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Hemp and marijuana are two distinct varieties of the Cannabis plant. They differ in appearance, chemical makeup, and legal status. Hemp plants have high levels of CBD and low levels of THC and are primarily used for industrial purposes. Marijuana plants have high levels of THC and low levels of CBD and are grown for their psychoactive effects. 

Marijuana is the name given to the cannabis strains that are grown mainly for their psychoactive compounds and medicinal properties. These compounds are produced mainly in the flowers of the femal cannabis plant. 


What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

At first glance, one of the most notable differences between hemp and marijuana is their appearance. 

Hemp plants are tall and slender, with thin leaves and little to no flowers. They are typically grown for their strong fibres. Hemp fibres are used in various products, from textiles and paper to biofuel and construction materials. 

Marijuana plants are shorter and bushier, with broader leaves and more flowers. They are grown primarily for their psychoactive properties and are used for medicinal and recreational purposes.

While both hemp and marijuana have some medicinal properties, marijuana is more commonly used for this purpose due to its higher THC content.


THC versus CBD

Another key difference between hemp and marijuana is their chemical makeup. Both plants produce and contain a variety of compounds called cannabinoids, but they differ in the types and amounts of these compounds.

Hemp plants contain high levels of CBD (cannabidiol) and low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

Marijuana plants usually contain high levels of THC and low levels of CBD.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound with various medicinal properties, including pain relief and anti-anxiety effects. THC is the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana its “high.” 



Legally, Cannabis is not always Cannabis.

Even though both Hemp and Marijuana are, in principle, just two variations of the same plant, legally, there are very different. 


In the United States, hemp is classified as any Cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This means that hemp plants cannot produce a psychoactive effect and are generally used for industrial purposes. Marijuana, on the other hand, is classified as any Cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3% THC and is typically grown for its psychoactive effects. 


Hemp is legal on a federal level in the USA, but its production and use are heavily regulated. On the other hand, the possession, use, and sale of marijuana are still illegal, both federally and in most states. Even if more and more states are legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

In Canada, Hemp and Marijuana are both legal and regulated. 

In summary, Hemp and Marijuana are two varieties of the Cannabis plant that are often confused due to their similarities. Yet, they are very different when it comes to chemical makeup, typical use, and legal status. 

Hemp is low in THC (less than 0.3%) and high in CBD. It is mainly used for industrial purposes. Marijuana has a much higher THC content and is usually grown for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. 

Hemp is legal but regulated. Marijuana is still illegal in the USA on a federal level and in many states. 

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