what makes hemp and marijuana different?

By Dr. Barry Morrison

Throughout history Marijuana has been bred to have very high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Which is mostly concentrated in the trichomes and flowers of the plant with its low levels of cannabidiol (CBD).

Marijuana can be of the Cannabis Indica or Cannabis Sativa species while Industrial Hemp is always Cannabis sativa. Marijuana traditionally will be full of flowering dense buds, bushy, and overall smaller in size. Whereas, Industrial Hemp also has flowering buds however, falls on the opposite end of the spectrum with extremely fibrous long stalks, and contains very high levels of CBD.


Based on the legal definition of  industrial hemp it only having trace amounts of  THC. This amount has been established to contain no more than 0.3% THC. Therefore, industrial hemp is not regulated as a controlled substance and is considered federally legal.



Whether CBD is derived from Hemp or Marijuana, remember, CBD is CBD. I like to compare this to vitamin C. It can be derived from a variety of sources yet still remains vitamin C. Our body doesn’t have the ability or need to determine the source of vitamin C, it just utilizes it accordingly.

Due to the natural cannabinoid profile of hemp and marijuana, hemp is phenomenal in that it enables one to receive the benefits of Cannabis without the “high” effect traditionally seen with Marijuana. When Marijuana is cultivated the male plants are pulled and female plants remain. The majority of the THC is derived from a specific part of the plant primarily the flowering buds.

An exceptionally high percentage of CBD can be produced consistently and naturally from the Industrial Hemp plant. Therefore, it does not make legal or practical sense if you are looking for benefits of CBD to obtain it from Marijuana. For obvious reasons I preferred CBD sourced from Hemp!

Hopefully, this helps you to understand the factors of what makes hemp and marijuana different.