Hemp plants are easily recognizable due to their tall, fibrous, woody stems that can reach up to 10 feet in height. They have branches that emerge from different joints and tend to grow vertically rather than spread horizontally. Industrial hemp is a crop that requires little to no pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, making it an environmentally friendly option. It is relatively easy to differentiate industrial hemp from marijuana, but it can be difficult to tell premium hemp from marijuana.
Hemp has several distinguishing characteristics, including its cultivation, use and THC levels. In addition to the nutritional benefits of hemp, there are potential health benefits of non-nutritive compounds such as CBD and THC.
Industrial hempis grown for its stems to produce fiber and the flowers are not given much attention. Marijuana and hemp are both in the same family and genus, but hemp is classified as cannabis with less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
While marijuana and hemp have distinct differences (marijuana causes people to “get high”), they can produce some of the same effects. It is almost impossible to identify a premium hemp plant in a marijuana field. Hemp also has multiple uses and is more environmentally friendly than many other crops. Before growing hemp or marijuana buds, be sure to check your state and county regulations to ensure it is legal where you live. To be legally classified as a hemp plant, a cannabis plant must contain 0.3% or less THC in dry weight.
Hemp cultivation is more efficient and versatile than many other crops and has been appreciated for its multifunctional capabilities for thousands of years. However, hemp and other cannabis varieties can look very different when industries cultivate them for specific purposes. As long as hemp meets the federal requirement of 0.3% or less THC, it is 100% legal in the United States.