Our mission is to change people’s misconceptions about hemp and help them understand its benefits. In this article, we discuss the main differences between hemp and marijuana.
It would be wrong to claim that hemp and marijuana are two different types of plants – these plants belong to the same group of the hemp (Cannabaceae) plant family called Cannabis Sativa. The main difference between these plant species is the amount of the psychotropic substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the beneficial cannabinol (CBD) they contain. In most countries of the European Union, hemp plants with a THC content of less than 0.2% are classified as hemp, which can be legally grown and used by various industries (food, cosmetics, clothing, etc.). And all other hemp plants with a psychotropic THC content of more than 0.2% are classified as narcotic cannabis (marijuana).
In short, both types of hemp contain a wide range of cannabinoids. The difference is that the dominant cannabinoid in narcotic cannabis is the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can range from 5 to 30%, while the dominant cannabinoid in hemp is the beneficial cannabidiol (CBD) and the content of THC is less than 0.2%, so it is completely safe to use.
Visually, the two plants are quite different. If you compared them side by side, the differences would be obvious. Typically, marijuana has wider leaves with dense, large flowers and is more bush-like, growing up to 2 meters tall. In contrast, a hemp plant grows much taller (up to 4 meters) and visually appears slimmer with narrower leaves, most of which are at the top of the plant.
The defining difference between these two plants is their chemical composition, especially the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in 5 to 30% of marijuana plants. The THC content in hemp is less than 0.2%, so it has no psychoactive effects. The permissible limit of THC in hemp is strictly regulated in most countries of the European Union and ranges from 0.2 to 0.3%.
Growing marijuana requires a lot of care, the right conditions, optimal temperature, enough light and moisture. These plants are usually grown indoors and are highly susceptible to various diseases, molds, etc., which is why fertalisers and pesticides are used. Hemp is relatively easy to grow. It grows well in various conditions and does not require much care, so it can be grown quickly and organically, without fertilisers and chemicals.
Hemp is very different from marijuana in its properties, applications in industry, cultivation and functionality. However, these differences did not change the decision of the politicians in 1970 to include all types of hemp plants and their forms in the list of category I narcotic substances.
More than 50 years later, the perception of hemp and its products has yet again changed in most countries of the world and hemp is no longer identified as marijuana. Nowadays, hemp can be and is used in thousands of different ways, including but not limited to various nutritional supplements, cosmetics, skin care products, pharmaceuticals, clothing, construction materials, etc. Read more about the importance of hemp in Lithuania and the world in this article.