Hemp Vs Marijuana: Their Similarities and Differences:

Hemp and Marijuana are both part of the Cannabis family. Cannabis is classified by two different pure strains: Sativa and Indica. Hemp is of the variety cannabis sativa. Marijuana is both, and a mixture of the two which are called Hybrids. Though these two plants are of the same species and can look quite similar they have some pretty outstanding differences, from their physical appearance and chemical makeup to their growing environment and uses.

From afar hemp and marijuana can look virtually the same, but if you get up close and personal you start to see how unique the two plants are. Hemp has skinnier leaves that are concentrated at the top and have few leaves or branches below the top of the plant, this skinny tall bush can grow up to 20 ft. Marijuana is broader leafed with tight buds that look like nuggets with orange hairs. Compared to hemp, marijuana is a shorter fat bush.

The way hemp and marijuana are grown are also significantly different, for their uses and chemical make-up are just as unique as the plant themselves. Hemp is grown closely together, about 4 inches apart, and typically in large multi-acre plots. Hemp can grow in a variety of climates, normally outdoor row crops or greenhouses. Hemp is normally seeded, but can be cloned for cultivating CBD. Hemp’s growth cycle is between 108 days to 120 days. Marijuana requires a carefully controlled, warm and humid atmosphere to grow in. Medical cannabis cannot be grown closely together (at least 6 ft apart), and is grown usually indoors or in a green house and is commonly cloned for reproduction.

Hemp and marijuana both contain the cannabinoid THC. Though they both contain THC, only marijuana is a psychoactive. Hemp only contains a max level of 0.3% THC making it non-psychoactive and higher other cannabinoids like CBD. Marijuana on average contains 5-20% THC, but some strains of marijuana can contain up to 25-35% THC. High THC content is what makes marijuana psychoactive, giving the “high” feeling when consuming marijuana. Marijuana should never be grown close to hemp, because if it is the hemp’s pollen would ruin the marijuana crop by diluting its psychoactive traits.

Though hemp and marijuana are grown in different atmospheres and cycles, they are both grown for one major similar reason: Cannabinoids. Hemp farmers grow for the cannabinoid CBD and other minor cannabinoids. Marijuana farmers grow for the highest concentrates of THC and CBD possible, unless they are growing for a particular THC:CBD ratio. Like a marijuana farmer, a hemp farmer growing for high CBD would remove male plants from the field/facility before pollination. Removing the male plants allow for less seed and higher concentrates of cannabinoids.

Written by: Amanda Jones