Hemp vs. Marijuana: Understanding the Differences

4 Minute Read

Welcome to the ultimate showdown of Hemp vs. Marijuana! These two plants may look similar but have very different properties and uses. While hemp and marijuana come from the family of cannabis plants, they are distinct in their chemical makeup and legal status. Whether you're team hemp or team marijuana, they both have a unique place in plant-based medicine and industry.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Hemp belongs to the cannabis family and is mainly grown for industrial purposes due to its strong fibres that can create a range of products, including textiles, paper, and ropes. In addition to this, hemp seeds are a healthy source of protein and healthy fats and are used as a food source. Unlike marijuana, which is another strain of the cannabis plant, 'Hemp' has minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that induces a psychoactive "high" when consumed. Hemp plants and their parts usually have less than 0.3% THC, which makes them non-psychoactive. 

Moreover, hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound with potential health benefits. CBD is extracted from the hemp plant's leaves and flowers and is utilized in various forms, such as oils, capsules, and topical products. Due to its versatility and potential medical benefits, hemp is widely used in several industries, such as textiles, food, and cosmetics. CBD or hemp can decrease inflammation, anxiety, depression, or pain. 

Conversely, marijuana contains higher levels of THC, is typically used for recreational and medical purposes, and is known for its psychoactive effects. While some countries have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, it remains illegal in others.

Property Hemp Marijuana
Definition A variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, cultivated for industrial uses and containing less than 0.3% THC A variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, cultivated for recreational or medicinal use and containing more than 0.3% THC
THC Content Less than 0.3% More than 0.3%
CBD Content High High
Psychoactive Properties None Yes
Uses Clothing, textiles, paper, construction materials, biofuel, food, supplements Medical and recreational purposes, including pain relief, anxiety, insomnia, and recreation
Cultivation Grown in large-scale outdoor fields or indoor hydroponic setups Grown in small-scale indoor or outdoor environments
Appearance Tall and narrow with small leaves, often grown closely together Shorter and bushier with broader leaves, grown with space between plants for better airflow and light penetration

History of Hemp and Marijuana in India 

 Hemp and marijuana have a long history in India, dating back thousands of years. In ancient India, hemp and marijuana were considered sacred plants with various uses in traditional medicine and religious rituals.

Hemp has been used in India for its fibers, which are solid and durable and were traditionally used to make textiles, rope, and paper. In addition, hemp seeds were used in traditional medicine as a source of nutrition and to treat various ailments.

In India, marijuana has been used both for recreational and medicinal purposes for a long time. The plant's utilization was initially recorded in ancient texts, like the Vedas and Atharva Veda, depicting its therapeutic characteristics and use for spiritual and religious objectives.

In more recent history, the use of marijuana in India was criminalized under British rule in the early 20th century. However, despite the legal prohibition, marijuana use has remained a part of Indian culture, with various forms of marijuana products, such as bhang (a marijuana-infused beverage), being consumed during religious festivals and celebrations.


Marijuana. What is this Word?

The term "marijuana" is slang for the cannabis plant. Cannabis used for recreational purposes is often meant.

The name "marijuana"—which derives from the Mexican Spanish word "marihuana"—was later borrowed into other languages. The phrase is said to have gained popularity in America due to anti-drug activists attempting to stigmatize it. Black, Latino, and Mexican Americans experienced marginalization at this time. Along with the aforementioned individuals, marijuana and cannabis were blamed for many of America's problems. Although the term's origins are derogatory and racist, it has gained popularity across various cultures, sometimes without people being aware of its history or context.

Medicinal Application of Hemp and Marijuana

 Hemp and marijuana have been found to have various medicinal properties, and ongoing research is investigating their potential in treating several medical conditions.

Traditionally, hemp has been utilized as a natural remedy for various health issues, including skin disorders, inflammation, pain, seizures, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It is favored by many because of its high levels of CBD. This non-psychoactive compound provides relief for these ailments without causing any intoxicating effects that are typically associated with THC found in marijuana. 

In contrast, marijuana contains more THC and is usually preferred for its psychoactive properties. Still, it also has medicinal benefits such as alleviating chronic pain, muscle spasms, glaucoma, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. In certain countries and states, medical marijuana has become legal for treating specific health conditions, while CBD extracted from hemp has been authorized by the FDA for treating certain types of epilepsy.


In conclusion, both hemp and marijuana have a rich history in India and are increasingly being recognized for their potential health benefits. Hemp is primarily cultivated for industrial purposes but is also a source of food and a rich source of CBD, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective properties. Marijuana, on the other hand, contains higher levels of THC and is more commonly used for its psychoactive effects. It also has medicinal properties in the treatment of various medical conditions. Ongoing research into the medicinal properties of hemp and marijuana could lead to new treatments for various health issues. However, it is essential to note that medical professionals should regulate and monitor the use of both substances to ensure their safe and effective help.

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