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Over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in the number of CBD products available on store shelves. Along with specialty CBD stores, many mainstream stores carry at least a few options. These products are a bit different than the ones you’ll find in licensed dispensaries. The main difference, the products you find almost anywhere come from hemp plants, while dispensary products come from cannabis. That’s not the only one, though. Here’s what you need to know about hemp vs. cannabis.

Growing Differences

Hemp and cannabis both come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, but they are grown very differently. Hemp plants are hardy and grow just about anywhere. They grow close together, which allows for easy pollination. They’re also much taller and thinner than cannabis plants.

Cannabis, on the other hand, requires careful cultivation. The shorter, bushier plants grow indoors in a controlled environment with close monitoring. The goal is to grow buds to harvest for medical and recreational use. Male and female plants must be kept far away from one another to avoid pollination.

Chemical Composition

One of the biggest differences between hemp and cannabis is their chemical compositions. By definition, cannabis is any plant that has more than 0.3% THC, while hemp has no more than 0.3%. Many cannabis plants have up to (or more than) 30% THC. Based on chemical composition, cannabis products can cause you to get high. Hemp plants, on the other hand, can’t.

An interesting thing to note is that if a hemp plant (grown as regular hemp) can sometimes contain more than 0.3% THC. Even if it only contains 0.4%, and won’t produce any noticeable psychoactive effects, it can’t be classified as hemp.

The Legal Difference

Another significant difference between hemp and cannabis is their legal status. For decades, hemp and cannabis were both illegal. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, however, hemp is now legal in all 50 states. Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, listed as a Schedule I controlled substance. Even so, several states across the country have legalized it for medical use. Some of those states have also legalized it for recreational use.

2018 farm bill

Uses of Hemp Vs Cannabis

Hemp has many uses and can be turned into cloth, textiles, food products, supplements, and body care products. One of the most popular products on the market today is hemp-derived CBD. You’ll find oils, capsules, infused face and body care products, edibles, and more at various stores from specialty shops to chain grocery stores.

Cannabis, on the other hand, grows for one purpose, to be used for medical or recreational use. Growers carefully cultivate the plants to obtain specific THC contents, terpene profiles, or effects. The buds can be smoked, vaped, transformed into edibles, or infused into creams or balms. Extractors can also create extracts using a variety of different solvents, creating cannabis oils and concentrates.

While hemp and cannabis share the same genus and species, they have a few significant differences. You can find hemp CBD products almost anywhere. For quality, legal cannabis products, visit your local licensed dispensary.