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Cannabis: Is it Hemp or Marijuana?


The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was a proposed law to remove hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% Delta9 THC) from Schedule I controlled substances and making it an ordinary agricultural commodity. Marijuana (defined as cannabis with grater than 0.3% Delta9 THC) is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

They look similar and smell similar, so how are they different?

Cannabis Strains:

Cannabis strains are either pure or hybridvarieties of the plant genus Cannabis, which encompasses the species C. sativaC. indica, and C. ruderalis. Varieties are developed to intensify specific characteristics of the plant, or to differentiate the strain for the purposes of marketing or to make it more effective as a drug. Variety names are typically chosen by their growers, and often reflect properties of the plant such as taste, color, smell, or the origin of the variety.

Difference between C. sativa and C. indica:

Sativa is known for being a more of a ‘head high’, energizing strain where psychoactivity is more common, whereas indica, is known for being more of a ‘body high’ that helps pain and is also used as a sedative.[5]

The informal designation sativa and indica may have various, controversial meanings. Morphologically, the name sativa designates tall plants with narrow leaves, while indica refers to short plants with wide leaves. Among the marijuana community however, sativa rather refers to equatorial varieties producing stimulating psychoactive effects , whereas indica-type plants from Central Asia are used for relaxing and sedative drugs .[6]

Human intervention has produced variation within the species and some authorities only recognize one species in the genus that has had divergent selective pressure to either produce plants with more fiber or plants with greater THC content.[11]

Alternative classifications:

Large variability exists within either species, and there is an expanding discussion whether the existing paradigm used to differentiate species adequately represents the variability found within the genus Cannabis.[12][13][14]

There are five chemotaxonomic types of Cannabis:

1 – Higher levels of THC with low CBD = Recreation Marijuana

2 – Higher levels of CBD with below 0.3% THC = Hemp

3 – Balanced THC/CBD = Medical Marijuana

4 – Higher levels of cannabigerol (CBG) with below 0.3% THC = Hemp

5 – Almost without cannabinoids (more fiber) = Hemp


During the selective breeding process for medical marijuana, THC:CBD ratios are accounted for and accommodated to the needs of clients, preference/illness. Due to the large genetic diversity, different geographical climates and environments has caused there to be an wide range of strains and properties.

THC is associated with the high part of the plant because it is psychoactive. However, CBD isn’t psychoactive and has medicinal properties.

While on the other hand CBD is the component that has a greater medicinal value for people not wanting the high feeling. Both benefit medicinally for patients and can be adjusted to any preferred ratio.

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