Hemp Vs Marijuana - What's The Difference And What You Need To Know

In our last blog post, we took a look at the differences between CBD and THC. Today, we’re going to tackle two more commonly confused substances: hemp and marijuana!

What is Hemp?

Let’s start with hemp. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant. It’s harvested to produce industrial products, including everything from CBD products to rope, clothing, and paper. Its industrial uses are why you’ll often see it referred to as industrial hemp. 

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is also a variety of the cannabis plant. Unlike hemp, it’s generally not used for industrial products. It’s most often used recreationally or medicinally.

The Confusion

Hemp and marijuana are often confused with each other because from a taxonomy standpoint, they’re the same plant: the cannabis plant. They often look and smell the same, so it’s easy to get confused. Read on to learn about the many differences between the two!

The Differences


The biggest difference between hemp and marijuana is their composition. Both hemp and marijuana contain many different cannabinoids, including CBD (cannabidiol). But the primary distinction between hemp and marijuana is the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) they contain. 

THC is the intoxicating compound in the cannabis plant, and it is responsible for the euphoric side effects associated with the plant. Hemp contains high amounts of CBD and very low amounts of THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, contains much less CBD and anywhere from 5-20% THC. 


Hemp and marijuana are cultivated in different ways. Marijuana is cultivated to optimize its characteristics and to produce plants with budding flowers. It requires careful attention throughout its growth cycles. Exact conditions must be maintained, including proper temperature, lighting, and humidity.

In comparison, hemp is grown to maximize its size and yield. It’s grown outdoors, and while conditions matter as it grows, it does not require the same level of attention and control as marijuana does. 


The hemp plant has a wide variety of uses. The CBD that can be extracted and used to create high-quality health and wellness products is our personal favorite—it’s kind of our thing here at Nature’s Ultra—but hemp also has many industrial uses. Hemp is often used to create paper, clothing, and building materials. It can also be used in cooking products, such as hemp flour and hemp-seed products.

Marijuana is used in a smaller variety of ways. Because of its intoxicating side effects, marijuana is often thought of as a recreational drug. However, marijuana is also used medicinally by people who suffer from a myriad of conditions. In many places, medical marijuana can legally be prescribed even if recreational marijuana use is illegal. 


Hemp and marijuana also differ in their legality. As regulated by section 7606 of the Farm Bill, hemp is legal to grow because it contains less than 0.3% THC. CBD itself is also legal, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC.

Marijuana, on the other hand, typically contains 5 - 20% THC. Its high THC content is the reason it’s illegal in most states. It’s important to note, however, that many places allow medical marijuana use as prescribed by a doctor, even if recreational marijuana use is still illegal. 

Hemp-Derived CBD vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD

CBD can be extracted from either the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. While the composition of hemp and marijuana are different, CBD itself doesn’t differ based on its source. All the way down to the molecular level, CBD is identical whether it’s extracted from the hemp plant or the marijuana plant.

So if CBD is the exact same on a molecular level, it’s easy to assume that it’s legal regardless of the source, right? Here’s where things get a little confusing. The Farm Bill specifies that CBD that is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC is not regulated as a controlled substance. The key phrase here is derived from hemp. CBD that is derived from marijuana is still considered a controlled substance and is not legalized the way hemp-derived CBD is. It doesn’t matter if it contains 0% THC. If it is derived from marijuana, it’s a controlled substance. 

Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

Let’s wrap things up with a quick look at the different types of CBD!

Full spectrum CBD is CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant along with all of the other compounds of the plant, including terpenes, essential oils, and THC. 

Broad spectrum CBD is CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant with all of the other compounds of the plant with the exception of THC. 

CBD isolate is the most pure form of CBD. It is extracted from the hemp plant without any of the plant’s other compounds.

What kind of CBD do we use here at Nature’s Ultra? Well, we start with premium grade CBD isolate, which is cultivated on our partner farm in Colorado. Our proprietary extraction method allows us to extract CBD without the use of any harsh chemicals, and our cultivation practices are organic and sustainable. As the CBD goes through the manufacturing process, our quality assurance system tests to ensure that it’s pure, potent, and contains 0.0% THC. Because our CBD contains 0.0% THC and is derived from hemp rather than marijuana, it’s legal in most states!

Once we’re satisfied that we have the highest-quality CBD possible, we combine it with Young Living essential oils to create our very own smart spectrum CBD. It’s pure, potent, and high-quality, and it allows you to enjoy the benefits of both the CBD and the terpenes found in essential oils. We test multiple times to ensure that it contains 0.0% THC, and we’re transparent about the test results so you can be completely confident in the products you use. All you have to do is visit this page, click on the file for your product, and find your specific batch number that is printed on the bottom of your product. You’ll be able to see for yourself that it contains 0.0% THC!

To see a list of all of our hemp-derived CBD products, visit our product page here. Once you’ve selected the perfect product for you, place your order and get ready to enjoy the benefits of our high-quality CBD oils!


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