What is the difference between Marijuana and Hemp?
In this post we will try in detail to provide a solid answer on the most commonly asked question.
Hemp is completely different from marijuana in its function, cultivation and application. But these differences didn’t stop our political leaders from getting confused and grouping all Cannabis species as a Schedule 1 Drug and banning it in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act. Even after 45 years, the government still has some confusion in distinguishing the two plants. Although legislation is being made, progress has been slow.
In its application, Hemp and Marijuana serve COMPLETElY different purposes. Marijuana, as it is widely known, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Hemp is used in variety of other applications that marijuana couldn’t possibly be used in. These include healthy dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, Hempcrete, plastic and even Paper . Overall, Hemp is known to have over 25,000 different possibilities of use, meaning no waste!
Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis sativa. To understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, we need to know a bit about the subtypes, or cultivars, of the cannabis plant. Cultivars are breeds of a plant species bred for different purposes. The three types of cannabis cultivars are:
- Cultivars grown mainly for industrial usage, with larger stems and fewer branches
- Cultivars grown mainly for seeds, which can be eaten raw or pressed into hemp oil
- Cultivars grown mainly for the active cannabinoids in their buds, to be used either for medicinal or recreational purposes
So, are the first two hemp, and the third cannabis? Not quite. It’s more accurate to say that numbers one and two tend to be hemp, while number three tends to be cannabis.
So where do we draw the line? How can we know for sure whether we’re looking at hemp, or at cannabis?
Are hemp plants just cannabis plants that happen to have less THC? Again, the reality is more complicated. Hemp plants, especially those grown for industrial purposes, tend to look, grow, and act differently than marijuana plants. Marijuana plants tend to be short and “stalky”, with lots of branches and a profusion of small leaves and heavy buds. Industrial hemp plants tend to be taller with skinny leaves, thick stems, and fewer branches.
Industrial hemp plants can be grown close together, some varieties as close as 10cm, over their growth cycle of 108–120 days. Hemp tends to be grown in large, austere industrial plots. Marijuana, on the other hand, is a higher-maintenance plant that requires a more gentle touch. Marijuana tends to be grown in warm, carefully controlled environments where each plant gets at least a metre of space. The growth cycle of marijuana tends to be 45–90 days. Marijuana is sensitive in another crucial regard as well: if a marijuana plot is exposed to hemp pollen, the whole crop can be destroyed.
Where does CBD come in?
To understand the relationship between CBD and hemp, we need to recognise once again that the word “hemp” can be applied to several distinct varieties of cannabis plants. Technically, cannabis bred to produce high-CBD flowers for medicinal use would be considered hemp if its THC levels fell below legal limits. Yet, these plants would resemble marijuana plants far more than they would industrial hemp.
These days, some industrial Hemp Producers are extracting CBD from leftover material and marketing it as “CBD oil”. These products are generally considered to be of lower quality—with reduced concentrations, and higher risk of contamination—than CBD oil harvested from plants specifically grown for medicinal use.
Whats the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil?
If hemp is high in CBD, does that mean that hemp oil is CBD oil? No it doesn’t. Hemp oil is cold-pressed from cannabis seeds, while CBD oil—or any cannabinoid oil—must be extracted from the flowers. Hemp oil doesn’t contain CBD, but it’s still special—it contains the golden 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, a combination that fights inflammation and helps build your brain. It’s also high in vitamin E, which has been shown to have anti-ageing properties.