Hemp vs. Marijuana: The Differences Explained

Hemp and marijuana are the two most common strains of cannabis. They are both associated with CBD, a substance highly abundant in these two plants that can treat several medical conditions. Because of this, many people are concerned about knowing the differences between hemp and marijuana, but a lot of the information out there can be misleading.

Over the years, marijuana has had a controversial reputation because it contains a high THC content. THC is a psychoactive compound responsible for giving marijuana users euphoric effects. These controversies with marijuana at some stages also affected hemp, causing it to be classified as an illegal substance, although it was one of the top cash crops in the 1940s.

Several states have currently passed regulations to legalize hemp production with others also doing the same with marijuana. Still, there is confusion on the differences between hemp and marijuana, especially for CBD users. In this article, we explain the significant differences between hemp and marijuana.

What is hemp?

Hemp is one of the most popular strains of cannabis, which is commonly used to produce CBD. Decades ago, hemp was an important cash crop until its production was abolished. Hemp production was made legal again after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill Act. However, it must contain a THC content of 0.3% or less for it to be considered legal hemp.

In other words, hemp is non-intoxicating cannabis. Hemp can be utilized in several sectors, including the food, textile, paper, building, medicine, and body care industries. It is because of its multiple benefits that the industrial production of hemp has been legalized. Still, there are many debates of hemp vs marijuana going on, but hemp stands out clearly when it comes to benefits.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is another common strain of cannabis that is well-known for giving users euphoric effects when used. Marijuana usually has a THC content above 0.3%. Because of marijuana, all strains of cannabis, including hemp, have been grossly misinterpreted. Many believe that marijuana, once smoked, can cause mental impairment, which led to classifying all cannabis plants in this bracket.

Although marijuana gets people high when used, it is not entirely useless. There is evidence that it has been used for centuries to treat chronic pain. Marijuana can still be used to produce CBD and other cannabidiols that can be beneficial.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: CBD and THC Content

Both hemp and marijuana contain THC and CBD. However, the content of these two compounds, which are incredibly abundant in the cannabis species, usually differs in these two plants. Hemp, for instance, is rich in CBD but contains a tiny percentage of THC. That is why hemp is commonly used in CBD production. On the other hand, marijuana is rich in THC but has a smaller percentage of CBD. That is why users get high when they smoke marijuana.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: Legality

Hemp and marijuana are not regulated under the same laws because these two plants, although they are of the cannabis strains, contain different levels of THC. A few years ago, hemp was classified as an illegal substance, but this is no longer the case after passing the 2018 Farm Bill Act. Hemp and its products were legalized as long as the THC content does not go above 0.3%. However, marijuana is still considered illegal by federal law and is regulated by the Controlled Substance Act.


The debates between hemp and marijuana can confuse, but we believe this article has helped shed light on these two cannabis strains. Although these two plants have slight but crucial differences, they have proven beneficial in our lives. That is why hemp production has been legalized and marijuana might soon follow.