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Medically Reviewed By:
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    Hemp vs Marijuana: Understanding the Differences

    Hemp plant leaves close up

    When it comes to cannabis, there is often confusion surrounding the difference between hemp and marijuana.

    Both come from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa, but they are used for different purposes and have different properties.

    In this article, we will delve into the differences between hemp and marijuana, including their appearance, cultivation, uses, and legal status.

    Cannabis Sativa: The Plant Behind Hemp and Marijuana

    Cannabis sativa is a plant species that belongs to the Cannabis genus and the Cannabaceae family.

    It is a flowering plant that is native to central and southern Asia, but it is now cultivated in various parts of the world for its fiber, seeds, and medicinal and recreational purposes.

    There are three main subspecies of Cannabis sativa: Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, and Cannabis sativa.

    What Are Hemp Plants?

    Hemp plants are a type of Cannabis sativa that is grown specifically for its fiber, seeds, and oil. Hemp plants are tall and thin, with narrow leaves and little to no flowers.

    They are generally harvested for their stalks, which are used to make a variety of products such as textiles, paper, ropes, and even building materials.

    Hemp plants contain very low levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), typically less than 0.3%.

    This means that hemp is not considered a controlled substance.

    What Are Marijuana Plants?

    Marijuana, on the other hand, is a type of Cannabis sativa that is grown specifically for its psychoactive and medicinal properties.

    Marijuana is are shorter and bushier than hemp plants, with broad leaves and dense buds. They are generally harvested for their flowers, which are used for recreational and medicinal purposes.

    Marijuana contains higher levels of THC, typically ranging from 5-35%.

    This is what gives marijuana its psychoactive effects and makes it a controlled substance in many parts of the world.

    Differences in Cultivation

    Hemp and marijuana plants are grown differently and for different purposes.

    Size Of Hemp Plants

    Hemp plants are typically grown in large fields and are spaced further apart, as they do not require as much attention and care as marijuana plants.

    They are also grown using different techniques and methods, such as using male plants to produce seedless hemp flowers, known as sinsemilla.

    Size Of Marijuana

    All this while marijuana is grown in smaller, more controlled environments and requires more attention and care.

    They are often grown using methods such as hydroponics, which allows for more precise control of the plants’ growing conditions.

    Marijuana is also often grown using female plants, which produce flowers with higher levels of THC.

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    Comparing Hemp & Marijuana Products

    Hemp Products

    Hemp is a versatile plant that is used to make a wide range of products, including:

    Textiles:

    Hemp fibers can be used to make clothing, bags, shoes, and other textiles. Hemp is a durable and sustainable alternative to traditional materials such as cotton.

    Paper:

    Hemp plant fibers can also be used to make paper products, such as paper towels, napkins, and even currency. Hemp plant paper is stronger and more durable than traditional paper made from trees.

    Building materials:

    Hemp can be used to make a variety of building materials, such as insulation, plaster, and concrete. These materials are environmentally friendly and can help reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects.

    Food:

    Hemp plant seeds and hempseed oil are popular ingredients in the health food industry. Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients.

    Hempseed oil is also used in cooking and as a dietary supplement.

    Beauty products:

    Hemp is also used in a variety of beauty and personal care products, such as soaps, lotions, and shampoos.

    Hemp-based products are often marketed as being natural and organic.

    Nutritional supplements:

    Hemp is a popular ingredient in nutritional supplements, such as gummies, protein powders and omega-3 supplements.

    Marijuana Products

    Marijuana is mostly used for recreational and medicinal purposes, and there are a wide range of products available that are made from marijuana or contain its active ingredients, including:

    Flower:

    The most traditional way to consume marijuana is by smoking the dried flowers of the plant.

    Edibles:

    Another popular way to consume marijuana is by eating it in the form of edibles, such as cookies, brownies, gummies, and more.

    Vapes:

    Vaping marijuana has become a popular alternative to smoking, as it is considered to be less harmful to the lungs.

    Oils and tinctures:

    Marijuana can also be consumed in the form of oils or tinctures, which can be taken orally or added to food and drinks.

    Topicals:

    Marijuana-infused topicals, such as creams and lotions, are also available and are used for their potential medicinal benefits.

    Capsules:

    Marijuana is also available in capsule form, which can be taken orally like any other supplement.

    Uses of Hemp and Marijuana

    Hemp and marijuana have different uses due to their different properties and compositions. Hemp is used for a wide range of industrial and commercial purposes, such as the production of textiles, paper, ropes, and building materials.

    It is also used to produce food, such as hemp seeds and hempseed oil, as well as nutritional supplements and beauty products.

    Marijuana differs in that it is mostly used for recreational and medicinal purposes.

    It is smoked, vaporized, or consumed in edibles to produce psychoactive effects.

    It is also used for medicinal purposes, such as to relieve minor pain.

    The legal status of hemp and marijuana varies depending on where you are in the world.

    In the United States, hemp was legalized at the federal level in 2018 with the passage of the Farm Bill.

    Hemp Products Legality

    This legalized the production, and possession of hemp and hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, as long as the THC levels are less than 0.3%. Meaning that hemp is considered federally legal in the United States, and hemp-derived products can be sold and purchased in all states.

    Marijuana Products Legality

    Marijuana, on the other hand, is still considered a controlled substance at the federal level in the United States and is illegal under federal law.

    However, many states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes or both.

    In a state where marijuana is legal, it can be purchased and consumed by adults 21 and older. In states where it is not legal, possession and use of marijuana is still illegal and can result in criminal charges.

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    Conclusion

    In conclusion, hemp and marijuana are two different types of Cannabis sativa plants that are used for different purposes. Hemp is grown for its fiber, seeds, and oil and contains very low levels of THC, making it federally legal in the United States.

    Marijuana is grown for its psychoactive and medicinal properties and contains higher levels of THC, making it a controlled substance at the federal level in the United States.

    Understanding the differences between hemp and marijuana is important for both consumers and those in the cannabis industry.

    As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial for consumers to be informed about the products they are purchasing and consuming. This is especially important when it comes to CBD products, as the market is flooded with a wide range of products that may not always be accurately labeled or tested.

    If you are looking for high-quality hemp products that you can trust, we recommend trying our delta 8 THC gummies 100mg. Our gummies are made with hemp-derived delta 8 and are carefully formulated and tested to ensure purity and potency.

    author avatar
    Clayton McCall

    Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.

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