Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

When most people think of cannabis, they think of marijuana. But there is another type of cannabis plant that is growing in popularity: hemp. Let’s take a dive into hemp vs. marijuana. What’s the difference between the two? And which one should you be using? Here’s a breakdown of the differences between hemp and marijuana, as well as the benefits of each.

What is Hemp and What is Marijuana?

Industrial hemp flowerHemp and marijuana are two different types of cannabis plants. Both hemp and marijuana come from the Cannabis sativa plant, but they are different strains. Hemp has a higher concentration of CBD, or cannabidiol, while marijuana has a higher concentration of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use. CBD does not produce a high.

Hemp can be used to make a variety of products, including clothing, paper, rope, and even biofuel. Marijuana is most commonly used for recreation or
medical purposes. In some states, it is legal to use marijuana for medicinal purposes with a doctor’s prescription. In recreational states, anyone over the age of 21 can purchase and use marijuana legally.

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest-growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. Hemp production was historically banned in the United States under federal law; however, the passage of the 2018 farm bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, making it legal to grow hemp nationwide under state-specific regulations. 

The global hemp market was valued at $4.6 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $26.6 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 34%. The increasing demand for hemp-derived products such as CBD oil, hemp seed oil, and hemp fibers is driving the growth of the hemp market.

Hemp and marijuana are both illegal at the federal level in the United States. However, some states have legalized hemp cultivation and/or marijuana use. The legalization of hemp and marijuana is a controversial topic in the United States.

 How are Hemp and Marijuana Used?

Both hemp and marijuana are two varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. However, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive
compound that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use. As a result, hemp cannot be used for recreational purposes. Instead, hemp is primarily used for industrial applications, such as the production of paper, cloth, and rope. In recent years, hemp has also been used to create a variety of food and beauty products. Marijuana, on the other hand, is grown for both medical and recreational purposes. The buds of the marijuana plant are rich in THC and can be smoked, vaporized, or used to make edibles. Marijuana is also commonly used for medicinal purposes, as it has been shown to alleviate pain and nausea. Hemp and marijuana are both versatile plants with a wide range of uses. However, it is important to note that they are not interchangeable.

What are the Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Industrial Hemp CuttingsAlthough hemp and marijuana are often lumped together as one and the same, there are actually a number of important differences between these two plants. For instance, hemp plants contain 0.3% or less of the psychoactive compound THC, while marijuana plants contain up to 30% THC. hemp is also taller and thinner than marijuana, with long, thin leaves. In contrast, marijuana plants are shorter and bushier, with wide, flat leaves. Hemp is grown for its fiber, seeds, and oil. While marijuana, on the other hand, is typically grown for its psychoactive effects. Both hemp and marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes; however, marijuana is more likely to be used for recreational purposes. These differences have led to a sharp divide between the cannabis industry and the hemp industry. While both groups advocate for the legalization of their respective products, they have very different agendas.

What are the Benefits of Hemp Compared to Marijuana?

Unlike marijuana, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that produces the “high” associated with cannabis. However, hemp contains high levels of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound that has numerous medical benefits. CBD has been shown to help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mental health. It can also be used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including epilepsy, anxiety, and cancer. In addition to its medical benefits, hemp is also an environmentally friendly crop that requires minimal water and pesticides to grow. THC is also known for its medical benefits. It can be used to treat nausea, vomiting, and pain caused by cancer and chemotherapy. THC can also improve appetite and help with weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS. 

Currently, marijuana is legal for medical use in 37 states and Washington D.C., while hemp is legal in all 50 states.  Consequently, hemp offers a number of benefits over marijuana both for users and for the environment.

Is Hemp a Viable Replacement for Marijuana?

CBD Hemp Flower Comparison ReviewsIndustrial hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, but they are used for different purposes. Marijuana is grown for its psychoactive properties, while hemp is grown for its fiber and seeds. Hemp is used for a wide range of products including biodegradable plastics and rope, but also CBD. In contrast, marijuana is typically smoked or eaten for its psychoactive effects. While hemp and marijuana look and smell similar, they contain different levels of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana contains 5-35% THC. This difference is what makes hemp a viable replacement for marijuana in many industrial applications.


Hemp and marijuana are two varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. They differ in their THC content, with hemp containing less than 0.3% THC and marijuana containing up to 30% THC. Hemp is used for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes. Marijuana is most commonly used for recreational or medicinal purposes. Both hemp and marijuana have been found to have potential health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and pain relief. However, because of its high THC content, marijuana can also cause psychoactive effects. Hemp does not have these effects since it contains very little THC. Therefore, hemp may be a better option for those looking for the potential health benefits of Cannabis sativa without the psychoactive effects of marijuana. If you are interested in buying hemp, check out our top 10 flowers page

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