Hemp vs Marijuana: The Difference Explained (2020 Update)

Aaron Cadena
Sep 10, 2018 · 9 min read
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What’s the Difference Between Hemp vs Marijuana?

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What is Hemp?

“Hemp” is a term used to classify varieties of Cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight).

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What is Marijuana?

“Marijuana” is a term used to classify varieties of Cannabis that contain more than 0.3% THC (by dry weight) and can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects on the user.

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An anti-marijuana movie poster from the 1930s (Getty Images)

The Confusion Presented by Hemp vs Marijuana

Based on the context used to describe Hemp and Marijuana, the defining characteristic between the two is based on a single factor — the amount of THC in the plant — or rather whether it will get the user high.

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As portrayed in the chart above:

Categorizing Cannabis as either Hemp or Marijuana is akin to classifying all fruits in the citrus genus as either sweet or sour, without acknowledging the diverse characteristics of each fruit.

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4 Key Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

As varieties of the same plant species, hemp and marijuana share many similarities and can even appear exactly alike.

Hemp vs Marijuana: Composition

The defining characteristic between hemp and marijuana is the chemical composition contained within each plant.

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Hemp vs Marijuana: Legality

Due to the difference between their levels of THC, hemp and marijuana are regulated very differently under the law.

Hemp vs Marijuana: Cultivation

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Hemp vs Marijuana: Usage

Hemp and marijuana each offer a range of usages which are unique to their composition.

  • Food products such as cooking oil, hemp flour, and hemp seed-based products
  • Medicinal products such as CBD oil tinctures and CBD-infused topicals

Hemp Derived CBD vs Marijuana Derived CBD

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To summarize and re-clarify:

  • Hemp-derived CBD is legal if it contains 0.3% THC or less under the Agricultural Act of 2018
  • Marijuana-derived CBD is illegal and is still classified as a controlled substance regardless of its percentage of THC.

Hemp vs Marijuana: Final Thoughts

While the subject can be a bit complex and quite confusing, I hope to have shed some light on this important subject and properly explained the difference between hemp vs marijuana.

CBD Origin

CBD Origin is the leading resource for CBD knowledge and…

Aaron Cadena

Written by

CBD enthusiast, passionate writer, and Editor in Chief at CBDOrigin.com―the CBD community’s leading digital publication and online knowledge base.

CBD Origin

CBD Origin is the leading resource for CBD knowledge and information. Follow our publication to stay up to date our latest stories, research, news and more!

Aaron Cadena

Written by

CBD enthusiast, passionate writer, and Editor in Chief at CBDOrigin.com―the CBD community’s leading digital publication and online knowledge base.

CBD Origin

CBD Origin is the leading resource for CBD knowledge and information. Follow our publication to stay up to date our latest stories, research, news and more!

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