Hemp vs. Marijuana. The Difference Explained

The question I get most often from customers is, “What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?”

Marijuana, hemp, cannabis, weed, THC, CBD, hybrids, sativas, indicas… it’s very easy to become confused by the vast lexicon associated with the cannabis sativa plant.

Two terms that get mixed up most easily are hemp and marijuana. If you’ve asked yourself this question, you are not alone. It’s confusing! And there’s a lot of bad information out there.

Let’s dive into this discussion by asking some basic questions.

1.   What’s the difference between hemp plants and marijuana plants?

2.   Are cannabis plant female while hemp plants are male?

3.   What are the differences in cannabinoid content?

4.   What are the differences between sativas and indicas?

5. What is cannabis ruderalis?

6.   Where does CBD come from?

7.   Will hemp CBD show up on a drug test?

8.   What is the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?

9.   What are the legal distinctions?

What’s the difference between hemp plants and marijuana plants?

Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same and the same species: Cannabis Sativa. Historically, hemp was cultivated mainly for industrial purposes (industrial hemp) and its seeds, stalks, and stems were used to make things like rope, clothing, and other textiles. However, the plant offers much more! Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and wonderful for heart health. Industrial hemp stalk and stems can be pressed into sustainable building materials.

The CBD in our products is made from hemp grown in Colorado using all-natural regenerative agricultural practices. The picture above is from a farm we use! Conscious consumers are increasingly seeking ROC (Regenerative Organic Certification) products as it helps to reverse climate change. “Regenerative Agriculture” describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, rebuild organic matter and restore degraded soil biodiversity–resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.

Marijuana is a cultivar of Cannabis Sativa, grown mainly for its cannabinoid content, especially the psychoactive molecule THC. The U.S. government deemed the use and possession of marijuana illegal through the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. However, policies for recreational and medicinal use vary from state to state. Medical use of marijuana is legal with a doctor’s recommendation in 36 states, 4 out of 5 permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

Are cannabis plants female while hemp plants are male?

This is a common misconception. Hemp can be both female and male, as can marijuana. However, both hemp flower and marijuana flower (bud) that we are familiar with occur only in female plants.

What are the differences in cannabinoid content?

One of the key differences between hemp and marijuana is the amount of THC in the plant. The 2018 Farm Bill codified the distinction between hemp and marijuana by the percentage of THC in the plant. In the U.S. and Canada, the legal definition of hemp is any cannabis plants with THC levels below 0.3 percent THC. All varieties with more THC are designated as a Schedule I narcotic and classified as marijuana.

But those are not he only cannabinoids found in these plants. There are over 160 cannabinoids in both the hemp and marijuana. THC and CBD are the principal topics of current conversation, with CBG and CBA slowly coming onto consumers’ radars. THC produces euphoric highs, while CBD does not. All cannabinoids effect the body by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system, which I talk about extensively here.

What are the differences between cannabis sativa and cannabis indica?

Cultivators generally split varieties of cannabis plants into two categories, with thousands of strains in each. The key difference is the way the plant makes you feel –

·      Sativa plants tend to be invigorating. They have tall, thin leaves, grow best in humid climates, and have a slow grow cycle.

·      Indica plants are more sedative. They have short, fat leaves, grow best in mild climates, and have a fast grow cycle.

What is cannabis ruderalis?

We can’t have different plants without mentioning this low THC subspecies of cannabis. Personally I think this could be the best house plant variety as more states allow home growing. The plant itself is smaller than other species of Cannabis and have thin, slightly fibrous stems with little branching. Foliage is typically open with large leaves and mature much quicker than other species of cannabis, typically around 5 weeks. What’s most attractive about this plant is that it’s consider “auto-flowering”, meaning it produces flowers after maturity, rather than depending on light cycles like sativa or indica strains of cannabis. Its chemical composition is different from other species. It has less THC and high CBD content.

Marijuana can be sativa, indica or a mixture of the two (hybrid). Hemp is typically classified as sativa.

Where does CBD come from?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is produced by both hemp and marijuana. Most CBD extracts on the market come from hemp. Some CBD oil are made from marijuana strains, but those are considered “cannabis oil” and a Medical Marijuana Card is required to purchases it in non-recreational states. Most marijuana strains contain 5-25% THC and 1-3% CBD. Most strains of hemp contain 12-18% CBD and less than 0.3% THC.

Will hemp CBD show up on a drug test?

Last month I wrote an interesting blog about How long does CBD stay in your system. It discusses whether you can fail a drug test if you take CBD. It’s understandable if you are worried about how long CBD products are detectable by a blood or urine test. Many places of employment now require random drug screenings for their employees. Will CBD show up on one of these drug tests? What about the trace amount of THC in hemp-derived CBD oil—will that show marijuana use?

If you are taking Broad Spectrum CBD Oil, it is unlikely that you will fail a drug test. But make sure the company you are buying CBD products from tests their products. You can see from this test result that our hemp extract contains ZERO THC (THC is what has the psychoactive effects).

Hemp extract CBD can be a wonderful supplement to your daily regimen. If you think a drug test may be in your future, err on the side of caution and stick with broad-spectrum products or isolates. CBD can stay in your system up to two weeks after you stop taking it. If this is your first time taking CBD, start with a smaller dosage than recommended and see how you feel. If that amount doesn’t help your condition, slowly increase the dose in small increments until you find the amount that works best for you. Everyone reacts differently.

What is the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?

The biggest difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is how they’re made. Hemp oil is cold pressed from seeds, while CBD 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 its 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, hemp oil can work wonders. To bring those same benefits to CBD oil, we always add a healthy dose of organic hemp oil and olive oil to our CBD oil.

What are the legal distinctions?

Perhaps the biggest difference between hemp and marijuana is how they are treated by the united states federal government. The use of marijuana is illegal on the federal level, yet 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing for recreational cannabis use and 36 states have legalized medicinal marijuana. Almost all states have decriminalized its use.

Unlike marijuana, hemp is legal under federal law to purchase or ship within or between states. The 2018 Farm Bill grants authority to each state to write code and regulate the cultivation and production of hemp products.

Marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes under a licensed physician in these 36 states:

1.   Alabama

2.   Alaska

3.   Arizona

4.   Arkansas

5.   California

6.   Colorado

7.   Connecticut

8.   Delaware

9.   Florida

10. Hawaii

11. Illinois

12. Louisiana

13. Maine

14. Maryland

15. Massachusetts

16. Michigan

17. Minnesota

18. Missouri

19. Montana

20. Nevada

21. New Hampshire

22. New Jersey

23. New Mexico

24. New York

25. North Dakota

26. Ohio

27. Oklahoma

28. Oregon

29. Pennsylvania

30. Rhode Island

31. South Dakota

32. Utah

33. Vermont

34. Virginia

35. Washington

36. West Virginia

Marijuana use for recreational purposes is legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia (recreational marijuana):

1.   Alaska

2.   Arizona

3.   California

4.   Colorado

5.   Connecticut

6.   Illinois

7.   Maine

8.   Massachusetts

9.   Michigan

10. Montana

11. Nevada

12. New Jersey

13. New Mexico

14. New York

15. Oregon

16. Vermont

17. Virginia

18. Washington

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

Warning: above statements have not been evaluated by the US food and Drug Administration. It is not a supplemental dietary product. If you have serious medical condition or use prescription medications, please follow your doctor’s advice before using any products with CBD. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Please visit our website for Privacy Policy.

Mimi May