In the world of cannabis, there are more names for one plant family than you could ever imagine. Here’s a breakdown of the basics: the difference between hemp, cannabis and marijuana.
Hemp is part of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants, which includes 170 plant species grouped into about 11 categories. One of the categories, called “Cannabis,” includes both hemp and marijuana, scientifically called “Cannabis Sativa” (hemp) and “Cannabis Indica” (marijuana). Though they are both part of the same family, hemp and marijuana have different functions, genetics and characteristics. From a legal perspective, hemp, unlike marijuana, does not contain levels of the intoxicating cannabinoid, THC, that exceed 0.3%. Hemp may contain higher levels of the cannabinoid, CBD.
In the medical and recreational cannabis markets, the names “sativa” and “indica” are typically used to describe different types (or strains) of marijuana, even though they are technical names for hemp and marijuana, two completely different plants in the same family.
Cannabis is technically the category of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family that includes both hemp and marijuana.
Marijuana is the general term for Cannabis Indica, the female flowers containing high levels of phytocannabinoids, with medical and intoxicating properties. From a legal perspective, marijuana, unlike hemp, contains levels of the intoxicating cannabinoid, THC, that exceed 0.3%.
Cannabis and Marijuana
Today, “cannabis” and “marijuana’ are used interchangeably in the industry and often cause confusion. Because the word “cannabis” technically refers to the category of flowering plants that includes both hemp and marijuana, we use the word “marijuana” to accurately distinguish between marijuana and hemp as the legal definition distinguishes hemp and marijuana based on the percentage of THC.