What’s the Difference Between Hemp + Cannabis?


Hemp and cannabis – they’re the same, right? Not quite. While both come from the same plant (cannabis), hemp is legally classified in a much different way than cannabis. 

Hemp Contains Mostly CBD, Cannabis Contains More THC

The key difference between hemp and cannabis as we know it is the THC density. Industrial hemp, by legal definition, must contain less than .3% THC. However, cannabis cultivated for psychoactive affect - getting high - typically contains between 20% - 30% THC. The small amount of THC in industrial hemp is not enough to cause euphoria like cannabis, and is safe to consume without having to worry about impairment.

Industrial hemp and cannabis are similar, but they are far from identical. They each contain different levels of CBD and THC, and are cultivated for different purposes. Industrial hemp has greater commercial application, while cannabis is mostly produced for its medicinal and recreational qualities. 

The Effects of CBD

Multiple drug studies analyzing the effects of CBD products have found positive results against a number of ailments. A study in the United Kingdom found high concentrations of CBD reduce the frequency and duration of seizures in children with epilepsy.

A study in Tehran found that topical CBD creams help reduce damage caused by a disease that results in brain inflammation. That same study found that topical application can also fight symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis, and can even help those suffering MS manage their disease. 

A Brazilian study published in 2011 found that CBD products may also help treat Social Anxiety Disorder – the most common form of psychiatric disorders which effects 12% of Americans in their lifetime. 

Countries outside of the United States have found success in their studies of CBD, and further research is needed in the U.S. to make clinical progress. The US government actually owns a patent on cannabinoids, as filed through the Department of Health and Human Services. “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” filed in 1999, and was featured in various publications between 1999 and 2007. However, there has been no current public action regarding that particular patent.

Different Purposes for Hemp and Cannabis

Industrial hemp is a true cash crop, since the whole plant can be used to produce another product. Hemp is used to create industrial building materials, textiles and fabrics, plastics, biofuel, nutritional items like hempseed, and CBD products, among other things.

In contrast, the vast majority of cannabis is cultivated so that users can enjoy the higher THC density. Cannabis is only cultivated in states where recreational usage is legal, but we like to think that California has the best bud.

The Legality of Hemp and Cannabis

Currently, recreational and medicinal cannabis is legal in certain states, and is governed by the laws and procedures within their respective territories. Cannabis is not federally legal, however, public opinion is largely in favor of legalization, and the federal government has allowed states to govern their cannabis businesses with little interference.

Industrial hemp is legal to grow under the Agricultural Act of 2014, or the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill is enforced and governed on the state level, however, not every state has opted to produce industrial hemp. But, more than 30 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp. At least 16 states have legalized industrial hemp production for commercial purposes and 20 states have passed laws allowing research and pilot programs.

Ask the Experts at Mission Cannabis Club

Hemp and cannabis both offer users different benefits and can be consumed in many forms. The biggest benefit to consuming California cannabis VS hemp is that hemp is not as heavily regulated as cannabis is. All of the products at Mission Cannabis Club undergo thorough testing for pesticides and other harmful pollutants, while hemp is not widely regulating, meaning you don’t know exactly what’s in that Hemp CBD from the corner store.

Mission Cannabis Club offers our customers a wide variety of cannabis based products like edibles, cartridges, and cannabis flower from more than 10 carefully selected farms. Not only do we trust our farmers, but we know them and support them. Our dispensary features a wide variety of THC and CBD products that suit any need, and can be consumed in numerous manners.

Visit us at Mission Cannabis Club to find out why we’re one of San Francisco’s finest recreational dispensaries, and ask our team of expert Budtenders for more information about our cannabis products to find out what’s best for you.

Alexa Jesse

My name is Alexa and I am a New York native that moved to San Francisco, California in October of 2015. Gypsy Universe is a reflection of my personal wellness and creative journey, inspired by the loss of my best friend and my own near death experience.  I have been a closet singer my whole life and I finally decided to stop dreaming and start living. I am a singer, a writer, a traveler, a sister, a lover, and a planet earth activist. I am also a certified Health Coach and Pilates instructor. Follow my journey for travel tips, plant-based lifestyle how-to's, original music and more!