You might have heard from some people that Hemp and Marijuana are completely similar. On the other hand, some people are convinced that they are completely different. The actual argument between these two things is created because of the confusion that the cannabis plant produces.
However, we will now reveal the true story and highlight the main difference that exist between industrial hemp and marijuana. To point out the difference in a detailed way, we would need to examine other subjects as well e.g. botany, genetics, linguistics and as well as law.
So let’s begin this article with the definition of cannabis plant.
As all of you know, marijuana and industrial hemp are both created from the same flower producing plant, cannabis. They come from the same genus of cannabis. Genus basically refers to a sub-family of plants and not a single species. Which mainly means, that there might be many other types of cannabis plants with exceptional differences. So scientifically, a number of species can co-exist within a single genus, just like the case of cannabis.
Different Growing Types of Cannabis:
There are mainly three different species of the cannabis plant in its genus.
The most common type of cannabis is cannabis sativa. It has been cultivated and grown all along history to fulfill a number of purposes. These purposes can include the production of seed oil, food, hemp fiber (for clothes and rope), medicine, and even recreation.
Cannabis Ruderalis refers to a species of cannabis that is concerned to Russia and is grown earlier. It can survive in much tougher and harsher conditions than Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is thought to be the toughest of the three but is not rich in the matters of cannabinoids as it has a lower THC content than the other two types of cannabis.
Cannabis Indica is described as shorter as and much bushier than sativa. This species of cannabis was first discovered in India. Some scientists are convinced that the existence of Cannabis indica is near extinction due to the problems with botanical taxonomy.
THC is present in lowest density in Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa has lesser CBD and more of THC. While Cannabis indica has lesser THC and more CBD. However, centuries of cultivation and artificial selection of cannabis plant has led to various differences under similar species of the plant. This depends on the reason of cultivation for the cannabis plant.
Humans have cultivated cannabis for various reasons. This leaves no surprise to the existence of several varying species of cannabis plant, which are bred for special purposes with help of artificial selection. These varying species have special properties which are used for medicinal purposes, industrial use and even as food.
Cannabis Sativa has the most scope for industrial hemp use. It has been artificially modified to grow taller and sturdier, while having lesser levels of THC. The purpose of this artificial selection is to use this plant in the production of resin, fuel, cloth, rope, hemp oil, wax, animal feed, food etc.
Cannabis Sativa is also used in production of medical marijuana. The variant plant of the species Cannabis Sativa has been artificially bred to enhance the concentration of cannabinoids in the plant. Cannabis ruderalis naturally possesses lesser amount of THC, so it is also used for medical purposes.
Hemp vs Marijuana: The Major Difference
The most significant, and probably the only, difference between medical marijuana and industrial hemp is that industrial hemp is especially extracted from Cannabis sativa plant which possesses lowest quantity of THC. This plant is artificially selected and bred to produce significantly low levels of THC.
Another significant property of a hemp plant is that it is tall, has fibrous and strong stems, and there are very few flowering buds. However, Marijuana stems are short, these are usually bush-like and are concentrated in THC.
Industrial hemp and medical marijuana plants look so particularly unlike each other that you will not be able to guess that both plants belong to the same species, if encountered in the wild.
Industrial hemp always possess traces of THC and naturally contains highly concentrations of CBD. On the other hand, marijuana is especially bred to contain high concentration of THC. This makes it impossible for industrial hemp consumption to get you intoxicated from ingesting the plant in any form.