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Beginner’s 101

Is Hemp Marijuana?

You probably heard the terms hemp and marijuana used before.  But maybe are unclear about the difference between the two of them is. Hemp and marijuana both are part of the cannabis plant species and look and smell similar. However, they are actually two different plants.

To begin, hemp plants are always classified as Sativa cannabis species while marijuana plants can either be Sativa or Indica. Below we will answer some common questions about both hemp and marijuana and the differences between the two.

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

To begin, hemp and marijuana both are part of the ‘cannabis’ genus of plants. There are multiple different types of cannabis that have completely different effects. Let’s first take a look at the various types of cannabis plants.

Cannabis sativa- This is often what people refer to when they are talking about cannabis. It naturally grows in tropical climates such as those in Central America, Africa, and Asia. Sativa is the tallest type and can often reach 2-4 meters in height.

Cannabis Indica – This plant grows well in mountainous areas like Afghanistan and India. It also can grow in a greenhouse. Indica is much shorter and stockier than Sativa plants.

Cannabis Ruderalis – Ruderalis grows primarily in the northern hemisphere in places like Russia, China, and Poland. It survives well in harsh environments. Historically people have used ruderalis plants for fiber and nutrition.

Over the years these subspecies of cannabis have been bred together so it’s not always easy to make a clear distinction. Both Sativa and Indica plants are used for recreation as well as in the medical marijuana community. Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis Sativa. It is related to marijuana but is not exactly the same.

infographic explaining the difference between hemp and marijuana

Marijuana CBD vs Hemp CBD

So now that you know the types of cannabis plants you still may be wondering what exactly is hemp. Industrial hemp is part of the Cannabis sativa species. CBD is extracted from hemp to make supplements and food. It is not used recreationally as a drug. Hemp has a great balance of CBD to THC for these purposes as it is high in CBD and low in THC, the psychoactive compound. Thus allowing the user to experience the benefits of CBD without having a psychoactive effect.

Marijuana CBD comes from cannabis plants that are generally grown for their high THC content. However, there are several strains of marijuana that are rich in CBD.

Hemp Uses

There are so many uses for hemp other than just for creating CBD products. It can be used to create more than 30,000 types of products such as textiles, canvas, insulation, building material, cosmetics, and paper products just to name a few. Recently hemp has also been shown to be a source of biofuel. At the University of Connecticut, a study was conducted which found the seeds to have great qualities to produce biodiesel.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is different than hemp due to the fact that it includes much more of the intoxicating compounds of THC than hemp does. High levels of THC found in the plant produces a ‘high’ effect on the user with feelings of euphoria or relaxation. Marijuana can be used medicinally.

Marijuana is found in both Sativa and Indica varieties.

Key Takeaways on Hemp vs Marijuana

Even though marijuana and hemp are both part of the cannabis species they have different compositions and active compounds. It can be easy to get confused between the two. Hopefully, after reading this article you will know the difference. Hemp is essential to the CBD industry and without it we wouldn’t be able to produce great products like CBD oils, capsules, or salves.

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Feyza Olson

Feyza Olson is Content Manager at Endoca. Her passion for natural products and holistic health inspires her in creating wellness content on cannabis and cannabinoids, for both newcomers to the CBD world and experts. She loves continuing to learn about wellness and health from a holistic perspective and sharing her findings.

Hemp leaves on a light green background


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