Do you know what happens when you smoke hemp? Not a whole lot. You may end up with a cough or a headache, but you certainly won’t end up with a high. Surprised? Most people are because they mistakenly think hemp is the same thing as marijuana. It’s not; even though they are both members of the plant species cannabis sativa and bear an uncanny resemblance. Actually, the psychoactive properties in marijuana come from the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in the flower of the plant.
To break the stigma associated with marijuana, it is important to actually understand the difference between cannabis and hemp 101:
The two are related through the same genus of plant. While industrial-grade hemp is a rather helpful resource in the world, it lacks the stimulating power of the substance known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or for short, THC. It is this active chemical of THC that brings about the “high” associated with marijuana.
Hemp contains 1.5% of this substance, while marijuana possesses between 4 % and 20%. In Canada, the legal amount of THC used to create products cannot exceed 0.3%. Overall, the plants are rather close in details, but supply very different functions for many dissimilar reasons, which especially shows through in the physical makeup of the two plants.
Hemp is much stronger than the marijuana variety, meaning it holds the possibility to create a wealth of raw materials. Marijuana is actually quite delicate, eliminating it as a contender regarding serving a purpose to benefit mankind in a manner acceptable by law (with the exception of medicinal uses).
Farming practices also dictate the amount of THC produced by the plant. The unfertilized female species of cannabis sativa L contains the highest amount of THC, thus the male species is removed to prevent pollination, increasing it’s psychoactive properties dramatically.