Marijuana and Hemp. The distinction between the two continues to be debated for a long time, as stoners are sharply divided about their differences. From the taxonomical perspective, marijuana and hemp are two distinct names of the same cannabis plant (genus). Even the appearance and odors of hemp and marijuana are almost identical and virtually impossible to tell apart.
So, where or how do you draw the dividing line between the two plant species? For a start, marijuana plants contain approximately 5%-30% of THC the strong psychoactive compound reputed for its intense psychoactive effects. On the other hand, hemp contains about 0.3% (or even less) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-not enough to even get a slight buzz.
The continuously rising demand for CBD has facilitated the development of an independent and well-entrenched market for CBD. The CBD market’s intimate relationship and nexus with the cannabis industry give rise to numerous complexities which bewilder CBD users. Hence, it becomes imperative to realize the distinction between marijuana and hemp with regards to their association with the cannabis plant.
Both marijuana and hemp can be traced to the cannabis plant
Cannabis as a flowering plant genus belonging to the Cannabaceae family basically comprises of three distinct species: cannabis indica, cannabis Sativa, and cannabis ruderalis. Both marijuana and hemp have long been accepted into the popular smoking culture as extensive taxonomies of the cannabis plant.
Hemp is classified as cannabis sativa species containing approximately 0.3% or less of THC in terms of dry weight. Hemp plants, by and large, comprise the non-intoxicating varieties of cannabis, chiefly cultivated for producing items serving a commercial purpose. The different parts of hemp plants are used for making textiles, rope, netting, canvas, tarps, paper, food and body care products, construction materials, but is mostly known for its CBD and all the health benefits that so many people are reporting. For the best organic doctor formulated CBD check out our shop!
It is alleged that people cultivated hemp more than 10,000 years ago, possibly making it the first crop to be harvested.
Marijuana refers to those cannabis strains that contain THC to the extent of 5%-30% -a concentration level strong enough to bring on psychedelic effects. However, using the term or expression “marijuana” is considered a taboo in popular American culture. Majority of the regulatory bodies and organizations prefer to use the word or term “cannabis” for referring to the flowering plant.
The migration of innumerable Mexicans into the US in the early 20thcentury led to the introduction of the terminology. A rumor began to take root (which later became widespread) that the Mexican variety of cannabis-induced fatal homicidal propensities. The ultimate fallout of the rumor was that eleven US states had proscribed by 1927.
The enactment and promulgation of Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 catalyzed the embargoing of cannabis for the next eight decades.
Why stoners mistake hemp for marijuana and vice versa?
It is really intriguing as to why stoners cannot tell a hemp strain from a marijuana variety. The THC percentage or proportion is a standard yardstick for differentiating hemp from marijuana. Considering that users’ toke on cannabis extracts singularly for the herb’s intoxicating effects, the parameter (THC concentration) becomes a standardized basis for distinguishing between the two.
Marijuana vis-à-vis hemp: Some notable differences
The striking limitations of marijuana and hemp could make it remarkably difficult to differentiate between the two. However, telling hemp apart from marijuana becomes easier when you consider the following aspects.
Based on composition
The chemical composition of marijuana and hemp is the best way to distinguish one from the other. Take note that both marijuana and hemp can contain high levels of CBD (cannabidiol)-a non-intoxicating chemical compound touted for its therapeutic effects. However, marijuana plants contain a much higher proportion of THC compared to hemp plant species.
Some marijuana strains contain up to 30% THC in comparison to the hemp’s 0.3%. Not surprisingly when it comes to seeking a high, users invariably choose marijuana varieties over hemp strains.
Based on cultivation
The growing conditions of hemp greatly vary with those needed for healthy growth and development of marijuana. Their dissimilar growing conditions accounts for the fact that their extracts have distinct applications. Growing and harvesting hemp tends to be easier in comparison to marijuana.
Hemp plants thrive outdoors, and therefore the species is for the most part cultivated outdoors. You do not need to take a high level of care or give meticulous attention to farming hemp. Growers and cultivators farming hemp commercially seek to achieve only one objective and that are to maximize yield.
Marijuana strains, in sharp contrast, can require painstaking care and thrive when cultivated in regulated indoor environments (hydroponics or aquaculture). The strain needs to be selected very carefully so that the saplings grow up to become female plants which yield resinous buds. You also need to provide the growing conditions appropriate for the specific marijuana species.
You will also have to good attention to the marijuana plants, at every stage of their life cycle. For instance, you’ve to keep a close eye on the ambient temperature, humidity, lighting, and nutritional aspects. Inability to maintain the right growing conditions could adversely affect the quality of the harvest or crop.
On the basis of application/usage
The chemical composition of hemp and marijuana determines the distinct uses their extracts are put to. Hemp has earned the unique distinction of being the world’s most robust natural fiber. At the same, hemp happens to be the most versatile of all-natural fibers known to humankind, having more than 50,000 different applications!
Let us take a look at the different look at the various uses of hemp, classified under the following board categories: –
- Industrial textiles (caulking, carpeting, tarps, canvas, netting, and molded parts)
- Textiles (fine fabrics, shoes, denim, handbags, and diapers)
- Paper (packaging, cardboard, newsprint, and printing)
- Construction materials (fiberglass substitute, acrylics, insulation, fiberboard, coatings, solvents, fuel, oil paints, and varnishes)
- Body care (cosmetics, balms, lotions, shampoos, and soaps)
- Food products (EFA supplements, hemp protein powder, seed oil, and seed hearts)
After going through the article, you will appreciate that there is not much to differentiate between hemp and marijuana, given their similar appearance and flavor. It is only when you take into the account the aspects of chemical composition, usage, and cultivation that you discover some noteworthy differences between the two.
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