Are hemp plants just cannabis plants that happen to have less THC? Again, the reality is more complicated. Hemp plants, especially those grown for industrial purposes, tend to look, grow, and act differently than marijuana plants. Marijuana plants tend to be short and “stalky”, with lots of branches and a profusion of small leaves and heavy buds. Industrial hemp plants tend to be taller with skinny leaves, thick stems, and fewer branches.
ARE MARIJUANA AND HEMP THE SAME PLANT?
These days, some industrial hemp producers are extracting CBD from leftover material and marketing it as “CBD oil”. These products are generally considered to be of lower quality—with reduced concentrations, and higher risk of contamination—than CBD oil harvested from plants specifically grown for medicinal use.
So, are the first two hemp, and the third cannabis? Not quite. It’s more accurate to say that numbers one and two tend to be hemp, while number three tends to be cannabis.
To understand the relationship between CBD and hemp, we need to recognise once again that the word “hemp” can be applied to several distinct varieties of cannabis plants. Technically, cannabis bred to produce high-CBD flowers for medicinal use would be considered hemp if its THC levels fell below legal limits. Yet, these plants would resemble marijuana plants far more than they would industrial hemp.
It’s important to keep the delicate seed sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as it begins to split.
In some cases, even if a seed isn’t completely mature, there’s still a chance it could be viable. But often these are extremely weak, take long to develop, and express other unfavorable characteristics. Growers usually discard weak plants to free up space.
Finding a cannabis seed in your stash is not ideal, but we’ve all been there before. Although much less common than it once was, it still happens. Sometimes you’ll notice one when grinding down some flower, or you’ll see one pop, spark, and crackle from the heat of a lit bowl.
Growing marijuana takes a certain level of commitment: time, energy, and financial resources, so be sure you can commit to the whole process.
Germination is the process in which a seed sprouts and begins to grow into a new plant. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your weed grow.
Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .
Some varieties of cannabis can produce male parts alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors. These plants are known as hermaphrodites, and sometimes they can self-pollinate to create seeds.
Although hemp and marijuana are both classified biologically as cannabis, there are a number of important differences between them. Here we’ll break down the anatomy, history, use, and legality of the hemp plant to get to the heart of not only what distinguishes hemp from marijuana, but also what makes it such a viable, versatile commodity.
In the US, industrial hemp is defined as Cannabis sativa L. that does not contain more than 0.3% THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What is hemp?
The short answer is yes. Though be aware that while hemp does have trace amounts of intoxicating compounds, that doesn’t mean it will get you high. Hemp plants don’t produce enough THC to have an intoxicating effect. CBD, though technically psychoactive, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and won’t produce any form of a euphoric high on its own.
Many countries differentiate hemp from marijuana by the amount of THC produced by the plant. In the US, industrial hemp is defined as Cannabis sativa L. that does not contain more than 0.3% THC. The European Union has set the limit at 0.2%, while in the UK the limit is zero, unless growers have a cultivation license to grow industrial hemp with no more than 0.2% THC.
The male hemp plants release pollen female plants use to produce seeds that are either planted for future crops or sold as food. In marijuana fields, male plants are typically eliminated to ensure the maximum production of sinsemilla (seedless) flowers.