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The hemp plant and cannabis plant are essentially two different plants stemming from one plant, Cannabis Sativa, but it will depend on how the plant is grown to determine which term it falls under.

Hemp is the term used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that contains very small amounts of THC. Hemp is grown for a variety reasons, ranging from culinary use to the production of textiles or building materials. The hemp plant itself is also tall and narrow. Cannabis is used to describe a Cannabis Sativa plant grown predominantly for two reasons relating to THC; to be smoked for its psychoactive properties, or for THC extraction. The cannabis plant is also physically distinct, being short and wide with flowering buds.

The Cannabis Sativa plant, which hemp and cannabis comes from, contains over 60 cannabinoids (or compounds), but there are two in particular we have mentioned. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has the psychotropic properties you think of when you think of being “high”. It is closely associated with feelings of euphoria, pain relief, and also sometimes the negative side effects that come with it-- increased anxiety and paranoia.

CBD (cannabidiol), on the other hand, is known to counteract the effects of THC. CBD can be associated with many of the opposite effects, like the ability to reduce nausea and anxiety. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-psychotic properties, and has even been known to reduce depression.

Both hemp and cannabis differ in the amount of THC and CBD they naturally produce, which is really what draws the line between the two, and propels the effects of each. To put it simply:

Hemp: high in CBD (around 3.5%), low in THC (.3-1.5%).

Cannabis: high in THC (5-10% or more), low in CBD (less than 1%).

This means that the levels of CBD and THC are different in the respective oil produced from each plant, and those who consume one oil or the other will experience effects related to either THC or CBD. Those who consume cannabis CBD oil (which is also known as marijuana CBD oil) are likely to experience this standard psychoactive high with the possibility of anxiety or paranoia, while those who consume hemp CBD oil will experience things like pain relief and decreased anxiety, but without the psychoactive element.

Another distinct difference between the two is that CBD is legal and THC is not, making CBD far more accessible as a solution to things like anxiety or pain management. It has also been deemed safe for use, even including children, pregnant or nursing women, and those who cannot take pharmaceutical medicine.

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  • Austin Peterson
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