What are the Differences between Hemp, Marijuana, and Cannabis?

Posted on September 24 2020

With so much information available online about hemp, marijuiana, cannabis, and CBD, there can often be confusion when it comes to various names and terminology. One of the most common consumer questions relates to the differences between hemp, cannabis, and marijuana - and how CBD products are connected to each.

Let’s explore the similarities and differences between hemp-based and marijuana-based products and how they all relate to the cannabis plant.

Hemp and Marijuana: Family Ties to Cannabis

Let’s get specific. Under the scientific classification and definition of cannabis, hemp and marijuana are both parts of the Cannabaceae family. Furthermore, they are both classified as Cannabis sativa L. which means both hemp and marijuana are considered to be cannabis. Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis, their chemical makeup and usages are very different.

Many countries differentiate hemp vs. marijuana by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) amounts found in the plant. THC has the ability to cause the euphoric effects often associated with recreational and medicinal marijuana. The United States legally categorizes the term hemp to describe cannabis plants that contain less than .3% THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant. The United States legally categorizes cannabis plants with more than .3% THC to be marijuana.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Now that we know hemp and marijuana are both derived from the cannabis plant, let’s discuss what sets them apart from one another. Hemp is unlikely to provide the euphoric or “high” effects that marijuana does. The levels of THC produced by the plant are what differentiates hemp from marijuana.

  • THC > .3% = Marijuana
  • THC < .3% = Hemp

Legality of Hemp and Marijuana

Laws surrounding cultivation, production, and distribution of hemp and marijuana products are constantly changing. Here are just some of the notable legislative changes, charting the hemp history timeline of progress toward legalization in the United States:

  • The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act criminalized hemp, marijuana, and cannabis.
  • The 2014 Farm Bill allowed universities and departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp if it is used for research.
  • The 2018 Farm Bill allows hemp cultivation and is no longer limited to state departments and universities.
  • As of 2020, 39 states have legalized hemp cultivation programs to explore the differences between hemp and marijuana in order to meet licensing requirements.

Are Hemp and Marijuana Used the Same Way?

When it comes to uses, there are many differences between hemp and marijuana. Hemp seeds can be extracted and are used in many cultures for their nutritional benefits for both humans and animals. Hemp fibers can be used for creating canvas, paper, textiles, and even rope. Hemp flowers are used in the production of CBD oils. The CBD oil extracted from hemp can be used for a variety of effects, such as supporting a healthy night’s sleep or a positive mood. Alternatively, marijuana is most commonly used for its euphoric properties.

To learn more about CBD products that can help relieve occasional, everyday stress, check out our new Calm Stress Support Capsules.