Cannabis 101: The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

Federal law in the United States makes it unlawful to use or possess marijuana. But an increasing number of states have legalized it recently for either medical or recreational uses.


The modification in the law has been influenced by the sharp rise in public support for legalization, which Americans support.


Also, there is a sharp rise in the CBD or hemp industry which makes people think if there's any difference between marijuana and hemp. Let's look further at the basics of cannabis to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana.


Genetics and Plant Types


Hemp and marijuana came from the same plant species, Cannabis. Their primary difference is the level of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical responsible for their psychoactive effects. The cannabis plant has many sub-species. And the three primary species are Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.


These three have different uses. Sativa strains are highly suited for the recreational market because they frequently cause euphoria, boost energy, and have other benefits.


The Indica strain is known to have a general body impact that soothes muscles, lessens pain, and promotes restful sleep. It is better for medicinal use due to those qualities.


Ruderalis strains grow slowly and have lower yields. But they also contain less THC and more fibrous stems. They are, therefore, ideally suited for the manufacture of textiles or apparel.


The cannabis plant is considered marijuana or hemp based on its THC content. Generally, if the THC content of the cannabis plant is 0.3% or less, it's considered hemp. Marijuana usually has 5-20% of THC.


Hemp vs Marijuana: Which is Legal? Which is Not?


Historically, the use of cannabis for industry, medicine, and recreation is widely recognized before the restriction from the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed, making all cannabis plants and products illegal.


As a result, no more cannabis was grown for personal or commercial purposes.


Then the Farm Bill and the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 came along, legalizing hemp farming and its products in 50 states. This is what essentially launched the CBD Oil market. It specified hemp as being legal if it had less than 0.3% THC.


Can You Try These Products?


All varieties of the cannabis plant, including marijuana and hemp, contain CBD. To be legal under federal law, CBD for Oils and other CBD products needs to be THC-free or contain only 0.3% THC. These same rules apply to pure hemp CBD products that can be smoked, such as hemp flower or hemp pre-rolls.


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