What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | drug charges

Hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis plant family, but they are quite different. Hemp is legal in the US at the federal level, but marijuana is not, so it is essential for legal reasons to understand what distinguishes them.

The National Law Review explains the biggest difference between the two substances is the THC content.

About THC

THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the substance in marijuana that creates psychoactive reactions. It is quite high in marijuana. Hemp does contain some THC, but it is at a very low level, which means the substance does not produce psychoactive results.


Marijuana is a drug used for recreation, but it also has medicinal uses. Some states have made it legal for both uses, while some have made it legal only for limited medical uses. It is illegal at the federal level.

People often use the substance by smoking it or ingesting it through edibles. However, it is available in a variety of forms.


People do not usually use hemp as a drug. It is more common as a product used to make other products, such as paper or fuel. However, you can ingest it. People can use it to make food, and it also makes CBD, which claims say has medicinal effects. The edible products do not act as a psychoactive drug due to low THC content.

One of the most common issues with hemp is that it is similar to marijuana. Some law enforcement may not know the difference, which can leave you under arrest for possession until they can test it and figure out it is not marijuana.