Many people believe falsely that hemp and marijuana are entirely distinct plant species.
Truth be told, they shouldn’t even be considered separate species. Both refer to the same blooming plant in the Cannabaceae family known by several other names.
Although there is no clear scientific distinction between hemp and marijuana, there is a legal one.
The amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present is the defining characteristic from a legal standpoint.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid (a substance found in cannabis). It’s the main factor in why marijuana produces its characteristic “high.”
Hemp, what is it?
As a noun, “hemp” refers to cannabis with a THC level of 0.3% or less based on its dry weight.
Exactly why 0.3%? This term was originally offered in a 1979 book titled “The Species Problem in Cannabis: Science & Semantics.”
Because there is no true taxonomic distinction between hemp and cannabis, the author, Ernest Small, addresses the problem of trying to tell the two apart in his book.
Even though he presented the 0.3 percent rule as a possible solution, Small admitted that it was an arbitrary amount.
According to the Agricultural Act of 2018 and other laws in the United States, this figure was used to define hemp as a legal substance.
Hemp contains such a negligible amount of THC that it will not likely cause intoxication.
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When asked, “What is cannabis?”
Standard cannabis plants include C. indica, C. Sativa, and C. ruderalis. In addition, there is a wide variety of hybrid plants that combine two or more of these types. The amounts of THC in these cannabis plants are far higher and more variable than in hemp plants.
The CBD content of these plants is lower than that of hemp plants, and this gap has been widening over time.
The average potency of cannabis plants increased from around 4% in 1995 to 12% in 2014, according to an analysis conducted in 2016. The average concentration of CBD dropped from 0.28% in 2001 to below 0.15% in 2014.
How do you define marijuana?
Cannabis, the psychoactive relative of hemp, has a long history of drug use. Cannabis sativa plants may or may not make up the bulk of marijuana depending on the taxonomy you use.
Although marijuana and hemp are both cannabinoids, they are treated very differently by law and chemically.
Marijuana’s high THC content makes it a powerful intoxicant. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and THC is classified as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act.
The prohibition on marijuana has been overturned in many states, which now operate legal marijuana farms and dispensaries for medical and recreational use.
There are many different ways to buy marijuana. Marijuana flowers, once harvested, are one of the most widely sold items.
However, like hemp, marijuana is often exposed to extraction to make concentrated extracts that can be marketed on their own or utilized as an ingredient in candies, topicals, and other products.
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Hemp vs. weed: what’s the difference?
These days, the words “cannabis” and “marijuana” are sometimes used interchangeably in the business world, which might lead to some confusion.
Since “cannabis” refers to a genus of flowering plants that contains both hemp and marijuana, it is not entirely true to omit hemp when using the name.
In the past, the term “marijuana” was used to differentiate between hemp cannabis and other types of cannabis based on the amount of psychoactive compound (THC) they contained.
This threshold may appear random at first glance, yet it has become a clear enough norm that new strains of cannabis are developed with it in mind.
THC concentration has become the benchmark in the legal cannabis and hemp CBD businesses, despite the fact that cannabis plants contain several cannabinoids in addition to many more chemical components.
Hemp and marijuana are both plants of the Cannabaceae family, although they are on opposite sides of the law.
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