The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

 As with any hot button topic, there is a lot of misinformation, media attention and strong opinions associated with it. Here at Mountain Mama our goal is to cut through all the hype and give you the facts.

The Hemp vs. Marijuana debate has been raging in our country for almost 50 years when President Nixon declared a “War on Drugs” and signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Along with this act came a list of banned drugs and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created.

Hemp was wrongly added to the list of banned drugs because it comes from the Cannabis plant family… the same family that marijuana comes from. Hemp was classified as a drug even though it does not contain the mind-altering chemical makeup that marijuana does and it became illegal to grow in the United States.

Marijuana has two purposes: medicinal and recreational use. Its chemical makeup has 5-20% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) this is what is responsible for the psychological effects.

Hemp on the other hand has over 25,000 documented uses ranging from pain relief, use in food and health products, clothing, textiles, automobiles, plastics and many more. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and it is impossible to have a mind altering effect if it is ingested or smoked.

Another huge difference between hemp and marijuana is the plant itself. The leaves are different as is the size and shape of the plant. Marijuana (Indica strain of Cannabis) must be grown in a very controlled environment. Hemp (Sativa strain of Cannabis) is very adaptable and can grow easily in a variety of climates.*

As you can see, although these plants come from the same family, they are different in their appearance and chemical makeup. Hemp has no place on the banned substance list and the government has finally recognized the difference in these two plants.

*Note that due to the legalization of the medical marijuana industry, there have been several crossover and hybrid breeds created between sativa and indica strains. Further THC testing is needed to identify the chemical makeup of new breeds.

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