Hemp vs Marijuana

Posted on Updated on 15 October, 2018

People often consider both Hemp and Marijuana the same thing. But there is stark difference between the both. They both fall under the same family of Cannabis, but are different.

Way back in 1970, the whole of Cannabis species were grouped under the same Schedule 1 Drug by the political leaders, and were banned. This was because they got confused in Hemp and Marijuana. Even after more than 40 years, they still continue to confuse between the two.

What are Hemp and Marijuana then?

Both are the plants that have different applications. Marijuana is used more for recreational and medicinal purposes. On the other hand, Hemp has over 25,000 application possibilities, including clothing, skin products, diet supplements, and much more. If we make a chart of differences between the both, it would be like:

Hemp

  • Not psychoactive
  • Does not require much care to grow
  • 25,000 different uses including clothing, body care, food, construction, etc.

Marijuana

  • Psychoactive
  • Need controlled environment to grow
  • Can be used for only medicinal and recreational purposes

How to differentiate

Now when you know that both are different and have different applications, how can you really tell the difference?

There can be 3 areas that can help you differentiate the both:

  1. Appearance: There is stark difference in the way they appear.
    1. Hemp – Leaves are skinnier, having higher concentration on the top of the plant. It is taller and have very less branches or leaves below the top part.
    2. Marijuana – Leaves are broad or they can be tight buds. They are shorter and appear more like a fat bush.
  2. Chemical Makeup: Their chemical makeup tells the tale of both the plants. Their difference lies mainly in THC(tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for psychological effects of Marijuana.
    1. Hemp – This can have THC level of maximum 0.3%. Hence a person cannot feel high ever with this. It even has high CBD, making 0.3% also as useless.
    2. Marijuana – Here, the level of THC can be 5-20% in an average batch, and can even go up to 25-30% in the premium batch. And this is enough to make a person feel high.
  3. Cultivation: As we read above, both need different environments to cultivate. Hence they can easily give way to their identity.
    1. Hemp – They are grown very closely, around 4 inches apart. And they need large acres of land to get cultivated. It can grow in any sort of climate, and needs 108-120 days to grow fully.
    2. Marijuana – It needs warm, humid and a very controlled atmosphere to grow. It only needs 60-90 days to grow. Plus, they need to be planted far away from each other, roughly around 6 feet apart.

THC vs CBD

Above we read about 2 chemicals 0 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). What are they and how they are different?

They are essentially the chemicals which are primarily responsible for psychological effects of Hemp and Marijuana. As we told above, THC is the main component of Marijuana. On average, Marijuana has around 5-20% THC content.

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Hemp, on the other hand, has around 0.3% THC content only. It also has high CBD, which acts as an antagonist to THC, thereby making even 0.3% negligible.

The main properties of CBD are that it is anti inflammatory, and works as a great analgesic. It does not have any psychological effects, which is the primary reason it is being used in a large number of medical supplements.