CBD Explained

Hemp vs Marijuana: The Actual Difference

Hemp vs Marijuana: Physical LookIn the Cannabaceae family, cannabis is a flowering plant consisting of the three main species such as Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, and Cannabis Ruderalis. before we know the Hemp vs Marijuana we need to know definition of some terms related to the difference.

Cannabis Indica have the one seed to seed life cycle which is also known as the annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. It has very thick stem and broad leaves as compared to cannabis sativa and Ruderalis. Cannabis Indica contains very high THC,  cannabidiol and CNC.

Cannabis Sativa is known by all and one of the most common form in the Cannabaceae family which is cultivated world wide. the physical appearance of cannabis sativa is that it is taller than the cannabis Indica and with more feathery flower buds and leaves are long and narrow completely different from the cannabis indica

Cannabis Ruderalis is the smallest plant in the cannabaceae family and with lowest THC in it. Origin places are Russia , eastern Europe and central Europe. it contains very high CBD.the growth cycle of the cannabis ruderalis is very fast and it has the ability of auto-flowering.

However, Hemp & Marijuana are commonly known as ‘strains’ of cannabis. In easy words, hemp and marijuana are simply the two most popular varieties of the cannabis plant which were first adopted into the American culture, but still, they are not yet legitimate connotations for the Cannabis plant.

Psychoactive marijuana or cannabis is widely known for recreational and medicinal purposes. Many states are gradually legalizing recreational marijuana, despite this, marijuana is federally illegal. The inception of the Farm Bill 2018, got hemp legalized in the U.S.

Unlike marijuana, hemp can be transformed to use in a variety of ways such as skin products, clothing, healthy dietary supplements, and diverse accessories. Nowadays, you can not only buy legal hemp-derived CBD products online, but can also purchase through many grocery stores, and from everyday businesses. And over 25,000 possible applications can be drawn from hemp.

Even after completing over 50 years of research on cannabis, the government still seems to have some confusion in making out the difference between hemp and marijuana. In spite of the recent legalization of hemp, federal policies surrounding hemp cultivation & sales of hemp-derived products are still up in the air, and on the other hand, the banks continue to categorize or treat hemp businesses like criminals. In rare cases, even there are arrests over hemp, on-route transporting such as truckers, while the transportation is entirely legal.

What is Hemp?

What is Hemp ?“Hemp” is one of the types of Cannabis that contain a trace amount of THC or less than 0.3% content (according to dry weight).

Until the 2018 Farm Bill had incepted, the legal definition mentioned above had not been legitimized. Hemp is harvested for industrial use because of its derived products, which has been referred to as non-intoxicating cannabis.

Use of Hemp recorded throughout history, over 10,000 years ago hemp was discovered to make multiple products of its material. It was believed that hemp is the very first crop grown by mankind.

Food, clothing, housing material, rope, paper, and more, hemp with the capabilities to produce such essential resources. Also, hemp has been called the impetus for humanity’s earliest innovations.

What is Marijuana?

What is Marijuana“Marijuana” is a plant classified under the categories of Cannabis that contain a higher concentration of THC (more than 0.3%) by dry weight. It has the capability to induce a sense of euphoric effects or psychoactive effects on the user.

The use of the term Marijuana is common throughout American culture, but it is considered as a grossly representative variety of Cannabis. In the Cannabis industry, the working people and organizations were afraid to use the term and mainly consider it to be a defamed drug.

In early American history, the primary term used for Marijuana was Cannabis to classify the plant. Prior to the term ‘Marijuana’ was not-existed.

A million of Mexican refugees migrated to the United States from the Mexican revolution, in 1910-1920. This time the term ‘Marijuana’ aroused with the rise in anti-Mexican sentiments to show a negative correlation of its use by Mexican immigrants.
Soon after, a warning hit Americans of the dangerous & homicidal tendencies caused by using ‘locoweed’ or ‘Mexican Cannabis’ which lead to an even greater rise in anti-Mexican sentiment.

As the negative persona regarding Cannabis intensified, the government more aggressively began to regulate cannabis.

Many states by 1927 had started passing anti-marijuana laws by the end of the decade, the fear of ‘Reefer madness’ and the anti-marijuana propaganda was over the air. The nation started imposing heavy, unrealistic taxes on the sale, possession, and transportation of the plant, after passing the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Immediately, at that point in time, the federal government had banned the “Marijuana,” and the Cannabis prohibition continued for the next 80 years.

Difference Between Hemp and Weed/Marijuana

Type Chemical structure Psycho-active Cultivation Application
Marijuana High THC (5% to 40%) Yes Grown in a particular atmosphere with maximum care Medical & recreational use
Hemp Low THC (<0.3%) No Adaptable to grow in most climates with minimal care Body care, clothing, food, plastic, construction, automobiles

Being varieties of the same plant species, marijuana & hemp share many similar qualities and perhaps can appear alike.

Try not to confuse yourself for hemp and marijuana’s legal regulations and their usage & effects.
To understand the major difference between hemp and marijuana, acknowledge these hemp and marijuana.

  • Hemp Plant Vs Marijuana Plant : Composition

Hemp vs Marijuana: Chemical StructureHemp plant and Marijuana plant both are the type of the Cannabis plant but only difference between them is on the basis of chemical composition. The chemical composition is the main defining characteristic to make out the exact difference between hemp plant and marijuana plant.

Both the plants have the capacity to produce CBD, one of the non-intoxicating cannabinoids; on the other hand, THC can be produced at different levels.

The hemp plant contains a trace amount of THC: no more than 0.3% by dry weight, while Marijuana can contain high levels of THC up to and more than 30% of the content.

  • Industrial Hemp vs Marijuana: Cultivation

Hemp, or industrial hemp and marijuana are cultivated for different purposes, so they grow in different atmospheric conditions. To optimize the breed’s characteristics, varieties of marijuana are grown in controlled environments to produce a female plant that generates budding flowers.

For the proper cultivation of marijuana, a grower must be aware of the suitable cultivating conditions to maintain each stage of its life cycle effectively. The factors which are responsible to grow marijuana are:- proper temperature, humidity, and lighting.

Hemp is grown in indifferent conditions, especially to maximize its size and yield. Unlike marijuana, Hemp is considered as an outdoor cultivated plant which requires proper attention and the level of control.

  • Hemp vs Marijuana: Legality

Hemp vs Marijuana: LegalityDue to the difference in THC levels, marijuana & hemp are regulated differently under federal law.

Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, hemp was regulated as an illegal substance. Under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Hemp is now classified as a federally legalized plant and removed from the list of illegal substances. The bill also gave the legal authority for the use of hemp-derived products which contain less than 0.3% THC in them.

Marijuana and products derived from it are still considered as a controlled substance and declared as federally illegal by Drug and Food Administration.

  • Smoking Hemp vs Weed

You can smoke Hemp Flower Buds like Marijuana. According to the taste of smoke they both are similar and the only difference between smoking of marijuana and hemp flower is hemp are less psychoactive because of low level THC and it doesn’t make you high. On the other hand,  Marijuana makes you high because of it’s high THC percentage which is 0.3-30%. and if you smoke hemp you will not feel too much hungry or uncontrollable hunger like marijuana and weed.

  • Hemp vs Marijuana: Uses

Hemp and marijuana offer a wide range of usages with their different compositions.

THC, one of the most powerful psychoactive compounds which can directly bind to both the receptors- CB1 & CB2 in the , which is responsible for inducing euphoric or mind-altering effects referred to as being high.

As we all know that marijuana is commonly known for its amusement purposes; after many types of research, it has been revealed that it’s used in a wide variety of medicinal applications.

In contrast, hemp is harvested to produce a wide range of products such as:

  • Food products: hemp flour, cooking oil, and hemp seed-based products, etc.
  • Medicinal products: CBD-infused oils, topicals, bath bombs, etc.
  • Industrial products: building materials, paper, clothing, plastic, etc.


CBD and THC are the two main chemical compounds or cannabinoids that make hemp and marijuana different.

THC Stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol is an active compound of marijuana and responsible for psychoactive effects or creates ‘high’. Research suggests an average batch of marijuana contains about 5-20% THC content, while premium marijuana can have THC up to 25-30%.

In order to maintain legality, hemp must only contain a trace amount of THC or less than 0.3% THC, which makes hemp impossible to give a psychoactive or mind-altering effect.

CBD stands for Cannabidiol possesses various beneficiary properties such as anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory without any psychoactive effects. Thus, it has become one of the leading applications of hemp in the U.S with its growing popularity. Some researchers believe that all the natural compounds found in the hemp work in a combined manner and produce the entourage effect’. In simple words, a trace amount of THC could enhance the effect of CBD without getting you ‘high’.

CBD from Marijuana vs Hemp

Hemp-Derived CBD Marijuana Derived CBD
Less than 0.3 THC by law Can be more 0.3% of THC
Won’t get you high Can get you high
Federally legal  Legal in only some states
Limited chemical compounds Diverse chemical compounds
Buy it from a dispensary or online Buy it at licensed shops in legal states
Makes medicines, edibles, oils, topicals. Preferred for medical benefits & casual enjoyments

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil vs Cannabis Oil

Unless you go to buy CBD oil made exclusively from the hemp plant. This product of CBD is often referred to as CBD oil, Hemp oil, or cannabis oil.

You can further differentiate CBD oil into forms- Full-spectrum, Broad-spectrum, or Isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil is oil that contains CBD, along with other phytonutrients, including trace levels of THC. Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains other phytonutrients and processed in such a way to remove all traces of THC. While products made of Isolate CBD contains pure CBD, without other compounds of the hemp plant.

Hemp oil is oil extracted from seeds of the hemp plant or oil only made of hemp seeds can be termed as Hemp oil. This oil neither consist of CBD or THC nor other compounds of the hemp plant.

Cannabis oil is extracted from marijuana varieties of the cannabis plant. These oils may vary in compositions but they generally consist of some percentage of CBD, THC, and other compounds of the plants. Technically, CBD-rich oils extracted from marijuana plants can be termed as Cannabis oil or marijuana oil.

How Hemp got Grouped with Marijuana?

Nixon, the President signed the Law – Controlled Substance Act of 1970 and declared a “War on Drugs”. This law promulgated a set of defamed drugs to be banned & established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Unconditionally, the world’s oldest domesticated crop – Hemp was outlawed.

Although the war on drugs began many decades before, with cannabis (Marijuana) which was the main target. In spite of the benefits of cannabis also is the safest plant, not only gave a hike regarding the misconception for the plant but also led to the demise of hemp.

In 1970, marijuana was grouped with all types of cannabis after the inception of the Controlled Substances Act and after this, the entire Cannabis was made illegal to cultivate in the US. Thus, this action-driven hemp into a category of a drug even though it doesn’t possess any chemical like marijuana as a drug has.
This unintentionally classified hemp as a drug even after possessing no chemicals, unlike marijuana that makes it a drug.

difference between hemp and marijuanaThe Future of CBD Oil

All thanks to the hard work of the people around the world, including scientists, researchers, doctors, farmers, business owners, and citizens that they are continuously working on cannabis and its products to make us aware of the cannabis-products which are now steadily increasing.

With the advancement in technology and information, we are likely to see plant breeders come up with high-resin strains of marijuana and hemp plants that are better than today’s cannabis-derived products. During this time, there’s a possibility for marijuana to become legal in the states where it isn’t presently, which would increase greater access to the diversity of CBD oils and other cannabis products.

While both the plants – hemp and marijuana are a part of the same plant. The legal status and definition of these plants only make it harder for researchers to conduct a proper study and people to access the products in the most beneficial way.

Instead of making two categories of cannabis, in the following days- we can benefit more from breeding plants for their required uses and benefits without restrictions based on the concentration of THC found in the product.

Final thought: Hemp and Marijuana

The FDA does not support all forms of the Cannabis plant. After noticing the difference between hemp and marijuana to the classification of Cannabis, we believe that cannabis should be fully legal for anyone to use it safely for enhancing their lives by improving their health. Whether then, it may be consumed by smoking psychoactive cannabis (Marijuana) or by taking hemp-based CBD.

Hemp is now declared fully legal by federal laws throughout the nation, though many states and policies of federal regulations are still behind the times. However, Marijuana is yet not got any legal status in the nation, but sooner will become legal, and probably might someday be federally legal too.

Although, FDA does not support all plant’s classifications, still, it’s important to recognize the differences between hemp and marijuana. The use of medical marijuana can possibly transform lives for the betterment, meanwhile, all forms of industrial hemp can be used in thousands of ways. Researchers and scientists have only discovered its full potential to benefit society. So, expand your vision & understandings for the different types of uses of cannabis.

Frequently ask Questions(FaQ’s):

1. Is Hemp different from Cannabis(Hemp vs Cannabis) ?

Yes or No, Cannabis plants with low THC level(less than 0.03) are Hemp Plant. but marijuana is also named as cannabis so in that context yes cannabis is different from the Hemp.

2. Is Hemp marijuana ?

No, Hemp and marijuana both are types of cannabis plant but different because of THC content.

3. Is Hemp a drug ?

Yes, according to its properties and origin,  hemp is a drug. But hemp has very less side effects.

4. What is the difference between Hemp and Pot (Hemp vs Pot)?

Pot is the other name of the  Marijuana or weed. so the difference are same

5. What’s better, weed/marijuana or hemp CBD oil?

Hemp CBD Oil is better Than marijuana/cannabis CBD oil.