Hemp vs Marijuana: What is the difference?

When people describe hemp or marijuana, there is often a confusion between the two. Because it is often misexplained, we would like to clarify the difference between the two, to help our cannabis consumers understand what they are looking for.

Hemp vs Marijuana

To start off, it is important to clarify the biggest misconception about hemp and marijuana: that they’re plants. In fact, they are actually broad classifications of Cannabis, which is a genus of flowering plant that includes the species of: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.

The biggest, and most important distinction between hemp and marijuana is that marijuana can get you “high” while hemp cannot.

Through the process of selective breeding, it can be possible to tell these two apart through minor differences in the physical appearance of the plant; however, the significant distinction comes from a differing chemical composition.

Foremost, this comes down to the levels of THC (psychoactive) and CBD (non-psychoactive) that are found in hemp and marijuana. To learn more about these, and other cannabinoids in cannabis, click here.


The term Hemp is used to classify any variety of the Cannabis plant that contains a maximum of 0.3% THC by weight. Even before the official nomenclature was established in 2018, the term “hemp” has been used for years to describe non-intoxicating cannabis, used for its medicinal and industrial properties. The rapid growth and strong fibers of this type of cannabis has made it ideal for producing clothing, textiles, and rope.

While hemp doesn’t contain enough THC for intoxicating effects, it does boast high levels of the cannabinoid CBD, which gives hemp its variety of medicinal benefits. Below we can see several of the different uses that hemp has.


Even though marijuana can be found with similar levels of CBD as hemp, its abundance of THC gives it a vastly different effect than hemp. Unlike hemp, strains of marijuana have been cultivated with THC levels of up to 30%, which can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects on the user. While it is commonly recognized for its recreational uses, studies have shown promising potential for marijuana in a number of therapeutic applications.


Even though hemp and marijuana have similar properties, they are regulated very differently under the law due to their different levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis, including hemp, as a schedule 1 drug, making it illegal in the US. However, the passing of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, gave hemp agriculture and products legality in all 50 states, as long as they include no more than 0.3% THC.

This means that the purchase of any hemp-derived CBD product is federally legal, but the same is not yet true for marijuana and merijuana-derived CBD products. Marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 drug, making it illegal at the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act.

Final Thoughts

Although hemp and marijuana share many of the same properties, their distinction mainly comes from their psychoactive, or lack thereof, properties. Because these two terms are often presented in legal context, it’s important to know what they mean and how they are different.

Remedy Processors is a San Diego, CA based company that has been raising the standards of scientific innovation and manufacturing excellence for the hemp industry since 2018. We offer premium THC remediation services for 3rd parties and partner with companies across the country to deliver high quality THC free distillate to their clients. For more information visit our website at www.remedyprocessors.com or call us at (310) 351 3799.

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