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Part 1 of a 4 part series The Difference between Marijuana and Hemp Plants

Part 1 of a 4 part series:

The Difference between

Marijuana and Hemp Plants

What is the difference between a marijuana plant and a hemp plant?

green cannabis plant

Marijuana and hemp are from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa.

As a simplified example, take our pets for instance— say you have a Labrador and a German Shepard, they are both canines but they are different breeds. It’s the same with Cannabis Sativa. Both marijuana and hemp are both Cannabis sativa.  However, both plants are genetically distinct forms of cannabis. This distinction is made by their chemical composition, various methods for cultivating and of course their use.

The Statutory Definition of Hemp

“The plant cannabis sativa L and any part of the plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not with a delta-9  tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis”. (section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (AMA)).

The Statutory Definition of Marijuana

“All parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., weather growing or not; the seeds there of; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound manufacture, salt, derivative, next year, or preparation of such plant, it’s seeds or resin. Such term does not include them in short stocks of such plant, fiber produced from such stocks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, Manufacture, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stocks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of gemination.”  (21 U.S.C.802(16))

Will I get high from hemp?

Marijuana is bred for high levels of TCH found in the buds/flowers of the plant.

There is no threshold on the amount of THC in marijuana. Hemp must not contain more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. The conclusion is the minuscule amount of  THC in hemp will not produce any psychoactive effects.  In other words, marijuana gets you high and hemp will not.

Size of the plants

Hemp plants are tall and leafy. Stalks are from 10-15 feet and 6-9 feet for seed

Marijuana plants are 4-8 feet for flower

Differences in their genetic makeup

The term industrial hemp dates back to the 1960s

and generally refers to cannabis varieties that are grown primarily as an agricultural crop, such as seeds and fiber and byproducts such as oil, seed cake, and hurds. Hemp is generally characterized by plants that are low in delta-9 THC, the dominant psychotrophic compound in Cannabis sativa. In addition to its low THC content, hemp generally has high levels of CBD, the primary non-psychotropic compound in Cannabis sativa.  

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