Although hemp and marijuana are two varieties of cannabis, a lot of people are often confused between the two. Advocates of marijuana claim that hemp doesn’t provide the same medical benefits since it doesn’t have enough THC which is the psychoactive component of cannabis.
There are also some people who consider all three plants to be similar. Thus, these terms are used interchangeably a lot of times, which has led to confusion in understanding the different benefits and usage of hemp and marijuana in general.
Marijuana, Hemp, and Cannabis
People should understand that marijuana, hemp, and cannabis are three different things. Cannabis is a plant that has two primary classifications – Sativa and Indica. While hemp belongs to the family of Cannabis Sativa, marijuana falls under the Indica or Sativa families. Since hemp and marijuana are derived from cannabis, they have a lot of similar qualities. However, these two plants have a totally different biological structure. As such, they are not really exactly the same.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
In the naked eye, marijuana and hemp plants can appear pretty similar. But experts may be able to distinguish the differences just by looking at them.
Marijuana usually has broad leaves. The buds are dense and feature a bushy and short appearance. On the other hand, hemp has rather skinny leaves. The leaves are usually concentrated at the top of the plant. The hemp plant grows taller and skinnier compared to marijuana and with some few branches appearing right beneath the upper area.
When placed side by side each other, the two plants can be easily distinguished. But as you dig deeper on these plants anatomy, you’ll be able to identify the distinct differences of their chemical composition.
The Composition of Hemp and Marijuana
Cannabis contains different types of compounds known as cannabinoids. Two of the most dominant cannabinoids are THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol and the CBD or Cannabidiol. Both the THC and CBD have been found to have profound effects on humans. But the THC has the ability to induce psychoactive effects, which is responsible for getting users high. The CBD, however, doesn’t have any psychoactive properties, which is why it’s usually safe for consumption.
When comparing hemp to marijuana, you’ll find that there’s actually a huge distinction between the two. While hemp has a really low concentration of THC, having only 0.3% or less, marijuana has a good amount of THC and has concentrations of 15% and more, which explains why some users get high.
Legality of Hemp
The amount of THC in hemp and marijuana plays an important role in determining how each plant is used. In fact, the THC is the plant’s defining factor in terms of legality. Each state has varying laws on hemp but this usually depends on the amount of THC found in the plant. Since hemp contains only a small amount of THC, it’s usually legal in various places around the world.