Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the difference, anyway?
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard or used the words hemp and marijuana interchangeably. Don’t lie. You’re far from alone.
Up until recently, the US government couldn’t tell the difference either. The Farm Bill in 2018 finally acknowledged that while the two plants are similar, there are a few important distinctions between them.
Hemp, unlike marijuana, contains less than 0.3 percent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is what gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. It’s what gets you high.
Marijuana can have anywhere from 15% – 40% THC content depending on the strain. Hemp’s negligible THC content is the cornerstone of the Farm Bill, which allows for the controlled growth of hemp.
They Grow Very Differently
Unless you’re scouring the internet for pictures of cannabis or growing the stuff yourself, you probably couldn’t pick out hemp from marijuana in a lineup.
Marijuana is a shorter and thicker plant. Because it’s raised primarily for ingestion, marijuana is grown in a controlled environment. Each plant is given plenty of space and is often cross-bred with other strains to develop new potencies and flavors.
Hemp is made from tougher stuff (more on that later), able to grow in a variety of temperatures, altitudes, and soil types. It’s not unusual to see clumps of wild hemp.
Hemp is Incredibly Versatile
You’re probably aware of some of the many forms marijuana can be consumed. Smoking, vaping, eating a professionally-made brownie, or a suspiciously-made brownie; you can substitute marijuana for hemp for each of these. But, hemp also happens to be the world’s most durable natural fiber.
The ancient cultures knew this, and now modern apparel companies are cashing in. It doesn’t take much looking to find an array of hemp-woven bags and shirts, promising durability and magical sweat-wicking properties.
Now you’re armed with the knowledge to go forth and “well actually” all your friends and family.
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