Hemp vs Marijuana : Everything You Need to Know

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Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference

The terms “Hemp” and “Marijuana” are frequently misused. Both people in and outside the cannabis industry use these phrases to refer to the same cannabis kind. This is entirely false. 

They are both cannabis varietals. However, they have highly different legal statuses, applications, and advantages. In addition, while the other is exclusively limited to states with legislation allowing its usage, one is more legal in parts of India. Therefore, we’ve compiled a straightforward yet thorough reference about Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana.

Hemp vs Marijuana

A Brief Overview of the Cannabis Family

The Cannabaceae family includes all cannabis plants, including Hemp vs Marijuana. However, the hop plant (Humulus lupulus), one of the main components in beer brewing, is the only notable member of the Cannabis family. There are three varieties of Cannabis within the Cannabacea family, each with distinct growth traits.

Cannabis Sativa

The species of Cannabis that is most often grown is Cannabis sativa. This species has hundreds of strains, some with high THC levels (from Marijuana) and others with deficient THC levels (Hemp). 

Cannabis Sativa favors places where the humidity is much higher and the growing season is more extended and is thought to be the origin of this species. However, it is also grown primarily in parts of India such as Uttar PradeshBecause of this, it extends the largest and has the most prolonged flowering period among all cannabis species.

Please refer to this guide to know more about Hemp – Understanding Hemp : A Beginners guide to Hemp

Cannabis Indica

To accommodate the shorter growing seasons, cannabis Indica, native to northern latitudes, has a considerably better tolerance for cold weather and a significantly shorter flowering period. 

Its smaller plant and giant blossom have only lately made it a favored species among producers who want to cultivate psychotropic harvests. This is perfect for those who grow plants indoors under lighting. Usually, a vast Cannabis sativa strain would become too tall to be appropriately grown indoors without specific attention to the layout of the growing area.

There are currently no strains of Cannabis Indica categorised as Hemp. Therefore, this species is classified as Marijuana in its entirety.

Cannabis Ruderalis

The less popular variety of Cannabis is Cannabis Ruderalis. It is a little plant with extremely meager yields and little discernible fibre content. 

This strain’s propensity to generate flowers regardless of the day’s duration sets it apart from others. Comparatively, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are greatly influenced by the length of the day (the days growing shorter triggers them to begin flowering).

Growth Habits

Cannabis and Hemp can grow in very similar ways. Cannabis sativa strains used to make Hemp and Marijuana both have thin leaves and tend to grow very tall. Cannabis indica-derived strains of Marijuana are characterised by thicker, bushier, and shorter kinds of leaves.

The resin created by female flower buds creates most of the difference in growth patterns between Hemp vs Marijuana. Cannabis strains have resins that are comparatively thicker and stickier than Hemp. Contrarily, Hemp has much less resin and tends to store valuable cannabinoids within its lush, dark leaves.

Chemical Composition

The primary difference between Hemp vs Marijuana is in their chemical make-up. As previously stated, hemp strains are only categorised as such if their dried weight THC content is less than 0.3%. THC Content above this level is regarded as Marijuana.

There are about 80 additional cannabinoids in the plant, and they can all differ significantly. For example, while some hemp contains virtually solely CBD, others include significant levels of different cannabinoids, including CBC or CBG (cannabigerol).


Hemp vs Marijuana often have different appearances. When you look at the shape of their leaves, Marijuana usually has broad leaves, a tight bud, or resembles a nugget with tiny hairs or crystals. The leaves of Hemp, on the other hand, are thinner and more numerous at the top. Below the top of the plant, there are not many branches or leaves. When viewed from a distance, Marijuana resembles a short, plump bush. Hemp is often taller and leaner, mainly when it is farmed for fibre or seed (up to 20 ft). You’ll find that industrial hemp farms are more expensive than marijuana farms.

You’ll notice that Marijuana has a higher concentration of thick, sticky resin during the growth phase. This resin appears on the flower buds as a bed of tiny white crystals. All essential plant chemicals are kept in this resin (CBD, THC, etc.) 

Conversely, Hemp doesn’t have as much resin. The plant’s leaves contain the majority of the medicinal plant components. In actuality, Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THC) and Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) are abundant in the leaves (THCA).

Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp vs Marijuana: Is Hemp Same As Weed?

Cannabis leaves, stalks, and flowers have higher Cannabinoid contents than seeds, which entirely lack Cannabinoids. Cannabis flower is mainly used in making edibles as well as smoked Cannabis. It is frequently preferred by people who want Cannabis for therapeutic uses.

THC-rich cannabis strains are used to treat conditions like pain. While they won’t get you high, strains high in Cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD) but low in THC may also have positive effects.

Hemp, or Cannabis containing less than 0.3 per cent THC, is used for making items which include: Paper, textiles, garments, animal feed, plastic, and food items like hemp seed, milk, oil, and protein powder.

Hemp grows faster than trees and other crops, so using Hemp to produce goods like paper and textiles is more sustainable. In addition, given that it contains a complete protein and a lot of fibre, hemp seed is highly nutrient-dense.

Which is Better Medicinally?

It’s debatable whether Hemp vs Marijuana is more effective as medicine, while we think it depends on the ailment being treated. However, it has been proven that neither is better, while CBD-rich marijuana extracts may be more effective for some diseases.

Learn more about Medical Marijuana here

Effects on the body 

No portion of the hemp plant may have a psychoactive effect because it contains little to no THC, making it highly safe. The THC amount of cannabis strains varies greatly, but the typical plant probably contains enough THC to provide a mildly euphoric high. While some people are happy about not having complete control, others are not. Any hemp product would be ideal for those who only want to enjoy the advantages of the cannabis plant without becoming high. 


India’s primary cannabis law is the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, passed in 1985. (Marijuana). On the other hand, each state has its laws covering the use, possession, sale, and purchase of Marijuana. In India, possessing these drugs is typically a crime that might land you in hot water with the law. Therefore, Marijuana is currently illegal in India. 

However, there is an exception for marijuana use. The NDPS Act outlaws the sale and production of cannabis resin and flowers but allows states to control and enforce local laws regarding the usage of cannabis seeds and leaves. Section 10 of the NDPS Act of 1985 gives the states this ability.

The state government of Uttarakhand has become the first in India to grant a permit for hemp cultivation. Hemp can be grown legally if THC is less than 0.3%. The other state that has legalised hemp cultivation in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh may soon join us as the third state. 

However, there is no prohibition on conducting hemp research, for which we can obtain a license easily anywhere in India.

Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp Vs Marijuana : Future 

Hemp has enormous potential to expand into the food industry and displace several essential resources. For example, Hemp is a leading candidate to compete with the paper and textile industries, which annually consume around 7 million hectares of forest due to their rapid growth and ability to be sustainably cultivated. In addition, as nations worldwide relax their cannabis regulations to let CBD and THC goods into the market, Cannabis growing for medicinal purposes is another vast sector.