The difference between industrial hemp and cannabis


Hemp and marijuana are two popular names for the cannabis plant - Cannabis Sativa L. 

When we hear the word 'cannabis' we often associate it with people smoking joints and getting high, however, this is slowly becoming a stereotype considering the growing popularity for hemp based products used in various aspects of our everyday lives. 

The term 'Hemp' commonly refers to the industrial/commercial use of the cannabis plants stalk and seed for textiles, foods, papers, body care products, detergents, plastics and building materials.

So what makes it different from  'recreational marijuana' ? 


Although industrial hemp is 'technically' from the same species of the plant cannabis, the same plant that psychoactive marijuana comes from, scientists believe the early separation of the cannabis gene pool led to two distinct types. The two species of cannabis (or subspecies) are known as Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.

Each subspecies has a different primary purpose, some strains of cannabis are ideal for fibre while other strains produce more oil, some strains are exceptional seed producers others are perfect for protein powders etc etc. Hemp fiber can be used in anything from rope and blankets to paper while hemp oil is a common staple product of all high street supermarkets.

Cannabis has been culturally used as a medicine all over the world for thousands of years but since the sixty's a rise in recreational use has been escalating.  This new modern cultural 'norm' has diluted the perception of the true purpose of cannabis.

Watch this documentary about the great life's work of Raphael Mechoulam, nicked named 'The grandfather of Cannabis' this documentary explains in detail some of the incredible research that has been carried out on the medical benefits of cannabis


THC Content 

Industrial hemp has low THC levels compared to higher THC levels of 'marijuana' which has been specifically cultivated to that end. Marijuana is usually grown to be smoked and usually contains between five and ten percent THC, where as industrial hemp contains about one-hundredth of the THC levels found in marijuana. In order to get a psychoactive effect via hemp, one would need to smoke 100 plus joints over a very short period of time and would probably throw up first. 

Hemp has been bred over many many years to contain very low THC and as a result you will find high levels of other cannabinoids like cannabidiol, CBD in hemp.


It is often argued by those who do not know the difference between hemp and marijuana that they could be grown together thereby deceiving authorities and passerby. This isn’t an option however and is simply not true! Hemp is grown in rows one to two inches apart. The plants are grown very close together and shoot up toward the sky till they are taller then full grown men. They have a woody core and are stiff and hard to walk through.

Growing hemp and marijuana together isn’t an option, by doing that you get cross pollination. When both hemp and marijuana cross pollinate you loose the buds of the flowers and end up with lots of seeds. With hemp these seeds are very useful for a wide variety of uses (oil, food, seed for the following year). With marijuana, the bud is the part of the plant that has the most THC, if this doesn’t fully develop due to cross pollination then you loose a lot of THC and the material can not be used recreationally.


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  • John Yoda
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