In recent years, CBD has entered the mainstream. You may have even have seen it on the racks of your local supermarket or office of your chiropractors. Recently, Hemp has become a hot topic, with legal debate in virtually every area. There are great questions about the legal position of the hemp plant because of it’s relation to marijuana. But what is it exactly and how does it differ from marijuana? Let’s discuss!

What is Hemp?

There’s a chance that you may have heard someone say hemp and marijuana are the same thing, but this is not necessarily true. yes, they do fall under the same plant family, but they are not the same. Both marijuana and hemp come from the cannabis plant, but the main difference between the two is the levels of THC. Unlike marijuana, it has extremely low levels of THC. THC is the main ingredient that causes the usual euphoric experiences a person has when smoking or taking marijuana. However, as we mentioned, the levels of THC in marijuana are far higher than the ones in hemp. The levels of THC in hemp are virtually unnoticeable, making it impossible for a person to get high off hemp products. So what is hemp used for then?

Hemp was originally used for industrial purposes. The stalks have been used for clothing, furniture, jewelry, and housing materials in the past and present. People have even started to use hemp in cosmetic products like makeup, lotions, soaps, shampoos, and oils (CBD oil). So if this plant can be used for production purposes, why do people have such a negative view towards it?

In the early 1920s, Mexican immigrants started to bring hemp and marijuana over to the U.S. and the anti-mexican sentiment started to seep into American culture and brought out negative connotations to the plant. In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act was passed and virtually banned marijuana and anything that was related to it. This is where the confusion between hemp and marijuana started. Now, let’s talk about marijuana and how it differs from hemp.

What is Marijuana?

While hemp is a cannabis plant that has small THC levels, marijuana is one that produces much more THC. In reality, marijuana plants can contain up to 30% THC, which makes it very strong.

Marijuana, perhaps for decades, has been used as a medicine. The high levels of THC make cannabis powerful with euphoric and calming effects that can be intoxicating. Hemp has virtually no effects on a person, but marijuana can have a significant effect on a person.

More differences

The differences don’t just stop at THC levels and practical use. The chemical make-up, method of developing, adaptability, and appearance are all different from each other.

Physical Form

Marijuana is physically different from hemp. Marijuana is a leaf that is taken from the cannabis plant. There’s no doubt you’ve seen the infamous leaf on flags and t-shirts. When you glance at hemp, it has skinnier leaves which are grouped at the top of the cannabis plant.

Underneath the top of the plant are few branches and leaves. Marijuana is like a short fat bush when you look at the plants from afar. Hemp is typically skinnier and bigger (up to 20 ft), especially hemp grown for fibers or seeds.

Chemical Components of Weed and Hemp

The primary difference between these two plants is their molecular nature, mainly their THC levels. THC is the chemical that activates the psychological side-effects in the cannabis plants. The typical amount of marijuana contains THC levels of 5-20%. Stronger strains of marijuana can have THC levels between 25 and 30%. Hemp, on the other side, has a nominal THC content of 0.3%, rendering it “normal” and has no psychoactive effects.

Culture of Planting 

Often there are strikingly different ways of producing hemp and marijuana. Hemp is rising closely together in large multi-acre plots (about 4 inches apart). It is also able to grow in diverse habitats and has a 108-120 day growth cycle.

Numerous hemp varieties can be grown with fiber, seed or CBD material. In relation to cannabis, marijuana needs an atmosphere of complexity and warmth for good growth. It is only 60-90 days in its growth cycle. It is also impossible to develop medical cannabis next to recreational cannabis. They usually reach a maximum of 6 feet.

Hemp and marijuana cannot be produced together: hemp pollen will eventually kill marijuana crops and dilute their psychoactivity if marijuana grows in (or near) hemp. 

The legality of both substance

Hemp and weed were illegal at one point. As these plants are related, hemp has been forbidden since marijuana was restricted by the government. This is quite a tragedy since hemp can be used for a great many things and does not have the same effects that marijuana can have on a person.  

Throughout most of the states, marijuana is still illegal. A total of 11 states have legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes and a total of 31 states have legalized it for medicinal purposes. Nonetheless, the federal government continues to control the cannabis plant.

As for hemp, it has recently lost its illegal status. The Farm 2018 legislation excluded hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and made it possible for people to easily buy hemp for the first time in decades.

Weed and Hemp final reflections

Although hemp and marijuana are both under the same cannabis family, they are quite different in many ways. It’s easy to confuse the two of them, especially when they’re on their own. But now, we know exactly how different these two plant products are. Hemp is an extremely important plant for agricultural and industrial use and it should not be confused with the psychoactive substance, marijuana. it’s important to know the differences between the two, especially since we as a society have grouped the two together for decades.

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