Hemp versus Marijuana: What’s the Difference?


As the cannabis industry continues to grow, you can find this plant’s compound in your skin care products, supplements, and even dog treats. In states where it’s legal, you will spot its flowers in jars, ready to be smoked. The green, leafy botanical is everywhere — but it be a bit confusing to understand.

Even if you are eagerly joining the cannabis craze, it can be tricky to keep track of industry terminology. The words “cannabis,” “hemp,” and “marijuana” are often used interchangeably.

However, they are certainly not the same.

The following guide will clear the smoke around cannabis lingo and break down the difference between hemp and marijuana. This will help you make more informed decisions when researching companies and buying cannabis products.


While hemp and marijuana are often lumped together in popular culture, they are quite different. Both of these species are varieties of cannabis plants. Cannabis is divided into two main groups: cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. Hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of cannabis sativa.


Both hemp and marijuana contain a wide variety of chemical compounds. One of the most commonly known is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The marijuana plant contains a high amount of THC, measuring anywhere from 5 to 20 percent. THC is the main compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive properties.

Hemp, however, contains low levels of THC. Instead, it contains high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD. This compound has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anxiety-reducing effects. The cbd concentrate that you can find on the market today is cultivated from quality industrial hemp and contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. This means that hemp and its derivatives will not get you “high” like the marijuana plant.


The long, pointed leaves on the cannabis plant have made it an iconic symbol. However, the hemp and marijuana plants look slightly different. Hemp tends to have thinner leaves, which are thicker at the top of the plant. Marijuana plants have wider leaves and sprout bunches of flowers, which are the focus of cultivation. When hemp is cultivated for CBD products and other uses, growers generally harvest the whole plant. So, when you see the term “full-spectrum hemp extract,” it indicates the stems and leaves were used in production.


Hemp and marijuana are cultivated and sold for various purposes. In some U.S. states, marijuana has been declared legal for recreational use. It is also legal for medical use in many other states. This landscape is rapidly changing as more states legalize the plant for sale. Marijuana is typically smoked in a pipe or paper. It can also be used in oil form.

Industrial hemp, however, is legal in most states. Growers cultivate hemp to be used in a variety of products, including paper, clothing, and food products. One of the most common uses is CBD oils. Consumers can use CBD products in beauty products and take it orally using a tincture. Many individuals will take CBD for better sleep, reduced anxiety, and improved appetite. The FDA has even approved CBD as a treatment for epilepsy.

As research uncovers other benefits of industrial hemp, it’s important to make informed purchases. Make sure to research the company before buying a CBD product, and always check the full ingredients list.

Overall, being an informed consumer will be useful as the cannabis industry expands. You can educate yourself on the cultivation of cannabis and how it ends up in your oil or cream. By learning the main differences between hemp and marijuana, you can understand the chemical contents of what you are using and how it might affect you.