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HEMP 101

Hemp 101: Hemp Vs. Marijuana

Q: What is Hemp and how is hemp not marijuana?

A: Words like cannabis, hemp and marijuana are used interchangeably by many, but what’s the real difference? Most recognizably, "marijuana" (a word with mysterious roots) is a plant grown primarily for THC – the psychotropic compound in cannabis many love for various reasons from physical to spiritual wellness.  Hemp, on the other hand, is an industrial crop containing little to no THC and has been used in everyday commercial products from food to fuel to shelter.

What is Hemp - Hemp 101-1 Hemp vs. Marijuana - Picture of Cannabis leaf

January 25, 2017

Much of the controversy and confusion around the plant is really just poor, but intentional, word choice. The species known as Cannabis sativa is only complicated by the fact that there are two common classifications, each containing distinct genetic thresholds and end use products: the agricultural crop – generally known as hemp – and the pharmacological variety of the plant commonly called marijuana.

As a standard, hemp generally contains an average of less than 0.3% Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the average international regulatory limit for classification of hemp vs. marijuana.  To compare, cannabis grown for medicinal or recreational use can contain anywhere from 5%-25% THC.

Trying to get a psychotropic experience from a substance with less than 1% THC would be akin to drinking non-alcoholic beer for the buzz. Studies have suggested that a concentration of less than 1% produces the same physical effects as placebo. Hemp may, however, contain high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which has proven useful in various medical therapies. Most recently, many have heard it being used in treating a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.

Contrary to common belief, hemp is not only the male plant variety of cannabis. Again, it’s the same genus and species as some psychotropic marijuana strains but has taken a different path of genetic evolution based on humanity's wishes (food, fiber, building materials, medicine, spirituality, imagination, etc.).  

Consider the history of dog breeding, with which most of us are more familiar: some track scents well, some are great sprinters, and still a few are destined for their own strange existence inside a chic designer purse. And so, new strains are always in breeding development for desirable characteristics like robust seeds for food oils, hurd volume for building materials, or longer fibers for hemp textiles.  

For traditional hemp textile production, male hemp plants are prized as they have stronger fiber qualities and generally have less branches, making them ideal for long fiber productions.  Regardless of the terminology, the differentiation of hemp vs. marijuana may have been initiated to confuse and collude public perceptions, but Recreator is here to clear the smoke and provide premium hemp apparel to transform perceptions of what cannabis (hemp) products can become. 

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