For many years, one question has omnipresently hovered in the air and has been especially important for the weed smokers: are hemp and cannabis the same? The shortest and the most precise answer ever would be postulated in the following way: no, these two plants are quite different although they look very similar to each other. In fact, marijuana differs from hemp in three ways: in its cultivation, appearance, and general functions.
When it comes to the cultivation, growing hemp is way easier than growing weed for many reasons. First, hemp does not need any special environmental conditions—it can be grown almost everywhere. Secondly, there is no need to separate hemp from its vegetative “neighbors.” Weed, however, is a cranky, very picky plant—it needs high humidity, warm climate, and some free space to grow (and by saying “some free space” we mean at least 7 feet between plants).
The second point of telling them apart is their appearance. Cannabis has broad leaves and a tight bud. Hemp, on the other side, possesses skinny leaves and a weak bud. If you are lucky to see them growing naturally outdoors, you will see that weed is a short opulent bush; hemp, on the other hand, is a very thin tall plant. So it is very hard to muddle them in the wild.
But the main difference between the two plants hides in their composition and general functions. The chemical compound that is known as tetrahydrocannabinol (abbreviated THC) is the central thing to consider when you look at hemp and weed and their chemical composition. THC is a component that is in charge of cannabis’ psychological effect, the one that gives you a feeling of euphoria and gets you high. When it comes to weed, a plant may contain from 5 to 20% of THC. The maximum level of THC for hemp, on the other hand, is about 0,5%. Thereby, hemp does not get you high and is totally useless as a recreational drug.
Even though these two plants are very different and do not have many things in common (except their generic origin), some political leaders do not seem to stop confusing them. As a result, they continue banning hemp from mass cultivation and even industrial consumption. This misconception can cause hemp’s extinction, even despite the fact that it does not content any chemicals that could be considered poisonous or addictive.