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Hemp Vs Marijuana: What’s The Difference?

April 30, 2019 3 min read

Hemp Vs Marijuana: What’s The Difference?

Here at Ignite, we care what people think about cannabis and the questions on their minds on the subject. Lately, some of the questions we’re asked most often are “what is the difference between hemp and marijuana”?, “is hemp the same as marijuana?” and “is marijuana the same as hemp?”. Of course, these are all really asking the same question and, at last, we give you the definitive answer!

Marijuana is the dried flower belonging to the female cannabis plant, and it can come from either of the two species cannabis indica or cannabis sativa. Hemp, however, is only derived from the cannabis sativa family. A lot of the confusion revolves around the fact that both marijuana and hemp come from the same family – but they’re in fact quite different.

First of all, they look different. Marijuana is much “bushier” than hemp and its leaves are broad whereas hemp is leaner with much shinier leaves.

Let’s dig down to the DNA to find more significant differences, since cannabis is comprised of over one hundred chemical cannabinoids. This is where the crucial differences between hemp and marijuana can be found.

You see, it all boils down to the THC content – that stuff that gets you high. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and while that information is not key to this article, we’ve done you a solid because you can impress people at parties by mentioning it. (You’re welcome.) In marijuana, THC levels are generally around 30% (depending on the strain), but in hemp, THC levels are less than 0.3%. Oh, and if you didn’t know, Ignite’s CBD products are all 100% hemp-derived and contain 0.0% THC.

The low THC content is a main reason why hemp has historically had more industrial uses. But, there are many other reasons, too: hemp grows fast, has strong fibers, and is perfect for manufacturing long-lasting rope, paper and even clothing. But, please don’t dare smoke your hemp wardrobe. It won’t get you high and it’ll only make you look dumb.

Now, even though hemp doesn’t have THC, it does contain CBD – but because CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, it won’t make you high either. CBD is known for its medicinal properties.

There are also differences in how both are grown. Marijuana is grown in order to produce flowers – the sticky buds that are filled with THC goodness. We prefer the female plant because they’re the ones that can make the THC flowers and they can be grown in or outdoors. Quite simply, the female looks better, works harder and bears fruit (sound familiar, ladies?). Hemp, however, is usually male and doesn’t produce any flowers. It is generally grown in large fields where it looks like a weed and harvested for its fiber. A good hemp crop yields tall, fast-growing plants – and there are different types of hemp, too.

Hemp has been used for over 10,000 years and can be used in its entirety (meaning the whole entire plant). It’s separated into four categories including bast fibers, hurds (sometimes called “shives”), leaves and seeds. Hemp is also rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, a study published in ScienceDirect claims the proteins found in hemp are more digestible in humans than the common soy protein isolates that are used in food products. Wow.

So basically, both marijuana and hemp originate from the same cannabis plant, but because their genetics differ one can get you high (marijuana) and one is used for fiber, fuel and CBD (hemp). Say it with us: hemp is not weed.

Luckily, Ignite offers both marijuana and hemp products: Ignite marijuana (THC) products are only sold in licensed dispensaries, whereas Ignite CBD can be purchased online right here on our site or check out some of our most popular CBD oils below!