generally grown because of its ability to cause psychoactive effects in the user. For this reason, it is often used for recreational purposes. It can be smoked, inhaled or ingested orally. Hemp, on the other hand, is generally grown for industrial purposes. It can be used in the production of paper, clothing, food products, oil, etc. Because it contains minimal amounts of THC, hemp is also often utilized to produce a variety of CBD products.

The legalities surrounding hemp and marijuana
Due to the considerable levels of THC that marijuana contains, it is regarded illegal in many parts of the world including the U.S. Hemp has low levels of THC and is legal in many parts of the world. In the most parts of the United States, the allowed THC content in hemp is 0.3% whilst in other parts of the world, it is 0.2%.