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Hemp is the latest topic of discussion in the therapeutic world. Marijuana already was. Both hemp and marijuana plants are members of the cannabis species. What could be making them different? Why aren’t they treated the same way by the law? Let us find out in this article.

What Is Hemp?

Industrial hemp has been used since hundreds of years for making ropes, sails and textiles. Using it for making therapeutically beneficial CBD products is the latest application hemp. The plant belongs to the Cannabis sativa species and is primarily used for CBD extraction although it contains other cannabinoids too.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabis compound known for causing a high in the users. Hemp has minimal levels of THC while having a fairly high concentration of CBD. Other cannabinoids present in hemp include CBG, CBN, CBDA, THCA, etc.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a cannabis plant that is known for the high levels of THC in it. The plants contain about 30% THC, indicating that they are highly potent. The plant has been used in ancient medicines since several thousand years ago.

Marijuana comes in different forms including indica and sativa varieties that produce different effects.  The intensity of the effects of marijuana depends on whether it is sativa-dominant or indica-dominant. Hemp is always sativa but marijuana is different. It can be cross bred to form a mixture of sativa and indica.

What Are The Differences Between Hemp And Marijuana?

Let us find out the fundamental differences between hemp and marijuana.


As both hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis species, they will contain various cannabinoids. However, the individual percentages of these cannabinoids will be different in the plants.

Hemp contains minimal levels of THC while marijuana has about 5-20% THC on average. The THC percentage of some strains may reach over 30%, making them really potent. Hemp is known for its high CBD content. Marijuana plants may have less than 1% THC. The minimal THC content of hemp ensures that the users will not get high on using hemp CBD products.


Although both are plants of the same species, the cultivation methods of hemp and marijuana are entirely different from each other. Marijuana farmers have to cautiously monitor the temperature and humidity at every growing stage of the crop to ensure its yield. The plants are usually grown in separate parts or grown far from one another to have better control over the nutrient intake.

However, hemp cultivation is simple. There is no issue associated with growing plants close to each other in almost all conditions. Hemp is more of a wild plant and does not require much care. Farmers do not need to use much chemical fertilizers for growing hemp. This is the reason for the popularity of organic hemp farming.


Hemp and marijuana are treated much differently by the law. This distinction came into effect in 2018 after the US Farm Bill was passed. Prior to the bill, both hemp and marijuana CBD belonged to the list of Federally Controlled Drug Substances.

However, the US Farm Bill legalized the production, sale and possession of hemp-derived CBD products, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC. Marijuana is still treated as a controlled substance in the US because it contains THC.


The usage of marijuana has various limitations due to the restrictions that are imposed on it by the law. Users smoke marijuana to get high or use it in medications for therapeutic benefits. The freedom to do these things depends on the marijuana law of the state that you are in.

Hemp has a wide variety of uses. CBD as well as other hemp cannabinoids are obtained from its flowers. Industrial hemp has been widely used before many years. The fiber of industrial hemp was used to make textiles, ropes and sails (of ships). The seeds of hemp have high nutritional value.

If extracting CBD is what you are aiming for, you can use marijuana or hemp.

Difference Between Hemp-Derived And Marijuana –Derived CBD?

CBD is present in both hemp and marijuana. However, hemp has much higher quantities of CBD when compared to marijuana. In the process of extracting CBD, other important cannabinoids are also pulled out from the plants.

Manufacturers ensure that hemp-derived CBD has less than 0.3% THC so that its manufacture and sale becomes easy. Marijuana-derived CBD contains greater than 0.3% THC and hence its manufacture and sale are governed by the marijuana laws in the specific US state. The approach of states on marijuana and marijuana-derived products may be different from one another.

When hemp and marijuana farms are close to each other, there is an increased risk of cross-contamination that has an adverse impact on the THC content in marijuana and CBD content of hemp. Hence it is important to ensure that there is an appropriate separation between the farms.


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