hemp leaves on wooden background, seeds, cannabis oil extracts in jars

What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Marijuana and cannabis are often used synonymously, as is hemp oil and CBD oil. But did you know that there is a vast difference between the two? Yes, these are all inspiring words, but widespread misinformation needs to come to an end. After all, this is the information age, and people want to know the truth about a product before buying it. Today, we clarify all the crucial differences between marijuana and derived hemp products and the plants themselves. When you read this to the end, you will get a pretty good picture of what marijuana and cannabis oil constitute. And how it is different from hemp-derived extracts, as well as the differences in uses. If you think the difference doesn’t matter, here’s why it matters.

The hemp vs. marijuana debate

You are not alone. It’s just so confusing at times. But it doesn’t have to be!

If you are confused about the two plant subspecies, you are not alone. For decades, cannabis aficionados like yourself have pondered over the question of marijuana or hemp. Whether it has to do with composition, taste, or the gender of the plants, today we will finally shed some light on the subject. You’ll find everything you need to know to make informed choices regarding these two products. Perhaps the best way to answer your questions is to take a random guess of the most commonly asked questions. See if they are some of yours too. Even if you find something that you already knew, don’t mind skipping to the next part. This guide is inclusive for everyone, even those who missed the cannabis 101 class.

Are Hemp and marijuana the same plant?

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The biological naming stuff:

Let us start by setting things straight that hemp is a member of the cannabis genus of plants, which is more than just marijuana or pot. The hemp and marijuana plants are also of the same plant species under the genus cannabis called cannabis Sativa. Now it’s easy to see why the line between these two plants is so blurry. But the key to understanding why these crops are so different is considering the three main cultivars of the species, which mean the existent breeds and bred artificially for various purposes. These include industrial hemp, varieties grown for seeds, and active cannabinoids cultivars are grown for their medicinal value and recreational pot.

Click here to educate yourself on the differences between Sativa vs. Indica

Though not, strictly speaking, we can say that the first two subtypes of weed are hemp plants, and the third that contains the psychoactive THC is the pot that makes you high. So, in short, medical marijuana and hemp are two plants of the same species but bred and grown for different purposes.

So, where do we draw the line? How can we know for sure whether we’re looking at hemp or cannabis?

Physical differences:

But how do we tell cannabis (here referring to medical marijuana with THC) from hemp plants? The grey areas in the law about the growth and use of hemp plants are there for a reason. The two strains are near similar, but most countries will legally define hemp as the same cannabis Sativa plant with THC levels less than 0.2%. In the US, this level is higher at 0.3%, and therefore hemp companies in the US have somewhat of an advantage compared to their European counterparts.

So then hemp is marijuana with less THC content?

Again, the answer is more complicated than that. That is a sloppy definition because the industrial hemp plant and cannabis can seem like very different plants by appearance alone. They smell and react differently to growing conditions than marijuana plants. For instance, while the marijuana plant tends to be short and stalky and somewhat challenging to grow to require close attention, hemp grows wildly and rises to a greater height with skinny leaves and scanty branches. Also, CBD will increase tightly packed, while marijuana would require sparse growth and lots of care to get it right until the crop rises to full potency and reasonable yield.

As for the flowering time, the marijuana plant flowers in about 90 days, while hemp takes much longer, coming in at up to 120 days. These two crops cannot share an open-air neighborhood in adjacent farms. If marijuana gets in contact with pollen grains from hemp plants, the whole crop is destroyed.

The growth cycle of marijuana tends to be 45–90 days. Marijuana is sensitive in a significant instance: if a marijuana plot is exposed to hemp pollen, the whole crop can be destroyed. So if you are thinking about growing some industrial hemp in your backyard, make sure your next-door neighbor is not into cultivating Maryjane outdoors. Better safe than sorry, uh?

And where is CBD in all of this?

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You may wonder what relates CBD to the hemp vs. cannabis debate. The truth is that CBD is contained in both subtypes of plants. The concentrations vary only due to the breeding and crossing of various elements to produce the desired results. The only distinction between cannabis plants bred for their CBD  medical marijuana production is the low THC level, usually below 0.3%.

Some hemp producers will use leftover plants to create cheap and low-quality oil and pass it off as premium CBD oil. Unlike CBD oil grown for medicinal use, these hemp oil products are potentially harmful. This oil is more prone to contamination. Read the following section to be able to the difference.

CBD oil vs. hemp oil

Another confusing part is that Hemp is high in CBD, but that does not make it the same as CBD oil. While hemp oil is cold-pressed from cannabis seeds, CBD oil is extracted from the flowers of the cannabis plant. In reality, hemp oil contains but traces of CBD. But, that does not make it any less valuable as a dietary supplement. It is packing the rare 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

Can we have hemp oil with CBD?

As much as it does not occur naturally like so, it does not mean that there is no such thing as hemp oil infused with CBD. So if you insist on having your hemp oil with CBD, there are products out there that will solve your dilemma.

Is hemp male marijuana plants?

People commonly mistake hemp for male marijuana plants. On the contrary, the plants are just like marijuana, except they are bred to produce deficient THC levels. You can’t blame such people since industrial hemp does share many traits with male cannabis plants. For instance, male cannabis plants will often give fewer THC levels than expected, and their uses dovetail the ones of industrial hemp.

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Why does the difference between hemp and cannabis matter?

Knowing what you know so far, you might be wondering why it is so crucial to know the hemp vs. marijuana difference. Legalizing hemp makes perfect sense as the decision to criminalize it was illogical in the first place. Hemp can reclaim desert land. And it is an excellent plant to introduce to areas where aridity and desertification are setting in.

Criminalizing marijuana was a political move to quench radicalism and people having too much of a good time. To control somewhat unconventional ideas that are not good for the political atmosphere of the ruling parties. Like blind persons, other governments allied to the big fish quickly followed. It’s funny that they are all so reluctant to decriminalize the same herb after discovering the medicinal value of it vs. the toxicity of tobacco. At least, the awareness spreads on the non-psychoactive nature of hemp. More countries and states will legalize it and benefit from a good food source, building materials, and biofuel. Hemp is the key to saving the world’s forest cover.

What can we do about it?

Start by telling everyone you know, of course! Or, if you are lucky to be among those who call the shots in your community, put forward a motion to legalize the hemp plant. Our place on this planet is to tame all the goodness of nature and use it to our advantage. But all that while preserving the surrounding for future generations. The creativity and healing power of cannabis combined with the high energy food from industrial hemp can help us achieve just that. So write it on a timeline or something, like, share, retweet, ignorance might cause us to perish!

Want to learn some more? Click here to read our article on Terpenes and Hemp!

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