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Hemp vs Marijuana

Marijuana vs. Hemp: What’s The Difference?

You may have heard these two terms “Marijuana vs Hemp” thrown around interchangeably when it comes to cannabis.

However, the difference between the two names really lies in the fact that THC is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the real difference between these two names and why one is considered legal and the other is not.

To begin with, hemp and marijuana are the same species: Cannabis Sativa.

One produces low amounts of THC and the other produces a lot of it.

Let’s get into it.


Marijuana vs Hemp – What’s the difference? Is Marijuana the same as Hemp?

Cannabaceae refers to a specific family of plants. There is also the Cannabis genus. 

From here, you can further break it down into species, such as Indica or Sativa. Marijuana can be described as a Cannabis Sativa L. variety or a related species under the name Cannabis indica. Both these plants are usually grown for their flower. Typically, what is referred to as ‘marijuana’ has high levels of THC and low-to-moderate amounts of CBD. Marijuana can get you high and also has many medicinal benefits.

Hemp is also considered to be a Cannabis Sativa, but there aren’t any Cannabis Indica strains that legally classify as hemp. These plants are grown for industrial purposes or as food and health supplements. The seeds are harvested by farmers to make hemp seed oil. The flower is what is used to produce CBD products. Farmers will also use the stems and stalks to create textiles from their strong fiber. Biodiesel can also be made from hemp. 

Hemp has dozens of different applications.

The only thing that makes hemp and marijuana different is the amount of THC they produce

While both plants share the same genetic makeup, they express these genes in different ways. Hemp plants don’t have the genes to convert CBG to THC. Instead, they convert CBG to CBD.

Marijuana has THC-producing genes. Any plant that contains more than 0.3% of THC by dry weight is considered marijuana. Hemp is anything below this level.

Marijuana vs Hemp – Differences In a Nutshell

Here are the main differences between the two plant names.


  • Chemical composition- High CBD / Low THC
  • Psychoactive- No
  • Legality- Federally Legal
  • Use- Textiles, food, nutrition, paper, construction, biofuel, skincare products, and more


  • Chemical composition- High THC / Low-High CBD
  • Psychoactive- Yes
  • Legality- Federally Illegal (17 states have legalized it)
  • Use- Medicinal / recreational use
hemp vs marijuana

Marijuana vs Hemp: What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, a psychoactive cannabis plant species, is available in many strains. 

Cannabis is an ancient plant that is deeply intertwined with human history. Nearly all civilizations around the globe have grown it for thousands upon thousands of years. It has been confirmed that it was used in ancient China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and more places around the world. 

Cannabis used to be used in rituals, and for many different health and recreational purposes.

Marijuana or cannabis has hundreds of natural chemicals. Over 100 cannabinoids have been identified.

THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana. Its CBD levels are usually low compared to hemp. The CBD content can be between 5 and 30%. Some varieties are selectively bred for higher CBD and lower THC levels, but these strains are more commonly used by medical patients than recreational users.

THC is what causes people to become intoxicated. This is what gets people high when they smoke, vape, and/or eat cannabis.

As THC degrades over time, it becomes CBN, which is a daily sedative cannabinoid. Then, a small percentage of CBN is converted to delta-8 THC.

Federally, marijuana or high THC cannabis is illegal. However individual states regulate these cannabinoids within their own jurisdiction. Thus far, 17 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while almost every state has a medical marijuana program for patients.

Marijuana vs. Hemp: Legality of Marijuana

Weed, or marijuana, or high-THC cannabis, remains illegal at the federal level. That being said, as we mentioned earlier, states have the right to regulate cannabis however they prefer. 

Federal decriminalization seems to be just around the corner. However, in the meantime, always check with the local marijuana laws wherever you are traveling. 

It is important to note that federally decriminalizing and legalizing THC cannabis or marijuana will be quite the slap in the face to the millions of people who have faced criminal charges in the past relating to cannabis. The war on drugs is still a very real and prominent factor and should be taken into consideration every step of the way when it comes to cannabis.

Marijuana vs Hemp

Marijuana vs. Hemp: What is Hemp?

Hemp refers to the non-intoxicating version of Cannabis Sativa L

Marijuana is found in both Indica and Sativa strains, whereas hemp is a subspecies of Cannabis Sativa.

Hemp usually contains a small amount of THC (usually 0.3% or less), which is a far cry from high-THC marijuana. When it comes to hemp, CBD is the most prevalent cannabinoid, this is why it is the main source for creating CBD products.

Delta 8 THC, even though it is technically THC and not CBD, is derived from hemp. It is commonly made by extracting CBD in the form of an isolate or a distillate, then undergoes another process to extract the D8.

There are many ways to extract delta 8 and some shady manufacturers use toxic solvents and overall bad practices.

At Chronic Guru, we extract the Delta 8 directly from the plant itself. This method isn’t used as commonly because D8 occurs in such small numbers in the hemp plant naturally. However, we pride ourselves in providing top-tier and quality Delta-8 products.

To read more about how D8 is made, see here.

Legal Status – Hemp

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government legalized hemp. This bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, where it had been residing since 1937.

Hemp has since then become an agricultural commodity and is legally allowed to be grown for multiple uses, such as food, paper, clothing, biofuel, construction materials, health supplements, and more. This also includes medicinal products such as CBD and recreational products like Delta-8.

The Farm bill states that hemp and all its derivatives are federally legal. This means that D8 THC is legal as long as it is hemp-derived. In addition, it must be under 0.3% D9 THC by weight. 

The DEA has recently tried to shoot down D8 by claiming that anything that is synthetically derived from hemp or THC is illegal. However, most extraction methods are not using a synthetic process as they are using organic matter such as flower as well as naturally occurring chemicals.

In essence, Delta-8 THC remains in a legal gray area for the time being. 

Thus far, 18 states have entirely banned the sale of D8 THC. This includes Vermont, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Utah.

For more info on the legality of D8 THC in Florida, see here.

Marijuana vs Hemp

Why is Hemp-Derived Delta 8 THC So Widely Used?

Many people are puzzled by the sudden rise in popularity of delta 8 THC. These are just a few reasons why people choose delta 8 THC over other more conventional cannabis products, even when in places where both CBD and THC are legal.

#1 Appetite

D8 THC is known to boost appetite. A study using mice found that D8 THC was more effective than D9 THC in boosting appetite. Many D8 users report serious munchies. However, more research is required to confirm these effects,

#2 Alleviate Physical Pain + Discomfort

Even though research concerning D8 THC is in its infancy, some current studies have found that D8 can reduce pain and inflammation. The way D8 affects pain and inflammation is virtually the same way that D9 THC does, however, D8 THC produces less grogginess and side effects than delta-9 THC is known to produce. 

#3 A Strong Relaxant

Essentially, Delta-8 is about half as potent as Delta 9 THC. So, in order to experience a more potent and delta-9 like high, you would have to take twice as much Delta-8 as you would Delta-9.

When it comes to Delta 8, the high is reported to be much smoother, clearer, and more focused within the body. 

Furthermore, Delta 8 is less likely to give you anxiety or paranoia– a common Delta 9 THC side effect. 

Marijuana vs Hemp

Where To Find Quality Delta 8 THC For Sale

Before you get too excited about Delta-8, there’s something very important to keep in mind. 

Delta 8 products are not all made equally. Since there is not a lot of regulation when it comes to Delta-8, there are a lot of poorly made products out there.

When you are looking to buy D8 THC, make sure that wherever you are sourcing it from provides a Certificate of Analysis, or that it is third-party lab tested.

Sourcing your D8 THC products from a reputable manufacturer that tests its products will help you avoid the plethora of sketchy companies and products out there. 

Furthermore, the best quality D8 products are going to be made from organic hemp, and extracted directly from the plant. When it comes to hemp plants, organic is always the way to go. Organic hemp plants should not contain pesticides and heavy metals or other toxic compounds. 

At Chronic Guru, we grow all of our own hemp organically at our small farm in Apopka, Florida. This ensures that our D8 products are of the best quality. In addition to being completely organic, we are also a sustainable and zero-waste farm, so when you shop with us, you are helping to reduce your impact on the environment.

Marijuana vs Hemp

Marijuana vs. Hemp: Final Thoughts

Let’s look at the main differences between marijuana and hemp:

  • Both marijuana and hemp are the same plant species: Cannabis Sativa
  • Hemp has a high CBD content and low THC (less than 0.3%); it won’t get you high.
  • Marijuana contains high levels of THC, which can vary depending on the strain. It will get you high.
  • Delta 8 THC can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp (usually it is sourced from hemp).
  • Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal at the federal level. Marijuana-derived delta-8 THC is not.
  • Each state has a different legal status for marijuana. It is still considered a banned substance at the federal level.
  • Hemp is used for textiles and other functional purposes, while marijuana or high- THC cannabis is used mostly recreationally and medicinally

We hope our guide helped you to better understand the various types of cannabis plants and their names.

If you have any additional questions about differences between marijuana vs. hemp, please post them in the comments, we are happy to answer your questions and hear from you!
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