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Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp and Marijuana are both derivatives of the cannabis plant, but have some key differences between them. In general, hemp contains more of the CBD compound within it, while marijuana has more THC within it. Formally, hemp is a term used to classify cannabis that contains less than 0.3% of THC in it by dry weight. On the other hand, marijuana is cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC in it by dry weight. In marijuana, 0.4% to 5% THC is considered low potency, while 20% THC and above is considered extremely high. THC functions as the main ingredient that differentiates between the two, as this functions as the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis.

What is hemp?

As previously stated, hemp is cannabis that has very low THC content in it. Hemp was recently legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill and due to its low THC content, should not be able to get someone “high”. Hemp has many uses in textiles, paper, building materials, and clothing as well as having beneficial compounds for the body such as CBD. CBD is most concentrated in hemp and can be legally extracted from hemp compared to marijuana. Where do the terms “hemp” and “marijuana” even come from? There is a common misconception that hemp and marijuana are certain strains or species of cannabis. This however is not true, as the only difference between them relates to total THC content. One may notice that the terms originate from cultural words that have adapted to have this more scientific meaning.

CBD derived from Hemp vs Marijuana

The derivation of CBD from both is very interesting to note, as the CBD extracted from both hemp and marijuana turns out nearly identical. However, the 2018 Farm Bill only allows extraction from hemp and not marijuana. CBD extracted from marijuana is a controlled substance and not federally legal. This is most likely due to the possibility of THC rich products being extracted from marijuana. By allowing only CBD extraction from hemp, there is less likelihood of marijuana being abused for its psychoactive ingredients than just CBD alone.

Can smoking hemp make me high?

While some may have reported a relaxing feeling when ingesting hemp or CBD derivatives, CBD and hemp should not make you high. This is due to the low THC content in hemp, and the absence of THC does not lead to psychoactive effects. Typically, marijuana is smoked due to the psychoactive THC while hemp’s low THC content does not include any psychoactive effects.

Legal status of hemp and marijuana

While hemp was legalized federally in 2018, marijuana is still treated as a controlled substance and federally illegal. Hemp and marijuana can appear very similar and may even look exactly alike. While marijuana is legal in some states, it is still federally illegal and only hemp and low THC content products remain legal. When buying CBD products, one must be careful to check if it was derived from hemp and not marijuana, as it is very possible there are fraudulent products on the market. The legalization of hemp allows researchers to look more closely into CBD and to see its effects on the body. In summary, hemp differs from marijuana in having very limited THC content, and currently CBD can legally only be extracted from hemp.

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