Hemp vs. Marijuana

Cannabis is used for a number of reasons. Not only is it used to consume and get high or medicated, but it’s also used for industrial purposes. Cannabis is used to make rope, clothing, shoes, paper, biofuel, and many others. However, this industrial cannabis is not exactly the same as the cannabis you smoke. In fact, this type of cannabis has its own name, it’s called hemp. As for the cannabis that you smoke, that is informally known as marijuana. Can’t tell the difference? Let’s compare and contrast the two so we all finally know the real distinction.

They are the Same Plant

So are hemp and marijuana different than each other? The answer is technically no. They are actually the same plant, just different versions of one another. These versions are not necessarily different species or genera, only different classifications. As for the way that hemp and marijuana are grown, it is very similar. They even look and smell like each other!

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Think about sativa and indica. Both come from a cannabis plant, but each holds its own traits and values. Same goes for hemp and marijuana, however, with a twist. You would not necessarily want to smoke hemp. You won’t get different effects from a high like you would with sativas and indicas. Instead, something else would happen.

So, What is Hemp?

Sativas and indicas actually both fall under the marijuana version, while hemp is all on it’s own. This is because hemp is classified as cannabis with a THC level of 0.3% or lower. Anything above that is considered marijuana, and has the possibility to get you high. To simplify things, if it gets you high it’s marijuana, if not it’s hemp. But hemp does have it’s uses. Primarily, it is used for industrial purposes. Hemp has a large number of benefits that it can offer in this world (estimated to be around 50,000 benefits!). In fact, hemp is the strongest natural fiber in the world! Check out some uses of hemp below:

Hemp Information Chart

Before the Agricultural Act of 2018, the word “hemp” was not a legal term used to describe this version of cannabis. Instead, it was only known as industrial and lower than 0.3% THC cannabis. And it had been that way for thousands of years. Evidence of the use of hemp dates all the way back to 10,00 years ago. Some even believe that hemp was the first cultivated crop ever.

Not only can hemp be used industrially (as the chart above proves), but it can also be used to help with body care. Hemp is great for the skin. It can:

  • treat dry skin and psoriasis
  • reduce acne
  • give off nutrients
  • reduce wrinkles and signs of aging

You can find hemp-infused products just about anywhere (that hemp is legal)! For example, many stores that sell lotions and topicals also sell hemp-infused topicals. There are also ways to make your own hemp products. Alternatively, hemp oil can be consumed orally, if you prefer that method.

Click here to check out our Hemp Lotion Review.


Marijuana and hemp have similarities, right? Yes! They have many similarities, more than meets the eye. First let’s start off with the fact that they are both a plant, they are both green, they both need water to survive, and they both practice photosynthesis. Okay, that’s the basics. Let’s talk about what you guys want to actually know about.

Hemp and marijuana both derive from the cannabis plant family. In fact, the structure of these plants is very, very similar. From the roots to the stem to the leaves, hemp and marijuana plants look almost identical. Take a look at a hemp plant and a marijuana plant below:

Hemp and Marijuana

Looks very similar, right? Unfortunately, law enforcement officers have arrested those in possession of hemp thinking that it was marijuana. Yes, the hemp might have been legal, but officers have still mistaken hemp for marijuana in places where marijuana is illegal. For this reason, I highly recommend not carrying hemp around with you in places where marijuana is still illegal.


As you may be thinking, one difference between hemp and marijuana is the fact that hemp is legal in most places that marijuana is illegal. The main reason being THC levels. As you may know, the primary factor that can be contrasted between hemp and marijuana is that hemp contains 0.3% THC and lower, while anything above that is considered marijuana. THC use is still illegal in most parts of the world. Until that changes, hemp may only be allowed in your area and not marijuana. Many cannabis users wish that it was the other way around, since marijuana is the fun one.

Since hemp can be used industrially, most parts of the world have legalized it. In the United States, hemp was actually made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substance Act. In 2018, however, legality was brought back to hemp in the U.S., as it’s properties and benefits were finally recognized. On the other hand, marijuana is only legal in certain states, while the other states are still fighting to gain nationwide legalization.

If you are a marijuana smoker, than the biggest difference to you is the fact that hemp cannot get you high. Go ahead, smoke all the hemp you want. You might as well be smoking air. Nothing will happen, only the fact that you wasted some hemp. Instead, why not put that hemp to use? You could always make some hemp wick, and use that for smoking!

If you are someone who does not use marijuana, but uses hemp, then the biggest difference to you is that marijuana cannot be used for industrial purposes. Even if it could, why would it be used like that? There are far too many uses in the consumption of marijuana rather than to use it for industrial purposes; that’s what hemp is for!

To summarize this whole post, hemp and marijuana both derive from the cannabis plant family, and are only different classifications of cannabis. Hemp is any cannabis that contains 0.3% THC or less. It is primarily used for industrial purposes, and also has a number of benefits for body health. Marijuana is any cannabis that contains 0.4% THC or more. It is primarily smoked or ingested for its benefits and psychoactive effects. In addition, hemp is legal in most parts of the world, while marijuana is not. So, which do you like better: hemp or marijuana?

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Evan Weston

Evan Weston is a contributor to Reefer Posts, a growing community for exploring the developing market of Cannabis and CBD-related products. He spends a lot of time researching the development of health-related products that utilize Cannabis and CBD oils. He also keeps tabs on the developing legal environment regarding medical, recreational cannabis use, and production.

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