What’s The Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana?

What’s The Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana?

CBD has been making a splash in recent years and for a good reason! People who prefer to avoid pharmaceutical medicine are especially partial to CBD’s more natural offerings. And many turn to its potential benefits of helping with sleep, chronic pain, and inflammation. But did you know that there is a difference between hemp-derived CBD vs. marijuana-derived CBD? Read on for a breakdown of quality, legality, and potency of these two different types of CBD. 


You are probably familiar with the famous five leave marijuana leaf. What you may not know is that it has been around for a very long time. Some archaeological findings date the first known marijuana use to 500 BC China!

Marijuana and hemp both belong to the cannabis family of plants. CBD oil extracted from both varieties of cannabis are molecularly identical and have similar effects. But the legality and accessibility of the two are very different. 

Marijuana cannabis plants contain anywhere from 5% to 20% of THC - the euphoria and “high” producing compound. Because of the psychotropic effect that marijuana causes, it is classified as a Schedule I substance by the DEA, which, as you may have guessed, makes it illegal. 

Marijuana used to have a reputation of a street drug. And even though it is now legal in many states, it still carries some of that stigma. Although CBD products derived from marijuana often don’t have any THC in the final product, the fact that they are derived from marijuana makes them illegal in some states and federally. 


Hemp is a crop that has a rich history. There are artifacts of clothing and rope made out of hemp that date back to 8,000 BC. Hemp also has a history of being used for the manufacturing of oil, paper, food,  and building materials

The hemp plant may look and smell identical to marijuana, but there is one big difference. In order to comply with the law, hemp plants must contain less than .3% of THC. In 2018 a new Farm Bill was passed. In it, the USDA stated that the industrial production of hemp was now legal on the federal level. The DEA also removed hemp from its Schedule I substance list. 

This new development resulted in a CBD industry boom. There is now a large number of both hemp and marijuana-derived CBD products available for purchase. You can try CBD edibles, capsules, lotions, beverages, and even dog treats. 

In addition to CBD sourcing, hemp is also presently used to manufacture clothing, paper, building materials, cooking oil, and hemp flour. 

The Verdict

As we learned above, hemp and marijuana share many similarities. They can look and smell the same, but their biggest difference is the amount of THC that they contain. You can buy marijuana or hemp-derived CBD products, and the effects of both are likely to be the same. However, if your profession or personal preferences don’t allow you to consume THC or marijuana-related products, hemp-derived CBD is a safer bet for you!