Hemp vs Cannabis

9 months ago

In 1970, the US government grouped all cannabis species, including Hemp and other illegal substances, and banned them under the Controlled Substance Act.

Hemp was mainly banned because of the confusion between the two substances. However, the reality is that the two substance are completely different.

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

So, what's the difference between hemp and cannabis?

Cannabis is mainly used for recreational or medicinal purpose whereas Hemp is known to have many applications.

In this article, we explore the differences between the two substances from 5 perspectives.

Chemical composition

The key difference between Hemp and Marijuana is in chemical content, precisely in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is a content that makes Marijuana to produce some psychological effects once used. On average, Cannabis has about 5-20% THC content. A high-quality cannabis strain can even have up to 30% THC level.

However, the level of THC in hemp is relatively low; it has about 0.3% of THC content thus making it have little or zero psychological effects.


The looks between the two are normally different. Marijuana generally has broad leaves and tight buds whereas Hemp has thin leaves concentrated at the top. Below the hemp are few branches and leaves.

When you look at the Marijuana plantation from far, it looks like a bush. On the other hand, hemp normally appears like a long ditch weed because it is thin, long and has few leaves. Concisely, a plantation of marijuana and industrial hemp are clearly different from each other.

Some producers are now producing cannabis that is classified as hemp but is grown for the medicinal CBD and can be full of buds.


In the US, the use and possession of Marijuana is illegal under the federal laws. Under the Controlled Substance Act, cannabis and hemp are classified as Schedule I substance.

Outside the United States, hemp is grown in over 30 countries while marijuana remains illegal in most countries. Marijuana is subject to strict rules in most countries as it is considered a narcotic unlike hemp; Most countries allow importation of hemp.

Growing Condition

The growing condition for hemp and marijuana differs. Hemp plantation are often grown in close proximity to each other and on large pieces of land. Furthermore, it can do well in any climate and can take about 120 days to mature.

On the other hand, marijuana requires a warm and humid atmosphere to grow well. They are not grown as close as hemp; they are grown 6 feet from each other. Additionally, marijuana takes about 90 days to maturity.


Hemp fiber has been widely used in various fields and making products such as clothing, ropes, paper, sails, and medical supplies. Hemp is also used to develop renewable plastics thus making it a common material in the automobile industry. Hemp fiber has good moisture absorption, high-temperature resistance, anti-ultraviolet and anti-radiation among other qualities.

However, Cannabis is mainly used for recreational and medicinal use. With the process of legalization of marijuana spreading across the world, the potential to explore further uses of cannabis and hemp may grow.

Do you use hemp products in your day to day life?

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120 days to mature and been able to grow in any climate, with limitless applications, starting to see why it is gradually been approved worldwide, nice write-up and clearly detailed

In a nutshell marijuana actually gets you high while Hemp will never get one high. Thanks for the detailed information


Precisely. :D

I never knew hemp fiber, are used to

making products such as clothing, ropes, paper, sails, and medical supplies. Hemp is also used to develop renewable plastics.

Even in automobile industries!! Am impressed, never knew this until now. I think I use hemp products always.


Yeah, I only use a few but try make my own skin care lotion with coconut butter, hemp oil and a few other essential oils.

The other biggest reason hemp was illegal was because of the applications it has! Big industrial companies didn't want hemp being produced because it would've put them out of business! Hemp can make anything from clothes/rope to plastics and fuel! Big oil and Big pharma are the two largest contributors to the illegality of the entire cannabis family! :)

Just incase anyone was unaware! But I think most of you are pretty well educated people, from our interactions on here, so I'm sure you already knew and this was just a friendly reminder. ;)

I am growing hemp from seeds and take CBD oil daily for arthritis and anxiety issues

Great post.... I am growing a kind of mystery Cannabis from seed. Not sure if Cannabis or Hemp ... supposed to have 10%CBD and 1% THC. Will post some photos on my blog

Cannabis > Hemp always


I like the high CBD in my hemp

Do you use hemp products in your day to day life?
Yes, I used it daily for medical purpose.

Thanks for awesome content, happy to be one of your followers, as I can read here really great articles..