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Are Hemp and Marijuana Same or Different? Let’s Find Out!

Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

For the past 80 years, the one question that has repeatedly bothered humankind is: Are Hemp and Marijuana similar? Do they have any benefits? If they do!! then why are these products banned in certain parts of the world?

Let’s get all these answered today! Hemp and marijuana are the two different forms of the cannabis plant. And both of these cannabis plants serve different purposes to the humankind. 

The function, cultivation procedure and application of hemp is far more distinct than marijuana. And very few people understand these differences and thus get confused with marijuana. 

In 1970, Schedule | Drug and Banning, under the Controlled Substances Act, all forms of cannabis were banned because of misunderstandings among the political leaders. Even now, the various forms of cannabis plants are considered to be drugs.

Hemp vs Marijuana

Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana 2

Marijuana or Psychoactive cannabis are largely known for serving medicinal and recreational purposes. Many states are gradually legalizing marijuana, but in some parts of the world, it is still considered illegal. In 2018, the United States legalized hemp, all over the country, based on the Farm Bill. 

Currently, there are varieties of ways that hemp can be used, but marijuana can’t. Hemp is used in making clothing, skin products, accessories, and health dietary supplements as well. 

Today, one can buy the hemp-made products online and these are even available in many grocery stores as well. Broadly stated, there are more than 25,000 possible applications that can be done out of hemp. 

Even after 50 years, people still can’t differ between hemp and marijuana, despite the growing sale and demand for hemp-based products. Banks still considered hemp business as criminal productivity. In some cases, the truckers are getting arrested for carrying completely legal hemp. 

Can Anyone Get High Smoking Hemp?

The answer is quite obvious if you think about it rationally. You can’t get high smoking hemp in the form of pre-rolled cigarettes like marijuana. One can feel relaxed after smoking the “hemp flower”. This happens because the hemp buds contain a high ratio of Cannabidiol (CBD) and low in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

Divergences that Can be Noticed in Hemp and Marijuana

Some basic similarities can be noticed in both, hemp and marijuana, even if both of these are parts of the cannabis plants.

THC Amount

In hemp, the amount of THC is low i.e. less than 0.3%. But, in marijuana, the level of THC is high which is 5%-35%. 


When it comes to psychoactive, Marijuana is construed as a psychoactive drug, but hemp is not. In short, once you smoke marijuana, it can affect your mind for a while but smoking hemp won’t get you high. 


Both of these plants are cultivated differently. Hemp plants can grow with minimal care. Even if you consider every climatic condition. Hemp-like plants can grow in any environment regardless of any weather. But, marijuana needs a controlled atmosphere to grow and it needs continuous watering and care. 


Hemp is mostly used to serve purposes like clothing, construction works, food, plastic making and many more. But, you can use marijuana only for medical and recreational purposes. Inhaling marijuana can reduce your health problems. But, hemp is mainly categorized to serve commercial purposes in countries like the U.S.

How to Generalize Hemp and Marijuana?

You can easily identify both these cannabis plants by their chemical makeup, nature of growing, natural adaptability and at times by its appearance. 


It is quite easy to understand and identify hemp and marijuana by just looking at the leaves of both these plants. The marijuana leaves are slightly boarded and the plant has a tight bud. If you notice carefully, the marijuana leaves are shaped like a nugget with small hairs or crystals. 

Hemp on the other side has thicker leaves than marijuana. If you observe, you can see a few branches or some leaves below the upper part of the hemp plant. At times, it might be difficult for anyone who doesn’t have any knowledge regarding both of these plants

However, marijuana looks like a small fat bush from far behind. And, hemp is tall in size and typically skinner from marijuana, by which the differences become prominent and you can easily identify these two types of cannabis plants. 


Hemp can be found in places like Nebraska, Kansas and many other states. Hemp productions are much more evident than marijuana. But, in some of the places in the world, marijuana is legalized. For recreational uses only, Marijuana is legalized in countries like the USA, Canada, Georgia, South Africa, and Uruguay. The legality of the weed varies from one country to the other based on its use. 

Chemical Components

The main difference between hemp and marijuana is their chemical composition. This chemical composition is determined by the level of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. The level of THC determined the psychological effects of weed. An average clump of marijuana contains somewhat 5-20% THC. Additionally, premium marijuana can hold up to 25-30% THC. 

The legalized hemp, on the other hand, carries a maximum THC level of 0.3% for which there are fewer psychological effects. And, hemp also has a high CBD which is useful for providing a lot of benefits to us. 

Cultivation Process

The environment where both these plants grow is considerably different. Hemp needs large multi-acre plots to grow and these plants grow fast when they are placed together. Within 108-120 days, the buds can be seen from the hemp plants. And, this is the maximum time a hemp plant needs to grow. Moreover, several other types of hemp can be grown for fibre, seed or CBD purposes. 

Apart from the mentioned conditions, marijuana requires utterly different surroundings to completely grow. The weed plants need continuous care, a warm, and humid atmosphere to properly grow within 60-90 days. And, when you put one weed plant at close proximity to the other, it won’t grow that fast like the hemp plants. These plants will grow fast when they are placed 6 feet away from each other. 

And, the most important thing is that you can’t put both the marijuana and hemp plant together in the same place. If the marijuana plant starts to grow in a hemp field, the pollen (a microscopic garish that is discharged by the male flower) can damage the marijuana crop. As a result, it will reduce the psychological effects of marijuana and both of these crops become dysfunctional. 


As it is mentioned earlier, because of these two components, the difference between hemp and weed can be seen prominently. 

Because of the low level of THC, hemp got legalized but marijuana did not. As hemp contains only 0.3% THC level, there is no such psychological effect that can be seen. And, so the people who smoke weed get high because it consists of 5-20% THC.

On the other hand, Cannabidiol is the cannabis plant that can be a reason for someone’s anxiety, cognition, disorders, and pain as well. It can be taken into the individual’s body in different ways.

These include smoking or vapour, as a spray and even from the mouth. CBD oils can calm one’s depression, acne, heart diseases, and cancer as well. For such medical uses, CBND has gained huge popularity in places like the U.S. 

Things to Look Upon

In the market, not all CBD products are reliable, some of them are fraudulent as well. As the CBD market doesn’t run under any authorized company or person. So, these unregulated ways can be a reason for high-health risk for someone. Before purchasing such products, it is suggested to conduct thorough research. 

Cannabis Sativa vs Cannabis Indica

The Sativa strains are mostly taller, full of narrow leaves and are loosely branched. The maximum height that the Sativa strain can reach is up to 20 feet. These plants have higher CBD enzymes than Indica plants. These Plants can grow best in outdoor places.

And, the Indica Plants are short in size, closely packed and contain wider leaves. Unlike Sativa trees, the Indica paint can better grow in indoor places. These types of strains consist of high levels of THC connect, which can be intoxicating at times as it causes a slight body-buzz.

How Hemp Got Entangled with Marijuana

In the year 1970, President Nixon of the U.S announced a “War on Drugs” and signed a contract named “Controlled Substances Act of 1970”. Based on this law, a set of drugs gets banned and gets registered under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). And as a result, hemp gets banned because of this law enforcement. 

Because at that time, people of the U.S also considered hemp as a drug like marijuana. But, after several kinds of research, people have now changed their minds and got to know the benefits of cannabis plants. 

Actions Yet to Take on Hemp VS Weed

Hemp is now almost legalized in some of the states and its usefulness is widely spreading. Meanwhile, it might take a lot of time to completely legalize Marijuana in developing countries like India. It is important to acknowledge the diversification of both herbs. 

Even for medical purposes, marijuana can enhance one’s health and on the other industrial hemp have several other uses which can serve to provide a lot of benefits to humanity. So, once the people all over the world start expanding their knowledge regarding this matter, the legalizing time period will decrease.