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What is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana? 

Although hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa, there are several ways in which they differ. Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana will allow you to be more informed, and therefore a safer, buyer and consumer.


At a Glance

Although hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family, they look different. Upon close inspection, marijuana will have a more bushy appearance with broad leaves. At the top of the plant, there may be a bud, which has tiny hairs or crystals. Hemp is a leaner plant with shinier leaves with a strong concentration at the top of the stalk. From afar, marijuana will have a more bush-like appearance whereas hemp can easily be mistaken for a weed.


What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a Cannabis plant with THC levels between 0.3% and 30%.  THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. This compound is what causes a “high”. The higher a percentage of THC in a product, the more it alters your cognition. As THC is the primary cannabinoid in marijuana, it is commonly used as a recreational drug. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, except for within specific states where it has been legalized medically and/or recreationally.


What is Hemp?

Hemp is a Cannabis plant that has 0.3 percent or less THC. This low of a percentage of THC and there will not be any noticeable psychoactive effects. Rather, the primary cannabinoid found in hemp is cannabidiol or CBD. This compound is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system, found in the central nervous system and immune system, making it a popular ingredient in products that offer medicinal benefits. Previously illegal, hemp was allowed for limited industrial hemp growth and research thanks to the Farm Bill of 2014. That was until recent years, when the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp agriculture and products legal in all 50 states. Since the passage of the Farm Bill we have seen a significant acceleration in the production of hemp and hemp-derived products, including CBD oil. 


Hemp-Derived CBD vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD

Despite the differences between marijuana and hemp, most are surprised when they learn that the CBD derived from each is the same. Molecularly that is. However, the products made from the two different plants are not equal. 


When it comes to hemp-derived CBD products, you will find them for purchase all across the U.S. In these products, CBD levels will be high while THC levels will not exceed 0.3%. With this profile, a consumer is likely to experience a relaxed or calming effect. In terms of usage, CBD derived from hemp can be used as a regular dietary supplement, such as to stimulate the endocannabinoid system.

With marijuana-derived CBD products, you will only find them for purchase in states where marijuana is recreationally and/or medically legal. These products are likely to have a THC level between 5% and 30%. With this profile, a consumer will experience psychoactive effects. Those who use marijuana-derived CBD do so recreationally or for specific medical conditions.


In addition to choosing a hemp or marijuana-derived CBD product, you will also need to consider the type of extract it contains. Be sure to visit our previous blog, regarding the differences between whole-plant hemp, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate, which influence the intake of CBD.


At Frenchie Fries Co. our products are THC-free and made with 100% organic, all-natural hemp, grown right here in the U.S. For more specific information on the uses for our CBD oils & chews, be sure to visit our blog. If you have questions regarding our products, check out our FAQ page. We’re dedicated to the science of CBD and sharing it with you, so that you can be confident in the products you give to your furry best friend.

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