Hemp vs Marijuana: The Differences You Should Know

hemp vs marijuana

By now you’ve likely heard of both marijuana and hemp. You might not, however, know the difference between the two. In fact, there are some quite distinct differences. So, just what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana? Are hemp and marijuana the same? What about hemp vs cannabis? Does hemp have THC?

If you’re looking for the answer to these questions (and more), then you’ve come to the right place. This article will hopefully provide you with all of the information you need to settle the hemp vs marijuana questions you may have.

So, without further ado, let’s get rolling with the info you’re looking for…


Is hemp the same as marijuana? This is a big question on many people’s minds as of late: what’s the difference between hemp and weed (marijuana)? While many people believe that they are the same thing, they are actually quite different in many ways. So, just how are they different? Let’s take a look at the cannabis family as a whole to get a better understanding of this.

Both hemp and marijuana fall into the same plant family known as cannabis. However, hemp and weed (marijuana) are considered by many experts to be two different sub-species within the cannabis family. They differ in many ways including:

  • Application (use)
  • Cultivation (growing, harvesting, processing, etc)
  • Function
  • And more…

While these plants differ completely (down to the genome level), there has been a large amount of confusion, especially with legislation and law enforcement. This is one huge factor in the confusion of the general public, as well.

If you’ve also been feeling confused about the hemp vs marijuana debate, then you are certainly not alone. The people have been very misled for quite some time. But those days are coming to a quick end, with the industrial and medical potential of hemp and marijuana finally being taken seriously.

However, things are changing rapidly – for both hemp and marijuana. Hemp and hemp products have been legal for use in most states for quite a while (with some pushback in some areas). And now, even medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal in many states – with many more following suit.

Let’s discuss both of these cannabis plants more in-depth so that you can better understand the difference between hemp and pot (marijuana).


Did you know that hemp has over 25,000 known applications? Hemp has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes. Recorded use dates back as far as 6,000 years ago. Some modern hemp industrial purposes include (but are not limited to):

  • Paper products
  • Textiles and fabrics for clothing and more
  • Skincare, hair care, and other cosmetic products
  • Dietary supplements like CBD oil (as well as others)
  • Building materials
  • Food
  • Medicine
  • And even fuel

That is just a small list of the potential industrial applications of the hemp plant (that was once completely illegal in the United States). Cannabis was labeled as a schedule I drug in 1970, making the growth, cultivation, and possession of even hemp totally illegal. However, times are changing, and even lawmakers can not deny the industrial and medical potential of the cannabis family as a whole.

So, how does hemp differ from marijuana? Does hemp have THC? Hemp is of the Sativa species within the cannabis family and contains far less THC than marijuana. This is one of the biggest differences between hemp and marijuana.

Hemp has both female and male varieties than can each be used in different ways. Hemp fibers can be used industrially for paper, textiles, fabrics and more. It’s oil can be used for skin and hair care products.

And you have likely heard of CBD oil, which is gaining mass popularity as a dietary supplement for a variety of issues. Hemp is the ideal source for CBD oil and other CBD products due to its CBD rich, low THC content.


What are some of the uses of CBD hemp oil? Users all over the country and world are supplementing with CBD products for many reasons including (but not limited to):

  • Insomnia and other sleep-related issues
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mood-related issues
  • Chronic pain and inflammation in muscles and joints (such as from arthritis)
  • Appetite and other digestive issues
  • Seizures from epilepsy
  • Acne
  • Relieve side effects of other drugs including cancer drugs like chemotherapy (please note CBD is not a cure for cancer)
  • Neurological issues like Parkinson’s disease (research ongoing)
  • Heart health

And more…

CBD oils are legal most everywhere in the United States. It is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you want to make sure that you buy from companies that engage in third-party lab testing. This will ensure the safety, purity, and potency of your CBD oil products. It will also ensure that you are purchasing legal, THC free (>0.3%) CBD hemp products.

Please also remember, if you would like to add daily CBD to your vitamin regimen, you should always talk with your doctor – especially if you think you may be suffering with any kind of illness or condition. Please don’t ever try to diagnose or treat anything at home on your own.

Hemp vs marijuana


Is hemp marijuana? Now that we have covered hemp, let’s get a clearer picture of marijuana to help you settle the hemp vs marijuana debate…

First things first, the biggest difference between hemp and marijuana is the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in each. Marijuana (including medical marijuana) has significant levels of THC (up to 25% and more in modern strains). THC is the component of marijuana that leads to euphoric symptoms – aka feeling “high.”

Two species within the cannabis family are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Marijuana strains can fall into both of these species. In fact, marijuana strains are of three kinds:

  • Sativa Marijuana Strains: Sativa strains are known for a more energetic and creative high – great for daytime use for pain, elevating mood, and more.
  • Indica Marijuana Strains: Indica strains are believed to have a more calm and relaxing high, usually higher in CBD, great for nighttime use, sleep, pain, anxiety, and more.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid strains contain genetics from both indica and sativa strains. They can be indica dominant, Sativa dominant, or even 50/50.

When considering hemp oil vs marijuana oil, please remember that hemp oil will not have THC while Marijuana oils will have a significant amount of THC.


As briefly mentioned above, hemp does have some THC – but very low levels. In order for hemp products (like CBD oil and CBD gummies) to be legal, they must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Users can not feel any effects of these trace amounts of THC.

CBD edibles like CBD gummies are not intended to get you high. The CBD in the edibles interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system much like THC does – just without the strong euphoric effects.

If you’re confused about the endocannabinoid system, this is simply one of the many advanced neurological systems within your body that interact with the environment and the chemicals that you ingest.

Yes – your body literally has a whole system dedicated to utilizing cannabinoids for their many benefits.

So, can you get high on hemp? The answer is no. Hemp products are designed to be high in CBD and THC-free. While you can get “CBD products” that also contain THC, most do not. If you live somewhere that marijuana is legal, just make sure that you are looking for THC free CBD products made from hemp.


So, what’s the difference between hemp and cannabis? As mentioned above, hemp is generally considered a subspecies within the cannabis family. Can cannabis get you high? Sometimes – if it contains THC (like in marijuana). However, in the instance of low-THC hemp, this kind of cannabis will not get you high.

One easy way to think about this is to consider dogs as a species. And there are different breeds within this species. Hemp and cannabis are like two different “breeds” within the cannabis family. They have many basic similarities, as well as some very critical differences. THC is the most critical difference between hemp and marijuana.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know the difference between hemp and cannabis. You can involve yourself in the public discussion and the marijuana vs hemp debate. Hemp is low in THC, and marijuana contains an amount that will get you high. Both are within the cannabis family. That’s actually pretty simple.

Please also remember to discuss any major lifestyle changes with your doctor. This includes the addition of dietary supplements like CBD hemp oil – and especially things like the use of medical marijuana. When it comes to hemp vs marijuana, you should always keep your doctor in the loop.

About the author

Joyana feels that with the strains, everything is possible, and you should only reproduce what makes you happy. Her 10 years of writing experience comes after studying mass media and communications at the University of Toronto in Canada. Everything about strains can be confusing and difficult to comprehend, but she simplifies the issue of strains in words with top-notch research and in-depth experience in the area, and you receive the proper information with his easy write-up. Olivia adores children, and she spends her free time bringing delicious presents to the children's home, such as chocolates and cookies.

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