The 2018 Farm Bill declassified hemp and hemp seeds from the statutory definition of marijuana and the DEA schedule of Controlled Substances. Both marijuana and hemp are cannabis – so what makes hemp different?
Hemp and marijuana both belong to the cannabis sativa family. They look similar, although marijuana is bushier with broader leaves; hemp is composed of leaner, shinier leaves. The main difference between the two is with the chemical composition. Both plants produce Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabino, or THC, which causes the high associated with marijuana use. Yet, hemp only contains very low quantities of THC, typically less than 0.3% THC by dry weight (where marijuana can contain up to 30%). The 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized hemp by legalizing hemp that contained THC levels up-to 0.3%. Any hemp produced above that 0.3% is considered “hot” and must be destroyed.
What is hemp used for?
Hemp and marijuana also share significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a very popular non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has medicinal benefits due to CBD’s interaction with receptors in the central nervous system and immune system.
The hemp plant is also used in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and food. It’s an incredibly hearty plant.