Hemp vs. Marijuana

With a continued rise in the popularity of CBD products, there is often confusion relating the different forms of cannabis and somewhat blurring of the lines between what’s legal and what’s not.

Hemp and marijuana are often put together in the same category by unknowing people, and whilst they are both types of cannabis plants, they look different, are used for different things, and have very different effects on the body. 

Hemp vs Marijuana - what is the difference? We’re here to lay out the facts of both so you know exactly what is you’re looking for when it comes to buying hemp or any other products created from the cannabis plant. 

What is hemp? 

Hemp is from the species of plant Cannabis sativa, and this particular strain of the plant will always contain less than 0.3% of THC. THC, shortened for tetrahydrocannabinoil, is the psychoactive compound in the cannabis sativa plant. 

What is marijuana? 

Marijuana is any strain that contains more than 0.3% of THC by dried weight. Marijuana is often thought of as ‘weed’, basically, any cannabis that will get you high. 

The THC levels in cannabis plants is different from plant to plant, with certain strains being bred to have higher levels of THC. 

Cannabis plants mainly fall into three catergories, Sativa, Indica or Ruderalis.  

What is hemp used for? 

You might be surprised to learn that historically industrial hemp has been used for things like shoes, clothing, carpets, rope and paper. 

There are specially grown varieties of hemp that have been cultivated with low THC levels and high CBD levels in order to be used in the wellness industry and make a number of different CBD products. 

What is marijuana used for? 

This depends entirely on the setting it’s used in, recreational users of marijuana use it to gain the high that is so often associated with cannabis. Thanks the high levels of THC it’s relatively easy to gain the europhic feeling. And while it is used recreationally, it is also used medicinally too. In these cases it is often used for things like pain, epilepsy and glaucoma. 

What does hemp look like? 

When you look at hemp and marijuana on first glance you’d think that it could be the same plant, however on closer inspection you’ll notice that there are some differences. 

Hemp plants at slim and tall, and the leaves follow that same pattern with a slimmer look compared to marijuana leaves. The hemp plant colour varies too, with some in a light green shade, whilst others can have a grey tinge to them. 

Hemp plants tend to have a concentrated amount of leaves at the top, with sparse branches near the bottom. What’s more they can grow to be up to 20 feet tall. 

What does marijuana look like? 

Marijuana plants look different to hemp as they tend to be short and bushy with a dense amount of leaves all over. The leaves themselves also have a broad body. 

Hemp CBD and Marijuana CBD 

CBD, full name Cannabidiol, is found in both marijuana and hemp. However, it’s easier to extract CBD from the hemp plant. 

It is possible to make tinctures and oils from either plant, and the important thing to note when you’re looking at purchasing these products is that mostly CBD products are made from hemp, whilst one made from marijuana will be labelled as cannabis oil/tincture. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll find any of these products available to buy legally, as anything over the government’s guidelines of 0.3% of THC is not deemed a legal product in the UK.  

Hemp vs. Marijuana - Final thoughts 

Whilst hemp and marijuana may both come from cannabis plants, there’s little else that connects them. Though they may look the same, which is probably why there is so much confusion between the two, they work in very different ways. Know the difference is vital when you’re considering buying CBD products, ensuring that you get the right item for you and your needs. 

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