Last week Congress announced that hemp legalization will be included in the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill. That means farmers around the United States will be free to grow hemp without repercussions (assuming Congress approves the bill and Trump signs it). And while hemp and marijuana are both part of the Cannabis family (even though we usually use cannabis and marijuana interchangeably), there are differences between the two, writes Joseph Misulonas.
Here are five differences between hemp and marijuana:
The biggest difference between hemp and marijuana is THC. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, usually less than 0.3 percent. Marijuana will generally have at least five percent THC. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, making users feel “high.” But THC also has medical benefits as well, so it’s not simply a thing that gets people.
2. Growing Conditions
There’s also a big difference in growing conditions between hemp and marijuana. Hemp can basically grow in any climate and doesn’t require special attention. Marijuana, however, requires a carefully controlled warm and humid environment. So basically hemp is way easier to deal with.
Everyone knows what a marijuana leaf looks like. It appears on shirts and logos all over the place. So we shouldn’t have to explain what it looks like. Hemp basically looks the same, but it’s usually much thinner than marijuana. Hemp also tends to grow taller than marijuana.
Marijuana and hemp are used for vastly different things. Obviously, marijuana is mostly used for consumption, whether to get people high or for its medical benefits. Hemp is mostly used for industrial purposes to make building or crafting materials, fuel, clothing or more. Hemp can also be put into food and oils, but you almost never consume hemp on its own.
Last year hemp sales in the United States were around $820 million. Obviously that’s not an insignificant number and will only grow in the coming years. But, last year the state of Colorado alone sold over $1 billion worth of marijuana. So, there’s definitely still more money in marijuana than hemp.