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What is Hemp? How is Hemp Different from Marijuana?

Some common questions we get are “What is Hemp?” and “How is hemp different from marijuana?”. Although industrial hemp (pain reliever) is considered a member of the Cannabis species, it is not a plant that can be used as a recreational drug the same way marijuana can. Currently, hemp is used for extracting CBD. Even though hemp contains CBD, it is really low in the psychoactive, intoxicating compound THC. Hemp has been used for hundreds of years for various purposes, from rope to paper, its composition and ease of cultivation has made it a great option for use in many products. 

Federal law currently defines industrial hemp as cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

What are the main differences between hemp and marijuana?


Marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. However, each state has unique laws surrounding hemp and marijuana. Many states now allow for medicinal usage of marijuana by certain patients, and some also allow adults to use high-THC marijuana for recreation. Hemp, however, has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing people to access hemp easily for the first time in decades. However, hemp is not legal in every state as of yet due to the fact that some states still consider it illegal. 

Usage of Hemp and Marijuana

Users often smoke marijuana or eat it in order to get a “high”. Oftentimes this is done for therapeutic medical purposes. Whether you are legally able to use marijuana will depend on the laws of the state you live in.

Before hemp was outlawed (which was later reversed), crafters used the fibers of the hemp plant for producing cloth materials, and it even have some uses in the construction industry. Also, the seeds can be consumed for nutrition and are high in protein. Products made from hemp help as a pain reliever.

Cultivation of Hemp and Marijuana

Despite both being cannabis, marijuana and hemp are grown very differently.

Marijuana cultivators need to carefully monitor temperature and humidity throughout every stage of growth. Each plant is grown far apart from each other, and nutrient intake is efficiently controlled. Hemp, on the other hand, requires a simpler process to grow. Plants grow close together in a wider variety of conditions. Cultivators are able to grow hemp quickly, oftentimes without the use of any chemicals or fertilizers.

Composition of Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis species and both contain cannabinoids. Keep in mind they each vary in the level of cannabinoids they contain. While hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, marijuana contains 5-20% average. Some strains can pack up to 30%+ THC.

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