hemp vs marijuanas difference

Ask Amy: The Important Distinction You Need To Know Between Hemp & Marijuana

Nani Dominguez-Smith

One of the biggest challenges in the ever-evolving world of cannabis is the confusion between the different subspecies. Hemp often gets a bad rap due to its association with the notorious reputation of marijuana. And that’s not to mention all the other compounds and extracts that stem from the estimated 700 strains of cannabis. Each has a distinct, intricate set of characteristics, uses, and legal implications. In this blog, we’re asking the owner of Cloud City Supply to elaborate on the important details you need to know about the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Hemp vs. Marijuana


Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant. However, each is produced and used for its own purpose, independent of the other. The primary distinction is in their chemical composition, namely the levels of tetrahydrocannabinoil (THC). THC is the intoxicating compound that often precedes the plant’s overall reputation. Legally speaking, hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC.

You can even tell the difference between hemp and marijuana plants just by looking at them. Hemp plants are tall and skinny and have fibrous stalks with fewer leaves. Comparatively, marijuana plants are shorter and bushier, featuring a broader array of leaves and flowering buds.


Hemp is mainly produced for industrial use due to its nutritious source of proteins and fatty acids. It is commonly found in textiles, paper products, bioplastics, and construction materials. The 0.3% THC limit exists to ensure these products and materials are non-psychoactive. Conversely, marijuana is specifically cultivated for its THC content which can range anywhere from 5% to 30% or more, classifying it as a potent, psychoactive drug used for recreational and medicinal purposes. Furthermore, CBD, another hemp-derived extract of the cannabis plant is famous in alternative medicine for its highly effective yet non-intoxicating therapeutic benefits, yet is still often confused with the notoriety of marijuana.

The psychoactive properties of marijuana have proven to successfully manage various medical conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, nausea, and sleep. However, to that effect, its relaxing and euphoric impact has also driven a complicated legal history that varies depending on location.


On a global scale, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the legal status of hemp nor marijuana. Each jurisdiction has its own set of prohibitions, so it’s always a good rule of thumb to check first before you purchase, use, or travel with hemp or marijuana products. Again, the legal difference between the two is the 0.3% threshold for THC content. Because of this clear-cut distinction, hemp is more widely legal per its industrial applications – but not everywhere. On the other hand, marijuana’s legality is painfully complex and still restricted in a good number of countries and states.

In conclusion

It’s important to know the key distinction (a 0.3% THC limit) between hemp and marijuana, not only to avoid confusion about what effects to expect from each but also to understand the range of potential the cannabis plant has to offer as a whole. 


Roll with Amy

Ask Amy: The Important Distinction You Need To Know Between Hemp & Marijuana


Want the chance to hang out with Amy and ask her your questions directly? Join us this Friday at the Cloud City Supply store in downtown Campbell to learn how to roll a joint by the master herself, founder and CEO, Amy Taylor. Doors open at 6 pm on Friday, September 1st, 2023 at the address below:

325 E Campbell Ave

Campbell, CA 95008

Can’t make it? No sweat. We still have a special offering you can take advantage of. For the entire month of September 2023, buy an eighth and get the second one 50% off – in-store and online! Happy shopping 😉

Visit us again next month here on our blog for another article in the Ask Amy series, and submit any questions you have for Silicon Valley’s trusted cannabis guru using the comments below!