As public interest in cannabidiol continues to soar, the likelihood of confusing hemp and marijuana is always high. Although they’re both sativa plants, hemp is not exactly the same as marijuana. Well, if they are different, then which is best, hemp or marijuana? To understand the difference properly, you’ll have to look at their different properties, as well as their uses.
Marijuana vs. Hemp Compared
Comparatively, hemp (cannabis sativa) has a much lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, but a higher cannabidiol (CBD) concentration. The marijuana plant contains up to 30% of THC but very low amounts of CBD.
That means, typically, marijuana is psychoactive due to its high THC content. Understandably, hemp is not very psychoactive due to its low THC concentration.
Additionally, marijuana-derived CBD is illegal in many places such as the US, while hemp-derived cannabidiol is lawful. At the chemical level, CBDs from both sativa strains have the same structure.
That said, if you were given a marijuana plant and a hemp plant, it will be hard to differentiate them by visual inspection alone. Lab testing may have to be carried out before you can identify them with high precision.
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Which is Best: Marijuana or Hemp?
Since the two plants have different uses, it’s hard to tell which is best. After all, “best” is a matter of opinion. The applications of the two plants differ from user to user, as seen in the following headlines.
THC is Psychoactive
Marijuana is the best source of THC. With THC concentrations hovering around 25–30%, marijuana is the go-to plant for users who want to experience the high effects of THC.
Hemp is the best source of cannabidiol
Marijuana contains very low amounts of CBD (less than 0.3%). If you want to extract more CBD, then choose a hemp plant.
Hemp is mostly grown for medicinal and industrial purposes due to its high CBD content. Farmers grow marijuana mainly because it’s a wealthy source of THC. That means, for recreational users who want to get high with THC, marijuana will be the best bet, except that you may run into trouble with your local laws.
Conversely, cannabis users who want to derive the medicinal benefits of the sativa plant without affecting their mental functions, will choose hemp over marijuana.
In America, it’s legal for farmers to grow hemp. Nevertheless, this legalization does not apply to marijuana since it’s still classified as a Schedule I drug. Also, under federal laws, marijuana-derived THC is strictly prohibited.
The Bottom Line
We have shown that the marijuana vs. hemp battle is a tough one. Nevertheless, each of them is very powerful with its own unique applications. Globally, estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the number of cannabis users is about 147 million. This trend is expected to grow further as CBD’s popularity keeps climbing.