Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

One of the greatest misconception people have about hemp and marijuana is that the two plants are the same which is not the case. The most contributors to this misconception are the uninformed information about the cannabis plants. As a result, it turns difficult for the unspecialized people to notice the difference. And this makes many people use the two plants for a similar purpose which leads to a disappointment.

With an aim to minimize this confusion, we discuss what the two plants entail and what differentiates one from the other. Consider reading through the whole article for better understanding of the two plants.

Plant Appearance

If you’re used to either of the hemp or marijuana plants, you can easily tell the difference. For the hemp plant, they grow taller and thinner, with their leaves concentrated at the top. The leaves are also skinny, and the branches are fewer on the upper position.

Hand Holding Small Marijuana Leaf with Cannabis Plants in Background

On the other side, marijuana plants are shorter in comparison to hemp and have broad leaves. Keeping the two plants side by side, the viewer can easily distinguish one from the other. Marijuana plants also feature dense buds along the stems and the branches top.

Plants’ Composition

Chemical composition differences in the composition most comprise of THC or the tetrahydrocannabinol levels. The THC is the compound responsible for causing psychoactive effects on the users. For marijuana, an average dose will contain approximately 5% to 20% of the mixture. In some of the marijuana products, they will contain up to 30% of the THC. Such amount of THC easily gets the user high.


On the other hand, hemp products contain 0.3% or less of the THC content. With such levels, we consider it impossible for the users to have any psychoactive effects in using hemp products. What makes it more unlikely to get high in using hemp is its high cannabidiol content or the CBD. The compound counteracts any possible psychoactive effects making the THC useless.

The difference in Growth Environments

Both marijuana and hemp plants grow in strictly different environments. The recommended spacing between the hemp plants is 4 inches apart. The plants are also produced in large plots and can get grown in different climatic conditions.

On the other hand, marijuana calls for a controlled growth environment. They cannot be planted close to each other, with the most recommendable spacing being 6 inches. The two plants should also not grow in the same field as the hemp pollens will ruin marijuana plants.

Growth Span

The hemp plant will take a growth cycle from 108-days to 120 days which is an average of 4 months. On the other hand, within 60-90 days, the marijuana plants can get harvested.

Why Both Plants are Under Schedule Drug 1 Act

All cannabis related plants get classified under the schedule 1 drugs. As a result, the federal law recognizes both marijuana and hemp plants as illegal. Marijuana is illegal, and its classification together with other cannabis species makes the hemp plant illegal. And this is despite the case that hemp contains none of the chemicals that contribute to marijuana termed as an illegal drug. However, you can buy hemp products from an online hemp shop.

There are a variety of differences between hemp and marijuana plants and products. Take time to learn about these differences for proper use of the two plants. By doing this, it keeps you off possible disappointments.