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Difference between Cannabis and Hemp

There is a lot of confusion today about the difference between Cannabis and Hemp. In this article, we demystify the cannabis plant. We look at what makes hemp and Cannabis plant different, what makes them similar, and how they compare in terms of chemical composition, uses, and legal classifications.

About Cannabises family:

All cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana, are members of the Cannabises family. Within the Cannabises family, there are three main species of cannabis.

Cannabis Sativa (most extensive species of cannabis having some high in THC like marijuana, others very low in THC, like hemp).

Cannabis Indica (All members of this species are classified as marijuana. Therefore it is also called marijuana).

Cannabis Ruderalis (It is a least known cannabis species, generally a small plant that produces very low profiles and lacks a notable fiber content)

Difference between Cannabis and Hemp

The difference between Cannabis and Hemp are as follows:

Botanical name

The Botanical name of hemp is cannabis sativa and that of Marijuana is Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica.

Chemical composition

Hemp is a strain of Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC. Marijuana is any strain of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC by dry weight


The strain of Cannabis sativa is used to make textiles, biodiesel, and nutritional supplements like CBD. While the strain of cannabis can include both Cannabis sativa and a related species: Cannabis indica. These strains are used primarily for their psychoactive effects.

Psychoactive effects:

Some species of cannabis had no psychoactive effect. These plants were classified as “hemp. While Marijuana, by comparison, is considered a recreational drug and its cultivation is highly restricted. Hemp and marijuana differ by their morphology, because, marijuana was characterized by its high THC content, the cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive effect, while in hemp the levels of THC are very low. That is why hemp has been cultivated to obtain raw materials, while in marijuana the effect produced by the consumption of its flowers has been sought, either at a medicinal or recreational level.

Growth habits

Hemp and marijuana can have similar growth habits. Both hemp and cannabis Sativa marijuana, tend to be very tall with thin leaves. The main difference in growth habits between hemp and marijuana is a resin in marijuana strains tends to be much thicker and stickier than hemp.


Hemp and marijuana have very different legal classifications. Generally, hemp is legal to grow and possess, while marijuana is illegal. This is due to the psychoactive effects of marijuana and the lack of psychoactivity in hemp. The hemp cultivation was highly regulated by the United States government. To grow the plant of hemp still farmer needed to apply and was subject to multiple levels of inspection, monitoring, and taxes. Hemp also makes it easier for manufacturers to produce CBD products.

Final thoughts

Hemp and marijuana are very similar they are technically considered to be the same species.

The difference between the two lies in the chemical profile of each plant. To be classified as hemp, the plant needs to have less than 0.3% THC by weight, while any percentage that exceeds this concentration is classified as marijuana.

Due to the lack of THC in a significant amount, hemp plants are legal almost everywhere in the world.

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