Why Hemp and Marijuana Are More Different Than You Think

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

There has been a recent boom in the demand for CBD. The CBD industry is enjoying an increased global requirement not just because of its medicinal value but because of the generational shift in demand for natural products

And that is exactly where the beauty of the hemp plant lies: in its incredible ability to yield a number of benefits. Much like the coconut tree which gives off a variety of natural products – from its fruit, leaves, trunk, and even husk, hemp also has an array of natural and medicinal benefits.

But despite this plant’s numerous benefits, the regulation of using hemp – at least in the medical field – is being met with resistance. This is because it is being closely linked to another plant from the same family but with a more controversial backstory – marijuana.

This is why it’s important to appropriately and regularly distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana. And as we dissect the two, it will be more glaring why showing their differences is crucial for the acceptance of one or both to be used regularly for their respective purposes.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Both Hemp and Marijuana belong to the Cannabis plant family. And surprisingly, this is where their similarities end. Because from appearance, to make, to management and cultivation, their differences are quite obvious.

It is quite easy to identify each plant from the other when the two are compared side by side And digging deeper and studying their chemical makeup would reveal even more differences.

The latter is where the biggest and most important difference lies. Because identifying so also defines the purpose why each plant is grown and cultivated.

Characteristics and Appearance

This is the clearest and most obvious evidence of difference, which makes it unfortunate to clump hemp and marijuana together and make them appear one and the same.

A simple eye test would show that marijuana looks different from hemp. Marijuana leaves are broader and its buds are tight. Hemp has skinnier leaves which are mostly at the top of the branch.

From a distance, marijuana is shorter and bushier, while Hemp grows taller and skinnier.

Composition and Legality

The differentiating factor between Hemp and Marijuana is the amount of THC present. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical element that causes the psychoactive reaction by those who ingest or apply the plant extract.

Hemp contains a very low concentration of THC (generally 0.3% or less) while Marijuana has an abundance of it (often between 15% and 40%). It is the large amount of THC in Marijuana that causes the psychological effects.

This is an important distinction because the amount of THC is what determines their legal consumption and dispensation. In the US and in most parts of the world, hemp has been completely legalized and distribution is growing.

Because Hemp has such a low THC level, it is impossible to feel any psychoactive effect or get “stoned” from taking or applying it.

Another important distinction is that Hemp also has a high level of cannabidiol (CBD) which is a proven antithesis to any psychoactive effect that THC might have. But this will prove to be irrelevant anyway due to the very low level of THC.

Cultivation and Purpose

Because of the growing demand for hemp and hemp-based products, farmers and entrepreneurs are focusing on hemp cultivation. This is because Hemp is grown primarily for industrial purposes.

On the other hand, Marijuana is grown for recreational and medicinal purposes. Since Marijuana is abundant in THC, it is being cultivated for its psychoactive elements and effects.

Hemp can produce or have as a byproduct a variety of products that we use on a daily basis, such as paper, clothing, construction supplies, craft, biofuel, food products, oils, and many others.

To cultivate them, Marijuana plants need a carefully maintained environment. They must be planted and grown in a warm and humid climate. For Hemp, it is a simpler process to grow them. They can be planted and cultivated in different climates. Safe to say, Hemp requires less attention and maintenance. It is perfect to be grown industrially.


Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Needless to say, with all the differences, Hemp and Marijuana are obviously very different from each other. Mistaking one for the other can be a costly mistake.

With the increasing demand for CBD throughout the globe, and dozens of practical usages and bio-friendly alternatives provided for due to hemp, the hemp industry will continue to be abundant.

In the past hemp has played an important role in furthering mankind’s innovations. There’s no telling what it can still do for humans in the future. All things considered, the possibilities for the Hemp plant are endless. With technological researches conducted and studies published, more people will become aware of the benefits of Hemp.

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