Cannabis v. Marijuana v. Hemp: I’m so confused!

Cannabis v. Marijuana v. Hemp: I’m so confused!

If you’re confused about the difference between cannabis, marijuana, and hemp, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

We’ve even found some reputable sources that give conflicting information, so what’s a consumer to do?

Let’s see if we can help clear up some of the confusion.

From a botanical standpoint, hemp and marijuana are the same. Both stem from the plant genus Cannabis (the most common species are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica). But they have some significant physical, functional, and chemical differences (see the infographic at the end of this post).

From a chemical standpoint, both marijuana and hemp contain two highly-studied compounds (called ‘cannabinoids’):

  1. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)
  2. CBD (cannabidiol)

THC is the psychoactive compound that causes the “high” experienced from consuming marijuana.

CBD is just one of over 100 known non-psychoactive cannabinoids contained in both marijuana and hemp, but it may currently be the most scrutinized compound as scientists seek to uncover potential medicinal benefits.

Marijuana and hemp differ in the amount of each compound they contain. But the critical measure from a legal standpoint is the level of THC:

  • Marijuana, often referred to by the generic term ‘cannabis’ (which adds to the confusion), contains greater than 0.3% THC (sometimes up to 30% THC depending on the strain). It can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects when consumed.
  • Hemp, on the other hand, contains relatively low levels of THC (less than 0.3%). So, it won’t give you that “high” that marijuana does.

For simplicity, it may be easier to think of hemp and marijuana as close cousins. They are from the same extended family, but they are definitely NOT the same.

The following infographic lists the most significant differences:

Hemp vs. Marijuana 101 Infographic

Don’t forget to stop by our store to stock up on CBD oils and salves!