CBD Oil Made from Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

The internet is awash with information about cannabis and CBD oil in particular. It is too easy to get lost in the sea of information, especially if you aren’t sure how to discern what is fact and what is just good old misleading marketing.

There are many questions that people ask the internet, and one of them is what on earth the difference is between hemp and marijuana. And from there, which CBD oil should they choose- made from hemp or extracted from marijuana?

While both hemp and marijuana are considered cannabis, there are essential differences between the two species. The differences between CBD oil extracted from hemp and CBD extracted from marijuana vary and range from cannabinoid profile to legality.

Before we jump straight in, we need to lay a foundation- and learn a bit more about what defines hemp, marijuana, and cannabis.

Hemp And Marijuana: What are the Differences?

Let’s start at the base, with cannabis.

What is Cannabis?

The term ‘cannabis’ describes a herbaceous plant. Indica and Sativa are the two classifications from this annual plant we call cannabis.

Marijuana and hemp fall under the cannabis plant genus. While hemp is only part of the Cannabis sativa species, marijuana can be a member of the Cannabis sativa as well as the Cannabis indica species.

So, both marijuana and hemp are members of the cannabis sativa species, although marijuana can also be a part of the cannabis indica species (this will depend on the strain). Marijuana and hemp do share some characteristics, but they are not identical- there are critical differences that you should know about if you want to purchase the right CBD product for you.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a species of the cannabis sativa plant and is cultivated for the commercial harvest for flower, seed, and stalk. These plants tend to grow tall and are surprisingly sturdy. Because hemp can mature to a height between 2 and 4 meters, these plants are typically an outdoor cultivation.

What is Marijuana?

Also part of the cannabis plant, marijuana fits into both the cannabis sativa and the cannabis indica species. Different marijuana strains are cultivated for the various effects that the plant can instigate; relaxation, appetite regulation, euphoria, and many more.

As we mentioned before, marijuana will usually contain THC- the psychoactive phytocannabinoid responsible for the high associated with cannabis use. The differences don’t stop there; marijuana is harvested for its flower, and its stalks and seeds are generally disregarded.

Marijuana tends to develop flowers that are juicy and full of resin. These flowers are usually bursting with cannabinoids and terpenes, but the cannabinoid and terpene profile specifics will be strain dependant.

So, now you can see that there are critical differences that separate hemp and marijuana plants. Therefore, there will be differences between CBD products sourced from hemp and CBD products sourced from marijuana.

The Differences:

  1. Cannabinoid Content

One of the main differences between marijuana and hemp is the cannabinoid content.

Hemp is rich in CBD and, by definition, will not have THC levels that surpass 0.3%. On the other hand, marijuana can have THC levels up to 20% or more, according to the specific strain. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating psychoactive effects, while CBD is a non-intoxicating substance. This makes hemp extractions the best choice for people sensitive to THC or looking for the benefits without THC.

  1. Legality

Another key difference is the issue of legality. In 2018, hemp was excluded from the CSA (Controlled Substances Act). The 2018 Farm Bill was introduced, which allowed for the commercial cultivation of hemp, the commercial manufacture of CBD products, and the legal sale of CBD products to people like you.

When we say that marijuana can have high THC levels, we weren’t exaggerating- some strains can carry up to 30% THC. It is important to note that this is where the differences in legality can be an issue. While all states will have their own specific set of laws regarding marijuana and THC levels, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance.

What does this mean?

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level. However, you should check with your state laws as more and more states are changing marijuana’s legal status under their state law. On the other hand, hemp-derived CBD oil and other products are legal in all 50 states.

  1. Uses

The hemp plant has several uses:

  • Dried Flower is used for cannabinoid harvest
  • Seeds are used to make hemp oil, a common (and trendy) ingredient in cosmetics and kitchens. Hemp protein powder is a popular choice amongst plant-based individuals.
  • Stalks are high in fiber and have been used for centuries as a building material, as well as to make clothing and textiles.

Did you Know?

Research indicates that the famous Easter Island statues could have been transported using rope made from the hemp plant due to its robust nature

Marijuana is typically harvested for the flowers. These flowers are harvested from the plant and used for phytochemical extraction or dried and sold as bud. But THC should not only be known for its ability to induce a high. THC offers several other potential benefits; these benefits are various and will be discussed in-depth on our blog- stay tuned!

Hemp or Marijuana: Which one should you Purchase?

The answer to this question is dependant on two primary factors; your country or state laws (legality) and what you intend to use it for.

If you are looking for a CBD oil containing THC, then the obvious choice is to opt for the one made from marijuana. If you are in a state or country that only permits the sale of hemp-derived products, then you already have your answer.

Consider The Entourage Effect

When we refer to phytochemicals, we are not just talking about cannabinoids. Flavanoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids all have individual benefits for us. But when they remain together, there is an amplification of these benefits- this synergistic response is known as the entourage effect.

Studies indicate that all the phytochemicals in cannabis can work in synergy to offer a set of effects that could be more beneficial than an isolated cannabinoid. Together, the phytochemicals produce more potent effects.

Therefore, if you are looking for a THC-free product but don’t want to miss out on any benefits, you should seriously consider full-spectrum CBD products derived from hemp, or broad-spectrum cannabis products. Broad-spectrum products have been produced using cannabis, containing all the phytocannabinoids but will not contain THC.

A Final Word

Okay, so now you know that hemp-derived products are quite different from marijuana-derived products. We hope that you feel confident enough to choose the right CBD product for you. Now that you are more informed, you can understand whether or not you should try a marijuana-derived product or a cannabis-derived product.

Are you ready? Take a look at our most popular products:


We hope this article helped you. The key to a sustainable cannabis industry is the education and information that consumers, such as yourself, can access. Is there anything you’d like to know about marijuana or hemp-derived products? Let us know in the comments below.


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