Home CBD Education Hemp vs. Marijuana: The Difference Explained

Hemp vs. Marijuana: The Difference Explained

Hemp vs. Marijuana: The Difference Explained

In the US, the legal and social status of cannabis is evolving rapidly. As of 2020, 11 states and Washington, DC have legalized the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana, with more than 40 states possibly allowing some form of legal marijuana by the end of 2020.

With more options than ever before, beyond smoking, cannabis use is up across generations. CBD products extracted from industrial hemp rather than marijuana have built interest in the market among new consumers. As the once-illicit plant becomes increasingly mainstream, its reputation is shifting from controlled substance to full-blown wellness trend.

However, to understand the shifting reputation of cannabis and its role in the booming wellness economy, it is crucial to understand the difference between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); two of the major cannabinoids present in cannabis. While THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the majority of the effects that make up a traditional “high,” it’s typically sourced from marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, can be derived from industrial hemp, making it technically legal in all 50 states.

As demand for CBD continues to skyrocket, the CBD industry has developed into a unique market that is independent, yet still closely related to the cannabis industry, including its controversial reputation and shifting legalities.

Let’s get into talking about cannabis and the differences between Hemp and Marijuana.

What is Cannabis?

The word cannabis is often used as an umbrella word for both marijuana and hemp. However, this is not the correct use of the word. Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family, which consists of three primary species: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Each of these three cannabis species has unique properties that set it apart from the others, despite looking somewhat similar.

  • Cannabis Sativa is a taller species that is native to tropical climates where long periods of intense sunlight are the norm. These plants have a fibrous stalk and are favored for their industrial uses, which we will discuss later in this article.
  • Cannabis Indica is very much a different plant than the Sativa. It is grown in an entirely different way and grows much shorter, but with a denser branch structure. It also has a more wood-like stalk. The Indica species tend to have higher levels of THC and CBD. It is favored as both a recreational and medicinal plant.
  • Cannabis Ruderalis is a unique line of cannabis. It is auto-flowering, meaning it requires no pollination or male-female plants to produce its flowers or buds. This species is short in stature and produces minimal THC and CBD. Given these characteristics, this species is unpopular to mass produce for either industrial uses or recreational/medicinal uses.

What is the difference between Hemp vs. Marijuana?

There are two realities with Hemp and Marijuana, though technically they are the same thing. They’re simply two words to describe the same cannabis plant, regardless of species. Now, to really break down and understand the “differences” of these two words, we have to look at the uses of cannabis plants.

According to the US Federal Government, as described in the 2018 Farm Bill, there are two classifications for Cannabis (1) Industrial Hemp (2) Marijuana. In the eyes of the law, the two classifications indicate which plants are legal and which are still considered controlled substances.

What is hemp?

In the United States, hemp is a classification established by the federal government as cannabis containing no more than 0.3 percent THC. Hemp or Industrial Hemp can be legally grown in the United States; it can be mass-produced and used for industrial purposes.

What is Marijuana?

In the United States, Marijuana is a classification established by the federal government as cannabis, with more than 0.3 percent THC. This technicality is what determines if the cannabis is considered a controlled substance. THC is the psychoactive compound, and the federal government believes there is no medicinal use for THC or marijuana. Cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC is considered marijuana and a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Some states have medical marijuana laws or recreational marijuana laws that enable users to use marijuana at their peril, regardless of Federal regulations.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: Structure

Hemp and marijuana plants are both structurally the same; they both look the same, and both are capable of producing high amounts of CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis compound. The only difference that sets hemp and marijuana plants apart is their THC content. One plant is predominantly cultivated for its industrial uses, and the other is federally illegal.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: Legality

If you’re wondering whether hemp is illegal, then you have asked a great question. As of 2018, hemp and marijuana are regulated differently under the law. Before December 2018, all forms of cannabis were illegal and regulated as controlled substances under the US Controlled Substance Act of 1970, regardless of THC content. Since the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill) was signed into law in December of said year, the hemp plant became federally legal.

With this enactment, farmers across the nation were given the green light to farm hemp for industrial uses.

Hemp vs Marijuana: Usage

Hemp and marijuana both offer a variety of uses and applications. According to old records, cannabis is one of the earliest plants to be cultivated for its fibers and as a food source, and perhaps as a psychoactive material as well.

Hemp grown today is used for industrial purposes like clothes, paper, building materials, and quite a bit more. There are almost unlimited uses for hemp. Some of its common uses are below.

Other uses of hemp include:

Industrial Products:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Ropes
  • Paper
  • Building materials
  • Plastic

Food Products:

  • Cooking oil
  • Hemp flour
  • Hempseed based products

Consumer Products:

Hemp vs. Marijuana: CBD Oil made from Hemp vs Marijuana

An interesting fact is that CBD oil can be made from both Hemp and Marijuana. CBD from hemp and marijuana both have the same chemical structure. Once the compounds are extracted and isolated, they’re indistinguishable from each other. The difference, though, is that CBD sourced from marijuana is illegal, and CBD sourced from hemp is legal.

Should I buy CBD from hemp or marijuana?

Nearly all CBD that is available for purchase online or in-stores is sourced from hemp. You are not likely to find marijuana-CBD online or in-stores because of complications in money processing; banks don’t usually work with companies selling illegal substances. Unless you live in a state where you can go into a marijuana dispensary or medical marijuana clinic, more than likely, your CBD is hemp-derived.

Other Common Questions:

What is hemp extract?

There is a common misguided belief that hemp extract is the same thing as CBD oil. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Yes, they’re both derived from the hemp plant, but from different parts of the hemp plant. Hemp extract is the oil pressed from raw hemp seeds, which do not contain CBD.

What is the difference between hemp extract and CBD oil?

The difference between hemp extract and CBD oil can be a blurred line for many without knowing how each product is made. Hemp extract is made by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant to extract a nutrient-rich oil. The seeds of the hemp plant do not contain CBD or other cannabinoids, only fatty-acid rich oil. On the contrary, CBD oil is made by grounding up the stalk, stem, flowers, and leaves into biomass. This biomass can be used to produce CBD in a few different ways. CBD extraction can be done with a CO2 cold press or through a chemical extraction method (both can produce high-quality CBD). Either CBD extraction methods don’t use hemp seeds since there is no presence of CBD or other cannabinoids in the seeds.

differences between hemp and marijuana

Can hemp get me high?

The answer to this depends on the hemp; does it contain the legal limit of THC, or is it marijuana? Assuming you have legal hemp, then no, legal hemp does not contain enough of the THC cannabis compound to get a user high. This is not to say that people with high sensitivity to THC won’t have mind-altering effects with hemp. Still, generally, the amount of THC in hemp is so low that it is usually not enough to produce a high.

Will CBD show on a drug test?

If you are concerned about testing positive for cannabinoids like THC or CBD, it is not advisable to use CBD products. CBD is a cannabinoid, and if the drug test is testing for cannabinoids in general, then yes, you may test positive.

Is CBD from hemp effective?

The CBD compound is chemically identical, whether it’s sourced from Hemp or Marijuana. Having said this, the marijuana plant may have an abundance of both THC and CBD, along with other cannabinoids. Hemp, on the other hand, is farmed specifically to contain low levels of THC and moderate to high concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids.

Hemp: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate explained

Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Hemp: Full Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD from hemp is CBD with a variety of naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes. Full Spectrum CBD will contain up to the legal limit of THC and varying amounts of other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, CBC, CBCA. People with no sensitivity or reservations consuming THC or other cannabinoids might benefit most from Full Spectrum products because of the entourage effect. The entourage effect occurs when all the complex compounds of the hemp plant work together as a system.

Hemp: Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad Spectrum CBD from hemp is very similar to Full Spectrum CBD. The only difference is the lack of the THC compound. Broad Spectrum CBD can contain a variety of cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, CBN, CBC, CBCA, among others. Broad Spectrum CBD can also contain terpenes, which have their own beneficial properties.

Hemp: CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate from hemp is the isolated compound with no additional cannabinoids or terpenes. CBD isolate is best for people with sensitivity to THC or other cannabinoids, or for people who live in a state where THC is illegal.

How to find the best Hemp CBD oil for me?

With CBD being so popular and mainstream, lots of CBD pop-up companies have come to market to make a quick buck. If you’re looking for a quality hemp-derived CBD oil that will provide you with the benefits you seek, then use the list below to find the best CBD oil for you.

  • 3rd party lab test – look for products that have 3rd party lab testing to verify the contents of the product you are purchasing. 3rd party lab tests should give you the confidence to know that your product is pure, clean from impurities, and safe to consume.
  • Ingredients – knowing the ingredients that are in your CBD can tell you a lot about the product and company. Depending on the CBD product you are searching for, look out for products that contain artificial ingredients or ingredients that you may be allergic to. This day and age, there is no reason to purchase products made with synthetic ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners, etc.
  • Easy to use – Easy to use products are made with the user in mind. Whether you are buying CBD vape juice, CBD oil tinctures, or CBD gummies, these products should be simple enough to use without any added complexity. The amount of CBD per serving and per container should be clearly stated.
  • 30-day Money Back Guarantee – With any product nowadays, the consumer should have a hassle-free experience. If the customer is not satisfied with their purchase, getting a refund should be simple.

5 Reasons to Choose Avida CBD

AVIDA CBD Oils for sale

  1. Safety is our number one priority
    At Avida CBD, safety is our number one priority. We ensure that every milligram of CBD used in our products is sourced from American Hemp that complies with federal regulations stated in the 2018 farm bill. We test all our raw materials to ensure we use only the highest quality materials and purest ingredients. When you purchase a CBD product from Avida, you can rest assured that you are getting a safe and effective product.
  2. 3rd party lab test
    Third-party lab testing is the way we promote transparency. With each bottle that leaves our facilities, you’re guaranteed a 3rd party lab test with a product that meets its CBD milligram label claim.
  3. Flavors that never go dull
    Discover the unique and flavorful options Avida CBD offers with any of our specialty flavors specially crafted by our award-winning flavor chemist. Our brilliant chemist expertly crafted our CBD flavors with your taste buds in mind. You can experience a flavor explosion with any of our delicately crafted CBD vape juices, CBD oil tinctures, or RELAX CBD gummies.
  4. Easy to use
    It has never been easier to experience the possibilities of CBD with our deliciously crafted CBD products. Whether you opt for an exotic experience with our CBD vape juice or CBD oils or even our tasty RELAX CBD gummies, you’re sure to get a CBD experience like no other.
  5. 30-Day money-back guarantee
    We are so confident in our products that we extend a 30-day money-back guarantee. We make it easy for you to try out the Avida CBD difference. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, simply return the product to us, no questions asked, and we’ll get you your money back.


Are marijuana and hemp the same? If you live in the United States, no, they’re not the same. Despite the cannabis plant looking the same and having the same structure and properties, hemp is legally classified as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, is any cannabis plant with more than 0.3 percent THC; this classifies the cannabis plant as a controlled substance and is federally illegal.

If you’re looking for the safest, purest, lab-tested hemp-derived CBD, then look no further. Experience the Avida CBD difference now!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here