What’s the Difference Between Hemp vs. Marijuana?

Many people use the words hemp and marijuana interchangeably, thinking that there are no real differences between the two types of cannabis plants. However, when comparing hemp vs. marijuana, it is important to note a few key differences, especially if you are shopping for CBD oil products. Below, you’ll learn the difference between hemp vs. marijuana, including how the two plants differ in THC levels, legality, and more.

As individuals begin to educate themselves about cannabis, CBD oil, the types of CBD products available, and more, one of the common questions that comes up time and again is “What is the difference between hemp vs. marijuana?

While there are few genetic differences between hemp and marijuana plants, there are drastic differences in terms of cannabis slang, legal interpretation, and use of the plants. In practical terms, the differences between hemp and marijuana are quite significant. Below, we will take a close look at the similarities and differences of marijuana vs. hemp, including their uses, their legal status, and more.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant species, classifying as Cannabis sativa L. However, just because they are the same species does not mean they have the same spectrums of cannabinoid concentrations. Hemp and marijuana feature very different levels of common cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and this is not the only difference between hemp vs. marijuana.

“Hemp” is the term used to describe the food and fiber variety of the cannabis plant, while “marijuana” is the name given to cannabis that’s grown to enhance the chemicals (such as THC) that make you feel intoxicated. These are the most basic differences between hemp and marijuana.

hemp and cannabis

The Differences in Growing Hemp vs. Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana must be grown using different techniques and in different environments to produce the best possible results. Below, we will detail the different growing methods for hemp and marijuana.

How to Grow Marijuana

Commercial marijuana is usually grown indoors, allowing the growing conditions to be monitored very closely in order to optimize growth. Although you can find THC throughout the plant, it is the flowers or “buds” that are harvested for recreational marijuana.

THC is the main chemical in marijuana that creates intoxicating effects. Marijuana is grown to encourage the development of THC-laden flowers. That’s because THC is concentrated mostly in the trichomes, which are little resin-filled glands on the flowers of the plant. Flowers of the female marijuana plant that have not been fertilized by a male plant’s pollen will produce more of the resin that contains THC.

Cannabis features both male and female plants, and when growing marijuana, the male plants are removed and only the female plants are cultivated. The reason for only cultivating female plants is that fertilized cannabis flowers are lower in THC. Therefore, male and female plants must be separated to avoid fertilization and keep the THC levels high.

How to Grow Hemp

While much is done to marijuana plants to try to optimize the concentration of THC, hemp is cultivated as close as you can get to how cannabis grows naturally. Hemp is grown all over the world to produce a variety of products, including food, oil, and fiber. The whole hemp plant can be used commercially, not just the flowers.

With hemp, male and female plants are sown very closely together. This allows for easy wind pollination, an increase in seed production, and effective control of weed populations growing around hemp plants. As a result, hemp plants are typically very tall and hardy plants with much less branching than marijuana plants. This results in a plant that looks very different from the often shorter and bushier marijuana plants.

Some domestic growers, however, have started growing shorter hemp plants that produce more flowers in order to optimize the production of CBD for CBD oil products.

THC vs. CBD in Hemp Oil vs. Marijuana Oil

Another key difference between hemp oil vs. marijuana oil is that hemp naturally has almost no THC, the key psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Conversely, most marijuana plants produce just trace levels of CBD.

Due to selective breeding over decades, concentrations of THC in marijuana can now range from 10% to as much as 30%.

Meanwhile, hemp oil features much less THC. In fact, in order for a cannabis plant to be classified as hemp, its flowers must contain just 0.3% THC, making hemp flowers 33 times less potent than the least potent marijuana. Therefore, it’s impossible to get intoxicated from consuming hemp.

Legal Status of Hemp vs. Marijuana

Marijuana and hemp have a different legal status in the United States and in other countries around the world, so it’s important to understand the legal differences between the two.

Legal Status of Hemp

Hemp cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of hemp and hemp products have been legal in the U.S ever since the Farm Bill was passed in 2018. That means that it is legal to purchase and use CBD products made from hemp.

Legal Status of Marijuana

Marijuana, on the other hand, is still federally illegal in the U.S. However, it is legal to use marijuana in certain parts of the country thanks to state-level legal medical and recreational marijuana laws.

Marijuana CBD vs. Hemp CBD

Although both hemp and marijuana produce CBD, there are some important factors to take into account when choosing a CBD source.

Hemp CBD

Hemp naturally has more CBD than THC, making it an ideal source of CBD, especially for those who want to avoid the intoxicating effects of THC. This is the primary reason why hemp oil is the preferred source of natural CBD for thousands of people, but there are other reasons as well.

When CBD is extracted from hemp, it is legal to purchase and use in the U.S. That means that you can feel confident buying hemp oil CBD products. All CBD products available for purchase from the Medical Marijuana, Inc online store are derived from hemp, making it a safe and legal way to experience the benefits of CBD.

Marijuana CBD

Unlike CBD products made with hemp, those made with marijuana are likely to contain high levels of THC, unless they have been adulterated in some way (ie. thinned down). Marijuana CBD products generally contain too high a level of THC, and is federally illegal and will only be legal on a state level in certain states.

When shopping for CBD products, check to see if they are made with hemp to help ensure you are only using CBD products that are federally legal to use.

What Kinds of CBD Products Are Made from Hemp?

CBD is a popular wellness product used by people around the country to help bring balance to their hectic modern lives. As the first company to create and distribute CBD products nationwide, Medical Marijuana, Inc. knows what it takes to make high-quality CBD.

All our products are held to our strict quality standards. Each and every product is Triple Lab Tested®, ensuring that they have been tested to be safe and reliable.

There are a number of ways to use CBD and below are a few of our most popular CBD products:

If you need help finding the right product for you, then try our CBD Hemp Oil Product Recommendation Tool.

Learn More About CBD Hemp Oil

Now that you know the difference between hemp vs. marijuana, you can learn more about topics like what is CBD?, cannabinoids and their effects, how to use CBD, and more on our CBD oil education page.

If you are ready to get started with CBD products, then take a look at the Medical Marijuana, Inc. store now.