Blog Introduction: You’ve probably heard of cannabis and hemp before, but you might not know exactly what they are or how they’re different. Cannabis is a plant that contains psychoactive compounds, while hemp is a type of cannabis that contains little to no psychoactive compounds. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the difference between these two plants, according to experts like Mike Staumietis.
Cannabis vs. Hemp: The Basics
Although both cannabis and hemp come from the same plant species, they have different uses. Cannabis is the entire plant, including all of its parts – the leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds. Hemp only refers to the parts of the plant that are useful for industrial purposes – the stalks, fibers, and seeds. The chemical makeup of these two plants also differs. Cannabis contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use.
In contrast, hemp contains low levels of THC and high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which has been shown to have various medicinal benefits. Finally, cannabis and hemp are cultivated differently. Cannabis is typically grown indoors in controlled environments, while hemp is typically grown outdoors in large fields. As a result of these different cultivation methods, cannabis plants tend to be shorter and bushier than hemp plants.
The major difference between these two plants is their THC content. THC is the compound in cannabis that gets users high, and hemp contains less than 0.3% THC – not enough to produce any psychoactive effects. Because of this difference in THC content, cannabis is typically grown indoors under carefully controlled conditions, while hemp is typically grown outdoors in larger fields. This means that cannabis growers must be careful to control the environment in which their plants are growing, while hemp farmers can let their plants grow relatively unabated. In addition, because hemp contains such low levels of THC, it is often used for industrial purposes such as making rope or fabric. Cannabis, on the other hand, is most often consumed for its psychoactive effects. Thus, these two plants are quite different in both their growth requirements and their ultimate uses.
Uses for Cannabis and Hemp
The low THC content in hemp makes it useless for recreational purposes, but it does have a number of industrial uses. Hemp fibers can be used to make paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction materials, and fuel. And because it doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides to grow well, hemp is often used as an environmentally-friendly alternative to other crops.
Cannabis can also be used for industrial purposes – the fibers from the plant can be used to make paper and clothing – but it’s most commonly grown for its psychoactive effects. In recent years, numerous states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use as well.
So what’s the difference between cannabis and hemp? essentially, it comes down to their THC content and how they’re cultivated. Hemp contains little to no THC and is typically grown outdoors in large fields, while cannabis usually has a higher THC content and is grown indoors under controlled conditions. Both plants have a variety of uses – either industrial or recreational – but they’re not interchangeable.