People mistakenly assume that marijuana and hemp are different plant species. In reality, they aren’t distinct species! They are both cannabis, although the law makes a distinction between them.
In the end, what sets them apart is the presence of a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is among the different cannabinoids naturally present in the cannabis plant. For reference, this is linked to the high that most people associate with cannabis.
Hemp refers to cannabis with at most 0.3 percent THC content. In 1979, this amount was proposed in “The Species Problem in Cannabis: Science & Semantics” by Ernest Small. The author said that there is no real taxonomical difference between these two plants and offered this as a solution. However, he also acknowledged that this figure was arbitrary. Nonetheless, this became the legal definition of the plant, as seen in United States law. Do not expect to get high off hemp, owing to its low THC content.
On the other hand, marijuana generally refers to cannabis with the capability to get the user high. It is also called weed. When it comes to the eye of the law, marijuana is cannabis with over 0.3 percent THC. There is a wide range of THC content in cannabis plants. There are even strains specifically bred to have high THC.
Hemp is often used in products such as paper, textiles, animal feed, plastic, and clothing. It is a fast-growing plant, so it is sustainable for use in these products. There are also various hemp food products out there, including protein powder, oil, milk, and seed. Aside from that it is also very nutritious and full of fiber.
Cannabis plants may be Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, or a hybrid. These categories are used to describe their different effects and characteristics, but this categorization is not yet scientifically verified.
Aside from the THC content, the only other thing that separates marijuana and hemp is their legality. It is legal to plant and grow hemp in the United States. CBD products from hemp are also legal on the federal level. However, this is not the case for marijuana. For this, you will have to refer to state laws. Some have legalized it medically, while others have done so recreationally. It is best to keep in mind that there are still states where it is completely illegal until now.