The Difference Between Cannabis and Hemp

Many people wonder what the difference is between cannabis and hemp and all too often they assume that cannabis and hemp are the same but that the terms refer to different aspects or uses of the plant. This is true to a point. It is more, however, the way the plant grows which drives the ultimate difference between cannabis and hemp.


Hemp is a low-resin, low-THC Cannabis Sativa plant that is grown for its fibers and seeds. Growers typically leave little space between the plants which allows the harvest to appear more like bamboo with tall skinny stalks. It can grow up to 10 or 15 feet and is considered to be an agricultural crop.


Cannabis is a high-resin, high-THC, high-CBD Cannabis Sativa plant that is grown for its psychotropic and medicinal qualities which are most often found in the flower of female plants. Plants are grown with more space, which allows them to spread out, as opposed to spreading up. This creates a fuller plant overall. It is considered to be a horticultural crop and is typically hand-harvested, trimmed, dried and cured.

Do not get us wrong. Hemp is a very useful plant, but the low levels of cannabinoids that are found in hemp do not favour medicinal qualities.

The Difference between Hemp CBD and Cannabis CBD

Hemp CBD

According to Medical Marijuana Inc., who were overthrown by Project CBD for what they considered to be misleading information, good CBD hemp oil is derived from high-CBD, low-THC hemp. ‘By using these inimitable potent plants, we are able to extract cannabis oil that contains a substantial level of cannabidiol, as well as essential minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids,’ their website claims.

However, while hemp can be grown to produce higher CBD levels through cross-pollination, the probability of this happening is slim if the plant is pollinated within its own crop. Hemp just does not contain enough CBD to have successful medicinal effects on the user. Some have claimed that hemp CBD has made them feel sick.

Cannabis CBD

Cannabis CBD is what the medicinal cannabis industry is referring to when they talk about the benefits of the oil. Products like Charlotte’s Web with high-CBD, low-THC oils have proven to help treat certain illnesses and conditions. CBD oil continues to demonstrate medicinal qualities for incapacitating conditions. The difference is that the cannabis plant used is grown and harvested for medicinal purposes.

CBD is not the only cannabinoid which is necessary to produce the medicinal qualities of cannabis. CBD needs to perform biological processes with THC and other cannabinoids.

As you can see, there are subtle yet profound differences between hemp and cannabis, and between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD. Hemp is a more benign product, used in making rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel. It does not have a strong medicinal quality. Cannabis, on the other hand, is mainly used for recreational and medicinal reasons thanks to its ability to remove pain and relax people.

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