Difference between Hemp, marijuana, and Cannabis

Difference between Hemp, marijuana, and Cannabis


Cannabis, Hemp, and marijuana are all terms for plants in the Cannabaceae family, but there are differences between them – some botanical, some cultural. The following is a breakdown of the basics: the difference between Hemp, Cannabis, and marijuana.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a specific variety of Cannabis. It is scientifically known as Cannabis sativa. Although both Hemp and Cannabis belong to the same family, they have different characteristics and chemistry.

An endocannabinoid called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has a lower presence in Hemp. THC is the endocannabinoid responsible for generating the “high” or the “stoned” feeling in people who smoke marijuana. Hemp is grown mainly for medicinal purposes, and hence, the low levels of THC are preferred. However, Hemp contains high levels of CBD (cannabidiol) that is a non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid.

Is Hemp illegal?  

In many parts around the world, THC’s level is usually a defining element between the characteristics of Hemp and marijuana. Cannabis sativa contains 0.3% of THC or less. Plants that have more than the permitted amount of 0.3% THC limit are considered marijuana and are federally illegal in the United States.

What is Hemp used for?  

Hemp is one of the most versatile plants in the world. The various parts of the plant are used for different and adverse purposes. For instance, the hemp plant’s stalk can be used for the manufacture of environment-friendly textiles or the development of biofuels. The seeds of the plant are generally consumed directly by people or made into hemp seed oil. The flowers have some intrinsic value too. They can be used to extract CBD, which can then be used in various products and medicinal purposes. Beverage infusions and skincare products are often made with CBD, apart from pharmaceutical medications and topical creams.

How does marijuana come into the picture?  

Marijuana is closely related to Hemp. Marijuana consists primarily of Cannabis sativa plants. However, the main difference between Hemp and marijuana is the level of endocannabinoids found in them. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the intoxicating or psychoactive part of Cannabis. THC levels are regulated by governments of most countries who have legalized the uses of CBD. The level of THC and CBD in cannabis strains are the main difference between hemp and marijuana weed.

The permitted levels of THC in the United States are 0.3 percent. The cannabis plant strains which contain more than 0.3 percent of THC are characterized as marijuana weed, and the others, which do not have THC, more than 0.3 percent, are characterized as Hemp. However, many states in the United States have now rejected the prohibition on marijuana and have incorporated active programs for cultivating and dispensing marijuana for adult use. Marijuana is often used recreationally due to its psychoactive and intoxicating effects on the mind. It is also sold in various ways, the most common products being the dried and cured flower of the plant. Like Hemp, marijuana is often subject to extraction to create concentrated extracts of various endocannabinoids that can be sold separately. These plant strains can be used in the form of topical creams, edibles, or smoked directly.

In the contemporary world, Cannabis and marijuana can often be used interchangeably even though they confuse. Cannabis technically refers to the entire genus of flowering plants and, hence, includes Hemp and marijuana in its definition.

What is the difference between Hemp and marijuana? 


The prime difference between Hemp and marijuana’s plant is in their constituents. If a Cannabis sativa strain contains more THC presence than the legal amount, that strain is referred to as marijuana. Simply enough, if this strain has a legally permitted amount of THC content in it, it is referred to as Hemp. Hence, Hemp does not make you high. And that is also the reason why Hemp is used for medicinal purposes all around the world. Due to low psychoactive components, the usage of Hemp is preferred in the pharmaceutical industry. An endocannabinoid, CBD, or cannabidiol, is present in Hemp’s high quantities, which impart the latter values that make it one of the best medications for anxiety, stress, and depression.

Most people have been aware of this difference since it is often used as a basis for describing the diffrent strains of marijuana. It is also noteworthy that the marijuana that was more energetic and uplifting was known as Cannabis sativa. The Cannabis that was more relaxing and calming was known as Cannabis indica. These two varieties also differ in their appearance.

Then what is Cannabis?  

In this context, the word cannabis is a taxonomic term that refers to a genus of flowering plants. These plants are all members of the family Cannabaceae, which includes more than 150 plant species. Historians do not clearly understand the origin of the cannabis genus due to a lack of substantial fossil evidence. This lack of substantive evidence has made it difficult for botanists and other scientists to place their evolutionary divergence from other organisms accurately.


This categorization is widely used in the world today. It is not only useful in the medicinal and pharma sectors but also makes the difference between the legal and illegal usage of marijuana in several countries, including the United States. Scientists predict that we are likely to witness plant breeders coming up with high-resin strains of marijuana that are better than anything we’ve ever seen over the coming years. Keeping in mind the wide usage and benefits of CBD and other marijuana products, this sure is good news for many of us.

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