Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

You’re shopping for new skincare products to spice up your self-care routine. You come across a facial cream labeled “hemp-infused.” You ask yourself, isn’t that the same thing as marijuana?

We’re glad you asked. It’s a common misconception. In short, they’re not the same; they’re two different plants.

Keep reading to learn the difference between hemp vs marijuana, and the legal differences between the two. In this post, we’ll clear up the confusion once and for all!

What Is Hemp?

Hemp looks very much like what you would expect marijuana to look like. That is because the hemp plant belongs to the Cannabis sativa species, the same of which marijuana hails.

Hemp has long been recognized for its many industrial uses, as well as its medicinal uses in more recent years.

In the past, hemp producers learned to make rope, textile, clothing, and other commercial products from hemp fibers. This was especially handy during World War II when the United States government encouraged American farmers to grow hemp for war supplies. The government even put out a film titled, Hemp for Victory.

In more recent years, hemp extractions–particularly CBD, a well-known compound found in cannabis that is often associated with the healing benefits of cannabis–have become quite popular for natural healing remedies.

Despite the long history of the plant’s contributions to multiple key industries, the federal government had associated hemp with marijuana (as they come from the same species) and only recently legalized hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill.

This bill defined hemp as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3 percent THC in dry weight. If you didn’t already know, THC (or Delta 9) is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants responsible for that stoned or high feeling users get.

What Is Marijuana?

Hemp refers to cannabis plants that contain less than the legal limit of 0.3 percent THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis plants that contain anything over that amount of THC.

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, if a cannabis plant has 0.4 percent THC, it is legally considered marijuana, and therefore illegal.

Yes, marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. However, states have their own laws and regulations on marijuana (medical and recreational) and marijuana products.

The Differences Between Hemp vs Marijuana

Both hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species. They are inevitably going to resemble each other. However, one of the main distinctions between these two plants is the THC content found within the plant.

Hemp contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. Anything more than that makes it marijuana under federal law. Hemp’s low THC content also means users won’t get high from using hemp. Smoking marijuana with higher levels of THC will get you high.

Beyond numbers though, if you take a look at the physical characteristics between hemp vs marijuana through a custom Smokus Focus jar, you’ll notice that hemp leaves are taller and more narrow than the short and stubby marijuana leaves.

Learn More About Hemp and Marijuana

We hope this article has helped you to clarify the differences between hemp vs marijuana. If you’re interested in learning more about these two plants, we recommend digging into CBD and THC, terpenes and cannabinoids, as well as the history of both hemp and marijuana throughout American history. It’s quite rich if you ask us.

For the latest news and trends in the cannabis industry, including new hemp products, check out our blog for more!


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