Hemp vs. Marijuana: What are the major differences?

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Hemp and marijuana: They’re both strains of cannabis and are similar in look and smell, but there are some major differences.

What is legal/not legal in Tennessee?

Hemp was legalized statewide in 2016 and across the U.S. last year.

Marijuana is not legal in Tennessee for medical or recreational use.

How do the plants differ chemically?

Both have cannabidiol (CBD), a therapeutic compound found in both plants, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that makes you high.

While every strain of cannabis has different percentages of both CBD and THC, hemp characteristically has a high concentration of CBD and a very low concentration of THC. The kinds that are legal to sell must have no more than 0.3% THC according to state and federal guideline.

On the other hand, marijuana usually has a high concentration of THC and lower quantities of CBD.

Hemp (left) and marijuana

Do the plants look different?

It’s hard to distinguish marijuana and hemp once it’s dried and ready for processing. They smell similar, too.

However, when it’s still in the ground, hemp plants grow hardy and tall, its leaves concentrated toward the top of the plant. Marijuana grows shorter and bushier, its leaflets wider than hemp.

Another indicator is where the plant is grown. Hemp is typically grown outdoors while marijuana grows better indoors.

Are the plants used for different things?

Marijuana is usually cultivated for flower, or “bud,” which can be smoked or processed to create other digestible products that are high in THC.

While hemp can be grown for smoking and other CBD products, it is usually grown with the use of the whole plant in mind. The end product can be used in a wide variety of products, including textiles, paper, medicine, nutritional supplements and food.

All day Thursday, Linda Ong has special reports in every newscast investigating Tennessee’s Hemp Surge.

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