What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the cannabis plant, but they are different in several key ways.

24 January 2023

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Key differences

Hemp and marijuana have different levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that gives the “high” associated with marijuana use. Marijuana typically has THC levels between 5% and 30%, while industrial hemp, the type used in our beloved CBD products, must have THC levels of 0.3% or less.

Physical charasteristics

Hemp and marijuana also have different physical characteristics. Hemp plants are tall and thin, typically growing to a height of up to 15 feet, while marijuana plants are shorter and bushier, typically growing to a height of around 5 feet. The leaves of hemp plants are also narrower than those of marijuana plants.

Legality

Hemp and marijuana also have different legal statuses. In the United States, the 2018 Farm Bill legalised hemp cultivation, but marijuana remains illegal under federal law. However, some states have legalised marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. In the United Kingdom, hemp and marijuana are both considered controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This means that it is illegal to produce, supply, or possess either substance without a license.

Use cases

Lastly, hemp and marijuana are used for different purposes. Hemp is used typically used for industrial purposes such as making paper, cloth, construction materials, food, and supplements. Marijuana is used primarily for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Summary

In summary, while hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the cannabis plant, they have different levels of THC, different physical characteristics, and different legal statuses, and are used for different purposes.