Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp – What’s The Difference?


Cannabis, Marijuana, and Hemp, what are they? Do they all mean the same thing? Many people are under the assumption that they are interchangeable, but that is not the case. Hemp and marijuana are the only two of the bunch that are interchangeable. Hemp is classified as Cannabis Sativa, just as marijuana is. One difference between the two is the amount of THC in the plant. There are many differences between cannabis, marijuana, and hemp; by the end of this article, you will be capable of deciphering between the three.

What is Hemp?

Hemp refers to the classification of Cannabis Sativa plants that contain less than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis products. Hemp has very little to no psychoactive effects attached to it. Hemp does include the cannabinoid CBD though. 

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. Anxiety, depression, and chronic pain are only a few ailments CBD is known to help. Hemp used to be an illegal substance in the United States. The reason why hemp was unlawful was because of how closely it identifies with the cannabis plant. In 2018 hemp was removed as a controlled substance. Even so, there are still states which forbid it. 

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis refers to any plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC and is known to produce psychoactive effects. Cannabis also comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant, but, in some instances, it also derives from the Cannabis Indica plant. The Sativa plant produces a ‘head’ high whereas, the Indica plant is known to give a ‘body’ high. 


Another difference between cannabis, marijuana, and hemp; is the word marijuana is used to describe the dried flower, leaves, and stems of the cannabis plants. Cannabis refers to all cannabis products in general. All marijuana is cannabis; not all cannabis is marijuana. 

There are many ways to use cannabis. Cannabis can be used topically, ingested, smoked, and more. Since hemp fibers are known for their strength, they make good ship sails, clothes, and other cloth products. Bioconcrete is an example of a product made of hemp fibers. Hemp oil is also popular and contains small traces of the cannabinoid CBD. You can apply hemp oil topically to help aid with pain relief or wounds.

The plants are very different as well. Hemp plants are more durable than marijuana plants. Hemp is also easier to grow than marijuana plants which are notoriously stubborn growers and have intense maintenance and care requirements. Marijuana plants are also shorter than the hemp plant which, looks to be taller and skinnier.  

The Difference Between Cannabis, Marijuana, and Hemp – Conclusion

Knowing the difference between marijuana, hemp, and cannabis will help you decide which will work best for your needs. Without knowing how they differentiate; it would be challenging to find the correct formulation or product.


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