What is the Difference between Cannabis and Hemp?
Let’s start off with a simple statement: Both hemp and cannabis originate from the same plant. Even though the terms have been used interchangeably at times, they do have separate meanings, by law.
According to a study conducted by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, they state: “Both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. Further, there are countless varieties that fall into further classifications within the species Cannabis Sativa” However, the real definition comes down to how the plant is grown and utilized.
When the word “Cannabis” is used, it describes a plant grown for its THC content found within the resin glands, otherwise known as Trichomes. With the case of Hemp, it describes a plant that contains trace amounts of THC. Hemp is used for its durable, strong fibers, and the oils derived from pressing Hemp stalks or seeds.
The international definition of hemp was developed by a Canadian scientist, Ernest Smalls. In 1971, he stated in his book The Species Problem in Cannabis “there is no natural point at which the cannabinoid content can be used to distinguish strains of hemp and marijuana” Through this he concluded that “0.3 percent THC in a sifted batch of cannabis flowers was the difference between hemp and marijuana”. As arbitrary as that sounds, it became the standard by which hemp and marijuana are differentiated.
Ultimately, it does depend on your specific country’s legality regarding Hemp and Cannabis related products, outside the U.S., hemp is grown in more than 30 countries. In 2011, the top hemp-producing country was China, followed by Chile and the European Union. Hemp production is also expanding in Canada, with the country’s annual crop reaching a record high of 66,700 acres in 2013.
As the advent of legalization sweeps across the globe, the opportunities for research and cultivation increase correlatively. Even though there is still confusion over how to classify the plants, we know the ceiling of potential for hemp and cannabis is HIGH. Really HIGH.