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Many people
wonder what the difference between hemp and marijuana is. The short
answer to this is they aren’t different from each other because
they are both parts of the Cannabis family. Hemp only differs from
marijuana in the fact it has a different function, application, and
cultivation. They also differ in appearance and chemical composition.

The leaves
of marijuana are often in the shape of a broadleaf or a tight bud. On
the other hand, hemp has skinnier leaves concentrated at the top of
the plant. There are very few leaves or branches existing at the
bottom part of a hemp plant. Also, you will notice that marijuana
appears like a short fat bush while hemp is taller and skinnier.

Besides
appearance, these two plants differ in chemical composition as well
which is the main difference between marijuana and hemp. The
difference is the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the
compound that gives marijuana the psychological effects. Marijuana
can have around 30% THC while hemp usually only have 0.3% THC that
makes it impossible to make you feel “high.”

Hemp
is the seed and fiber of the plant Cannabis Sativa L., while the one
that is “legally considered” marijuana is the flower part. The
cannabis plant’s seeds and fiber part are known to be unbelievably
valuable, hence why hemp is sometimes referred to be as a cash crop.
It is known as a robust plant, one that can proliferate in a wide
range of soil conditions.

The Many
Applications of Hemp

Many
civilizations have been cultivating hemp for industrial purposes for
a good number of the 12, 000 years. The so-called industrial hemp
referred to the fiber used for a variety of purposes including rope,
paper, canvas, and even clothing. Then they discovered the fiber
could be used to manufacturer alternative synthetics and textiles.

For many
years, the largest hemp producer is China, but then other countries
begin to catch up on hemp production. In the U.S., however, growing
hemp is illegal as the plant is classified as a Schedule I Drug. On
the other hand, some states begin changing their laws including as
Colorado, which had helped to start the production of industrial hemp
in the country again.

These days,
many hemp products are available in the market including hemp oils,
hemp building materials, hemp plastics, and more. The traditional
hemp fiber is quite a coarse fiber, especially when raw. Therefore,
hemp is perfect for use as a rope, but not quite as clothing,
especially to those with sensitive skin.

Fortunately, there are now softer, finer hemp fibers produced through the breeding advances, treatment, and modern processing of the plant. These softer hemp fibers are now more ideal for clothing, rope, and fabrics. Besides providing fibers, the hemp seed is also known for its high nutritional value. It can be used in foods including hemp milk, hemp energy bars, hemp protein powder, and more.

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