And what is the difference?
YES! Both Marijuana and Hemp are both species in the Cannabis plant family- Hemp (Cannabis Sativa Sativa) and Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa Indica). The major distinctions between them lie predominately in their chemical content, legal status, usage, & cultivation. Because CBD is a compound found in both varieties of Cannabis, the legalities can become challenging to navigate. Hopefully this will clear things up.
Hemp and Marijuana are grown and cultivated based on usage. Hemp grown for seed, fiber or CBD each have their own unique challenges and cultivation techniques. Unlike Marijuana, Industrial hemp is planted very densely due to the long and slender stalks (4+ plants per sq. ft) and is predominantly an outdoor crop due to heights that vary from 3′-20′ (with the majority being in the 8′-15′ range). They have narrow leaves With a growth cycle of 90-120 days, it is actually a fairly low maintenance crop to grow once it has been planted- read here to learn more.
The defining factor between Hemp & Marijuana lies in the THC content. This was purely a political way to distinguish the intention of use and ban Marijuana’s psychoactive effects. Hemp is defined at having less than .3% THC content. Since there is a variety of uses for hemp and strains that serve specific purposes, it is no surprise that there are huge variations in sizes of plant and CBD content. Industrial hemp is grown for fiber and is naturally tall and “stalky.” Other hemp strains are selectively bred to maintain low to no THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydocannabinol) levels and have higher CBD levels (called PCR Hemp – or phytocannabinoid rich hemp). Even though you can’t distinguish chemical compound levels at a glance, you can sometimes see the difference in how each plant is grown and cultivated.
Marijuana (both medical and recreational) is more labor intensive and environment specific. Lighting, humidity, nutrient levels, and genetics all play a huge role in producing a viable crop. It typically is shorter- 3′-6′ with a more bushy appearance due to “topping” the plant to produce more branches/flowers/bud/yield. The leaves tend to be more broad and might vary in color from greenish gold to even a purple hue.
Because Hemp is grown for multiple uses, the Federal government has revised their stance on its cultivation through the 2018 Farm Bill allowing American farmers to now grow and process hemp as an agricultural commodity. Prior to this, it was considered a Schedule I controlled substance.
Historically (since the early 1600s) hemp been a staple for american homes and used for paper, rope, clothing, and lamp fuel. Unfortunately, in the 1937, hemp got “lumped in” with Marijuana when the Marihuana Tax Act was passed- which made it difficult for farmers to afford the tax & licensing required for legal cultivation. Although the government recognized Hemp and Marijuana to be separate & distinct Cannabis plants, they ended up being grouped together under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (despite the fact that an exemption for Hemp was outlined in this document). For more info on the history of hemp click here.