Hemp vs marijuana is one of the main questions that people have. Is it the same thing? Or are they completely different things?
To start the debate of hemp vs marijuana, we first need to introduce the main term – cannabis. Many confuse all of the three terms as they are one same thing. They are actually all very different.
Cannabis refers to a type of plant which we all know what it is and the plants that fall under this category are divided into sativa and indica.
The marijuana plant can be both sativa and indica while hemp strictly falls into the category of sativa.
But if marijuana can be sativa and hemp is always sativa, how come they are not the same thing?
This is a completely legitimate hemp vs marijuana question and while it is true they do share some common characteristic, they also differentiate in several things which we are going to look a more closely.
The Difference in How They Look
If you look at the hemp vs marijuana plant even side by side, on first glance they might appear completely the same. However, on closer inspection, you will actually realize that there are some notable differences in how the hemp vs marijuana plants look.
Hemp vs Marijuana via IntelliCBD
The marijuana leaves in comparison to the hemp leaves are wider yet denser. The buds are more compact and overall, it has a sort of a bushy appearance. The growth of the plant depends whether it is a sativa plant or an indica plant. And since marijuana can fall under each of the two categories, the plant characteristics are different. We will look at that in depth a bit later – for now, let’s say that sativa grows taller than indica.
Hemp leaves, on the other hand, are longer, skinnier and they grow taller in contrast to the marijuana leaves. The leaves of hemp are more pointy and elongated and the plant doesn’t have the bushy appearance that marijuana has, especially if it is indica marijuana.
Once you know this, it becomes pretty evident. Hemp will grow taller in comparison to marijuana and its buds are not so dense and compressed as the marijuana buds.
To the untrained eye, these difference might not seem like a lot, but the visual inspection is the first way of knowing if the cannabis plant you are seeing is hemp or marijuana.
The Plant Itself
Obviously, both hemp and marijuana are cannabis sativa plants. However, the hemp is the male plant while marijuana is the female. In the growth process, what you might think that is hemp, legally might turn out to be something else i.e. an illegal or a controlled substance. Legally, for hemp to be hemp it needs to contain around 0.3% THC. If hemp contains more than that, it will be considered an intoxicating substance and it might be illegal in certain countries.
Male vs Female Sativa via Kind Green Buds
So the definition of hemp by biologist might be different from the legal definition of hemp. Even in countries where cannabis of all kinds is legal, the production of hemp is more controlled because it is mainly an industrial product and it is not very often used for recreational use. We will explore why the case is such a bit later.
As we mentioned previously, marijuana can be both indica and sativa. However, for the purpose of making a proper comparison, we will take a look at the chemical composition of the sativa marijuana.
THC vs CBD via WeazyCBD
The main difference in the chemical composition of these two cannabis plants in the THC and CBD ratios. Both THC and CBD have proven to be beneficial for the human body, yet THC is the substance that gives the feeling of high and the giggles. It is a psychoactive substance that when activated by heat reaches the brain and makes everything funny.
CBD, on the other hand, is not a psychoactive substance, meaning that it has no impact to the brain in terms of having an effect similar to THC. CBD works more on the muscles and body relaxation so users of CBD keep a completely sober mind while enjoying the benefits of CBD.
This being said, the chemical compositions of hemp vs marijuana are notably different.
Hemp contains a very low percentage of THC- lower than 1% (0.3% legally) which means that it will not cause any changes in the brain and give you a high feeling. Marijuana, on the other hand, can contain quite high amounts of THC – between 15-40% so the more THC it contains the stronger the psychoactive effect will be.
Due to these properties, hemp vs marijuana has different uses and different purposes.
But again, when it comes to marijuana and CBD, what makes the main difference are the strains in question and how much of the two main cannabinoids it contains. Some of the marijuana strains contain a large amount of CBD yet very little THC.
Due to the high concentrations of CBD, some marijuana strains are perfect for producing CBD oil. This oil has proven to be beneficial for medical purposes and even for pets. Since CBD is non-psychoactive, the oil is recommended for patients who are suffering from different conditions who want to enjoy the medical benefits of the plant without getting high.
Marijuana which is high in THC, on the other hand, is mainly for recreational use, but some strains are also considered to be highly medically beneficial. Still, the general view of this matter is that THC strains are reserved for people who enjoy getting high, which is why THC-rich marijuana is not used in medicine as much CBD-rich marijuana.
Hemp, while it does come with a lot of benefits, CBD concentrations are not one of them. It is true that hemp is a part of the cannabis family, yet it contains only traces of CBD and if you were looking for the benefits of CBD, hemp cannot provide you with those. The low concentrations of the cannabinoids are not enough to experience any effects, hence why hemp is generally viewed as an industrial product which has wide uses.
However, hemp is also quite beneficial to the body.
Hemp via Growing Small Farms
Hemp contains a lot of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that we all know are good for our wellbeing. Its fiber, vitamin, and mineral concentration are making it a perfect supplement, but if you were confusing hemp oil for CBD oil now you know that the differences are quite big.
Hemp is mainly used in the industry due to the long and strong fibers that are used for making paper, clothes and even biofuel.
Hemp oil is really good for the skin due to its antioxidant properties. It can moisturize the skin without clogging the pores and it is suitable for all skin types. It can also regulate the natural oil production processes of the skin and treat and prevent acne.
So there is a long list of hemp benefits, yet CBD is not one of those things.
Marijuana Sativa vs Marijuana Indica
In order to explain even deeper the difference between hemp vs marijuana, let’s first set the sativa vs indica argument.
Sativa vs Indica via Ministry of Hemp
The indica plant has shorter and bushier looking leaves. It grows quicker compared to sativa and it provides larger yields.
Some of the benefits from marijuana from the indica family are mental relaxations, muscle and joint relaxation, reducing nausea, acute pain and increasing the dopamine levels in the brain. So it a happy plant, safe to say. Regular users who switch between indica and sativa are well-aware of the different effects it has on the body and mind. So if they want to sit back and enjoy while having a feeling of lightness, they know that indica will get the job done.
The indica is best for night time use due to its relaxation effects. So if you want to watch a film, indica is your go to place. Also, if you are having trouble sleeping or if you are exhausted and your body is feeling numb, strains from this family can make you feel much better.
Sativa, on the other hand, has a taller grow with thinner leaves. That is, taller than the indica. Sativa plants are different among each other, and as previously stated, hemp which is from the sativa family will grow taller than other sativa strains.
Sativa plants have different effects from the indica. While the indica mainly is used for relaxation, sativa has an uplifting and creativity boosting effect. Regular users choose to opt-in for sativa during the day time since they give a good energy boost and it opens the doors to new ideas especially if they are doing some creative activities.
But the main problem here in determining the differences is that the old rules don’t work anymore. Previously, it was believed that indicas are low in THC and high in CBD while sativas are the other way around However, considering that hemp is sativa and it is low in THC but high in CBD is a proof that the rule isn’t applicable.
Additionally, considering that a lot of strains are genetically modified, the differences between sativa and indica have decreased by far, so now it is possible to find birth sativas and indicas with different chemical compositions and cannabinoid concentrations.
Still, the effects of indica and sativa are what makes the core differences.
Bear in mind that hemp is a male plant while marijuana is female. This is one of the most important distinctions which is why they gain such different properties during their growth.
Uses of Hemp vs Marijuana
Hemp has more industrial use rather than only being used as cannabis. The industrial uses of hemp are pretty wide, anything from producing paper, biofuel, clothing oil etc. Lately, with the legalization of cannabis in a lot of countries and after a numerous studies proving the benefits of cannabis, the industry expanded and now hemp is one of the main ingredients for low THC and CBD products.
Hemp Leaves via Ministry of Hemp
Marijuana, on the other hand, apart for the laughs and getting high has also found its way into a lot of edibles. The high concentrations of THC are extracted from the marijuana plant and added to different edibles to the pleasure of a lot of consumers.
Still, the CBD oil that the world of wellness is going crazy about is indeed derived from marijuana. High CBD strains are chosen and the oil is extracted usually by cold pressing.
CBD oils of different concentrations exist on the market. Hemp oil, even though has proven to be beneficial does not contain a lot of CBD but rather only small traces.
CBD Oil from Hemp?
Yes, it is possible. Naturally, hemp contains only traces of both CBD and THC. However, given the benefits of hemp, it seemed like a good idea to make hemp oil with higher CBD concentrations.
CBD Hemp Oil via Eczane Group
To do so, breeders genetically modified hemp to get higher CBD percentage but also larger yields. So if you see hemp oil that contains CBD, you know how that happened.
Hemp vs marijuana is a popular topic of discussion but now you know the differences between the two cannabis plants. For a more visual explanation, check out the video below!