Cannabis and Hemp: What is the difference

Cannabis-and-Hemp-What-is-the-difference---Cannabis.Page Cannabis and Hemp: What is the difference - Cannabis.Page

For thousands of years humans have used hemp for it's 'fibre' which was made into rope, fabric, paper and plastic. Hemp fibre has been found in Egyptian artefacts dating back to 2000BC. The word 'canvas' originally was a word for a type of hemp fabric.

 Cannabis and Hemp: What is the difference?

The Cannabis Plant comes from the plant Cannabis sativa, and is described by the part of the plant used, e.g. Cannabis Sativa L/C, which stands for originated from Latin language and means 'useful hemp'. The reason these two words are different is because of political reasons.


The word Cannabis has been used as a name for the part of the plant that produces hemp, however cannabis sativa was renamed by some to marijuana with two different meanings explained below:


  1. Hemp - fiber from the entire industrial hemp plant (both male and female) which can be woven into a variety of fabrics, including high quality textiles aimed at the apparel and home furnishings markets.


  1. Marijuana - an abbreviation for industrial hemp that refers only to low-THC cannabis plants grown for their fibrous qualities. High-THC cannabis is called sinsemilla, which comes from a Spanish word meaning "without seed".


The reality is that there are three types of cannabis: industrial hemp, marijuana and hemp seed oil. The first two contain high amounts of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which causes the 'high' linked to smoking pot; while the third contains almost none and is used in health foods, cosmetics and soaps.

(Hemp & Marijuana are both Cannabis and come from the same plant family, however there is a difference.)

Since the 1920's in America, hemp has been legally used to make paper but in 1937 marijuana was banned from use in America. This is because when the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, people still had their own "hemp" clothes and continued to use pot so it became a problem. If this law wasn't passed then all cannabis would be legal in the USA today.


As a result of the 1937 law, people still called hemp marijuana and its meaning was changed to mean all cannabis sativa i.e. marijuana. This is why you may hear that industrial hemp and marijuana are exactly the same thing; it is untrue! The only difference between hemp and marijuana is their THC content, which is 0.3% in industrial hemp and 4-20% in marijuana/sinsemilla (which is harvested without seeds).


Industrial hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa L. They have a wide range of common uses including: fiber, seed oil, food/nutrition, paper, textiles, rope/twine and more.


Industrial hemp is the only plant known that can produce a variety of usable products from seed to use with one sustainable crop cycle. Hemp has been used for at least 3500 years for cloth and food; in fact it was found deep inside a tomb that dates back to 2000 BC.


It is important to note that the products listed below can be produced from either industrial hemp or marijuana plants; it all depends on how they are grown:


  • Oil, Protein Powder & Flour - Edible Hemp Seed Products 
  • Clothing & Bedding – Industrial Hemp Fiber Products • Body Care Products – Cannabidiol (CBD) & Industrial Hemp Seed Products 
  • Paper/Pulp – Pulp from Stalks vs. Wood 
  • Soil Amendments - Phosphate Replacer 
  • Plastics & Composites - Bioplastics, Hemp Insulation and Hemp Automotive Composites


There is an opportunity to grow the above products in Colorado as well as the rest of United States. Colorado is the ideal state in which to cultivate hemp, as it has a moderate climate suitable for year-round production, and with the renewable energy sources available, there would be no need for harmful pesticides or herbicides.


The industrial use of Cannabis dates back thousands of years, and evidence suggests that it was first cultivated in China in the 10th millennium BC. The oldest remains of hemp have been found in Central Asia, with some remnants dating back to 8000 BC. Hemp fiber was also found that dated back to 3000–2700 BC in Western Asia.


Cannabis is considered a "dioecious", or "sexually-dual" plant species. This means that the male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, although in some monoecious varieties they can be found intermixed on the same plant.


Most industrial hemp grown today is primarily of the variety known as Cannabis Sativa L., Fabaceae or "family Cannabaceae" and is referred to as H. sativa.


Industrial hemp varieties can be fertile or sterile, and there are monoecious (male and female flowers on single plant) or dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) plants. Some cultivars can produce a relatively high quantity of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can be refined into medicinal or recreational forms of cannabis.


Plant breeders classify hemp seeds as a foodstuff, and the United States Department of Agriculture defines industrial hemp as any part of the plant with no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Hemp is considered by many to be an excellent source for nutritious food, due mainly to its high protein and fiber content. In addition, for seed products such as hemp hearts or hemp oil, there are typically no concerns about THC concentration (considered to be psychoactive agents) in the finished food products.


Cannabis is a popular ingredient used in topicals due to it's anti-inflammatory properties when applied directly to the skin, or in lotion or oil form. Topicals have reported benefits including pain relief and reducing of eczema symptoms. Typical long-term use is for anti inflammatory conditions, however other uses are also being discovered.


In the United States, non-food industrial hemp products are widely used by many major companies as diverse as Ford, General Electric, and Patagonia. The CBD market has continued to grow in the US since hemp was re-legalized with over half of the states (28 as of 2016) allowing its use in some form.



There are slight differences between the two plants and yet they are the same. Kinda like humans. All are slightly the same yet the cultures and climates bring a difference. Choose your Cannabis and Hemp wisely and use responsibly!

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