What Is Hemp & How Is It Different From Marijuana?

Our Hemp Farm In ColoradoThe question I get most often from customers is “what is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?” Cannabis, hemp, CBD and marijuana- what really is the relationship between them and how do they differ?  

If you’ve asked yourself this question, you are not in the minority. Cannabis enthusiasts have been asking this question for decades. Many wonder whether it has to do with plant’s sex, the THC content or, the height and appearance of the plant. Let’s dive into this discussion by asking some questions. 

Are Marijuana and Hemp the same plant? 

Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same genus, Cannabis; and the same species, Cannabis sativa. Historically, hemp is mainly cultivated for industrial usage and for its seeds. Marijuana is a cultivar grown mainly for active cannabinoids in its flower buds. With the rise in demand in recent years for CBD oil, farmers are now cultivating hemp especially for CBD extraction. When buying CBD oil, look for CBD from hemp cultivated specifically for CBD and not as a by-product of other industrial usage.

Our hemp is grown on two organic farms in Colorado using regenerative agricultural practices. Above, is a picture from one of the farms we use! The conscious consumers are increasingly seeking out ROC (Regenerative Organic Certification) products in addition to USDA organic as it reverses climate change. “Regenerative Agriculture” describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.” (Regeneration International) Next month, I will post in detail about the family owned farms we are working with and our effort to reduce carbon footprint as a business. 

How does Hemp differ from Marijuana? 

The true distinction between hemp and marijuana comes from the concentration of THC content. In the US and Canada, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with THC levels of under 0.3%. Further, hemp is easier to grow, with skinny leaves, thick stems and fewer branches. Marijuana is more sensitive and needs more TLC, with stalky stems and lots of branches and smaller leaves. 

Where does CBD come from? 

CBD, or cannabidiol can come from both hemp and marijuana. CBD is one of the hundreds of phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plant. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidinol, is perhaps the more famous cannabinoid. Although most CBD oils on the market are extracted from hemp, some CBD oils do come from strains of marijuana that are cultivated for high CBD and low THC; but those are almost always sold in dispensaries and a medical card is required at purchase in states that do not allow recreational use of marijuana. Most marijuana strains contain 15-30% THC and 1-3% CBD. While most strains of hemp contain 12-18% CBD on average and less than 0.3% THC.

What is the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil? 

Hemp oil is cold pressed from the seeds, while CBD oil, or any cannabinoid oil, is extracted from the flowers. Although hemp oil doesn’t contain any CBD, it is still a wonderful oil to add to your pantry. With it’s golden 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, it is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. For this reason, our CBD oil is formulated with a healthy dose of organic hemp oil and olive oil.

I hope this explains the difference between hemp and marijuana.  Please ask any questions in the comment section or in our Facebook group.

Love and light, 

Mimi May


This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.


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