Hemp, marijuana, and cannabis: how do they differ?

Over the past few decades, the use of cannabis has been associated with stigma. As a matter of fact, people were even afraid of mentioning the name in public. Things have however changed especially after Canada legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Weed is now getting more mainstream attention unfortunately little to nothing is known about this herb. To begin with, the terms cannabis, marijuana and hemp are not synonyms and they cannot be used interchangeably. This brings us to the question of the day cannabis vs marijuana vs hemp what’s the difference?


Cannabis is the genus name of the cannabis plant made up of two plant species namely Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. Cannabis is a general term referring to all cannabis plants and products. Under cannabis, we have marijuana and hemp which are both plants under Cannabis Sativa family. Cannabis contains two major compounds CBD and THC. These are the two components that help distinguish hemp from marijuana and vice versa.

Marijuana Vs Hemp

Though marijuana and hemp share lots of similarities especially given the fact they come from the same plant family but they differ in some features. To an untrained eye, marijuana and hemp plants might look the same but this is not the case, there is a huge difference.

About marijuana

Marijuana is illegal in most counties, astonishing enough it is one of the most used recreational drug worldwide. Its either people use it illegally or go to places where it is legal to smoke it. Marijuana is high in THC the chemical compound responsible for feeling high. Or as most people like referring to it “feeling stoned”. THC has psychoactive properties and this is what makes the drug recreational. Marijuana is high in THC but low in CBD

About Hemp

Hemp is considered legal in most counties and this is largely attributed to the fact that it is low in THC and high in CBD. Being low in THC means that when you smoke it or take it in form of edible you won’t feel stoned. Hemp is highly regarded as an industrial plant. Compared to marijuana its usage and demand are relatively low.


As you have seen, marijuana, hemp, and cannabis are not synonyms. They are three different words. In the time when there are movements to legalize the drug, it is good to be equipped with at least the basics.

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