Are Hemp and Marijuana the Same?
Analyzing the largest controversy about hemp that has led to its banning for eight decades
The short answer is no, they just both happen to be members of the cannabis genus of plant
Hemp differs from marijuana in terms of application, cultivation, and function. These differences, however, did not prevent our esteemed political leaders from becoming muddled and accidentally putting all species of cannabis into one group and making it a Schedule I drug that was banned by the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.
Even 45 years later, the government continues to be confused about the difference between these two plants. While legislation continues to be made, advances have been slow to happen. Hemp and marijuana have utterly different purposes — their application. What is commonly called marijuana can be employed for purposes that are either medicinal or recreational. Hemp has a selection of other uses that marijuana does not. Among these are clothing, a healthy dietary supplement, a skin product, and accessories. Hemp can be used in 25,000 different ways.
Does hemp make you “high”?
Your lungs will give in long before your brain makes you high if you smoke industrial hemp.
Comparing hemp with marijuana.
Just how hemp and marijuana differ.
So what is the actual difference?
Hemp and marijuana can be told apart by their appearance, composition, and natural adaptability. The differences are very noticeable.
Marijuana appears markedly different to hemp. Looking at their leaves, those of marijuana are either broad-leafed and have a tight bud or resemble a nugget with organs hairs. In contrast, the leaves of hemp are skinnier and grouped at the top; there are few branches or leaves under the plant’s top section. Looking at the plants from a distance, marijuana has the appearance of a short, fat bush, while hemp is generally taller and skinnier — the height can reach as much as 20 feet. Sometimes, hemp almost resembles long ditchweed — it has been found growing among weeds in Nebraska. Generally, a farm where marijuana is grown appears clearly quite different from one with industrial hemp.
What about the chemicals?
The principal difference between hemp and marijuana is their chemical composition: mainly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the chemical that gives marijuana its psychological effects. The average batch of marijuana is from five to 20 percent THC. Premium marijuana may be as much as 25 to 30 percent THC. But hemp is only 0.3 percent THC at most, so it is not feasible to get “high” in practice. This threshold is closely regulated in the countries where hemp has been legalized. Hemp also features a high level of cannabidiol (CBD) that serves as THC’s antagonist, making its small THC component useless.
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The environments where hemp and marijuana are grown differ drastically. Hemp plants are grown close together — as little as four inches apart — in what are usually sizable plots, covering a number of acres. They can survive in a range of climates and have a growth cycle of 108 to 120 days.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is best grown in a carefully managed atmosphere that is humid and warm. The growth cycle is only 60 to 90 days. Cannabis plants for medicinal use cannot be grown too near each other — there is usually a distance of at least six feet between them. If marijuana was grown among or near a field of hemp, the pollen of the hemp would instantly spoil the marijuana crop by diluting its psychoactivity.
THC vs CBD
Which chemicals make hemp and marijuana different?
CBD has been found to have analgesic, anti-anxiety (check out here the best brand of CBD oil for anxiety), and anti-inflammatory properties but no psychoactive effect — it doesn’t alter the mind. These properties are why hemp has, in recent times, become popular as a medical supplement, which is now among its top uses in the United States.
The majority of CBD oil sold in the United States is imported, so it is hard to control its quality. Hence it is advisable to be highly cautious and conduct due diligence prior to making a purchase of CBD oil (Know the best CBD oil on Amazon).
Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica
The difference officially
Sativa strains are generally taller and loosely branched and have leaves that are long and narrow. They are most often grown outside and can be as much as 20 feet tall. Sativa plants usually have a higher concentration of CBD enzymes, which, as we have seen, are not psychoactive.
Indica strains, meanwhile, are shorter, densely branched, and have wider leaves. They are more suitable for indoor growing. Their THC content is higher, which is intoxicating and causes a “body buzz”.
Recently, a great number of hybrids of the two have been created, so the precise amount of THC in a plant is more important than strictly dividing them into categories of “sativa” or “indica”.
How hemp got lumped in with marijuana
Was the banning of hemp as well as marijuana justified? discover the secret.
It was in the 1970s that President Nixon announced the “War on Drugs”, centered upon 1970’s Controlled Substances Act. This banned particular drugs and established the Drug Enforcement Administration. It also inadvertently made illegal one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world, hemp. The increased misunderstanding of hemp led to its demise.
The Controlled Substances Act lumped marijuana in with every other form of cannabis and outlawed the growing of all of them in the United States. Unfortunately, this law regarded hemp as a drug despite it’s not including the chemical that makes marijuana one. Find out more about how legal hemp is in the United States.