Technically, marijuana and hemp are plants of the same species. Yes, scientifically, they are the same. But that doesn’t mean that they are the same thing. If you are thinking about how then let me explain.
Marijuana is the name typically used for the “high” giving weed. The reason for this high is the abundance of THC. THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the main high-giving chemical found in marijuana. It is mostly grown for the purpose of recreational or medical use that is generally associated with the high-giving aspect.
In contrast, hemp or industrial marijuana is the type of weed that is low in THC. So now that you are not likely to get high. Instead, the contents of another cannabinoid CBD are more. CBD or Cannabidiol does not give you a “high”. Instead, it is found to have anti-inflammatory and antidepressant qualities.
In the US, generally, they follow a rule of thumb that if the weed has more than 0.3% THC, it is hemp; otherwise, that’s marijuana. In many states, marijuana is illegal while hemp is legal, while in others, both are illegal. So, if you live in a state where marijuana is illegal, and you are buying weed from a registered seller, then it’s surely hemp.
Difference in Appearance
There is also a visual difference between the two types, as well. The marijuana plant is bush-like and small, whereas the hemp is tall and thin. Also, the reason for growing these plants is different as hemp is originally grown for fibers, seeds, and CBD, whereas marijuana, is basically used for THC and its effects.
There are also other ways of naming these products as cannabis also goes by the name of Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Hybrid.
It is generally believed that Indicas are generally sedating and relaxing, while Sativas are more invigorating and energizing. As for the hybrids, mixed-effects can be expected. But this common perception is wrong as these names are based on the botanical basis, not on their effects. The interbreeding from centuries has made it difficult to differentiate between these types. In other words, going to a marijuana dispensary and asking for a particular type of cannabis may not help at all.
However, if you are familiar with multiple strains, you may have a better idea of the expected effects. But even those users can not be a hundred percent right as sometimes the plants within the same species may show variations in the amounts of CBD and THC and their respective effects as well.
Examples of Sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains are Sour Diesel, Purple Punch, and Pineapple Express. The difference among the strains can be known from the terpenes, the aromatic chemicals.
The major difference between hemp and marijuana is their THC content. Also, the physical differences are there as well. But you can not clearly predict the type of chemicals they are carrying from the Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid variants. So, the best way of differentiating them is by the amount of THC.