Knowing the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp

December 17, 2020

Marijuana, hemp and cannabis are terms that are often loosely used interchangeably. Without a grounded knowledge on what they mean and how they’re applied, you might make the same mistake many have made when speaking about cannabis and terms under the topic.

While it might seem that they mean the same thing, they are starkly different and can be applied to different purposes.

This is not to spoil the fun but for simplicity, it is the amount of THC content in a cannabis plant that differentiates hemp from marijuana.

Yea! I said it, but there is still more to know to gain a clearer understanding of what they mean and how to use them in conversations. In this article, we would define what each of the term means, their origin and how they differ from each other.

Cannabis: Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family. It consists of three primary species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

In urban culture classification, cannabis is simply a broad classification for both hemp and marijuana. But for clarity, while hemp and marijuana are regularly referred to as “species” or “strains” of Cannabis, they actually do not qualify as either one. In fact, hemp and marijuana are not legitimate nomenclature for the cannabis plant. They have just been used so frequently and interchangeably with Cannabis that they have become stuck in the lingo of most cannabis enthusiasts.

Hemp: Hemp is a broad term used to classify strains or species of Cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight). While this is the legal definition as legitimized by the Agricultural Act of 2018, the word hemp has always been generally used to describe non-intoxicating Cannabis that is harvested for industrial use and for use as raw materials.

Marijuana: Marijuana is the broad term used to classify strains or species of Cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC content (by dry weight). Cannabis plants often referred to as marijuana contain as high as 30% THC content and are often the varieties that causes psychoactive reactions when consumed.

The amount of THC content in a cannabis plant is what differentiates hemp from marijuana.

What are the Effects of Hemp and Marijuana on the Body?

Cannabis contains lots of useful derivatives including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. but the major compounds found in the plant are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The amount of these two in particular specie of cannabis is what earns it the designate; hemp or marijuana.

Plants with high amount of THC are often referred to as Marijuana and those with lower amount of THC and higher amount of CBD are termed hemp.

Together or apart, they influence the Endocannabinoid system ECS to support its function of maintaining balance in the body.


Hemp and Marijuana have the roles they play in the body but with legalization requirements hanging in the balance, you would be in the right if you stick with hemp.  All of Mary Jane's CBD products contain less than .3% THC.


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