With the marijuana industry constantly growing in today’s world it is important to understand exactly what you are dealing with. There are many misconceptions when it comes to hemp and marijuana, one of them being that they are one in the same, however, they are not.
People often see the word hemp and immediately think it is marijuana, although the two originally derived from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L., they are not the same thing.
A major difference between marijuana and hemp is the THC content. Marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, while hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. In Colorado, the law is that hemp cannot contain more than .3 percent of THC content, while marijuana strains can be known for having over 20 percent.
Hemp also contains higher levels of cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, than marijuana. CBD does not contain psychoactive properties and research shows it can actually reduce the effects of THC. You can learn more about the difference between CBD and THC here.
As far as the physical properties of the plant go the two differ quite a decent amount here as well. Marijuana plants are usually shorter and wider compared to the taller and narrower hemp plants. Hemp plants can grow up to 20 feet tall.
Not to mention marijuana plants often need as much growing room as possible, due to the fact that the more sunlight, air, and water that reach the plant, the more buds that sprout. Hemp does not need that much room due to the main priority of a hemp plant being not to produce big buds for smoking, but instead strong fiber for manufacturing.
Hemp plants require minimal care and are adaptable to grow in most climates, while marijuana plants often need to be grown in a controlled, warm, and humid atmosphere. The growth cycle for hemp is 108-120 days, compared to marijuana’s growth cycle only being around 60-90 days.
The part of the plant used for marijuana is the plant’s flowering tops and leaves that contain the psychoactive elements such as THC. Alternatively, hemp uses the seeds and fibers that are primarily from the stalk.
Hemp can be used for a variety of purposes. You may frequently see lotions, clothing, shampoos state they contain hemp. It can be used for automobiles, body care, clothing, construction, food, plastic, and much more.
Generally marijuana is used for either medical or recreational purposes. The higher THC content is what allows people to feel the “high” from smoking marijuana, and can be done for fun or, depending on the strain used, it can also have many helpful medical properties such as relaxing properties.
Long story short hemp and marijuana are most definitely not the same thing, they were both grouped together as a Schedule I Drug and banned in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp and marijuana are used for very different purposes and should not be confused as the same thing.