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The Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp [Updated 2023]
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The Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp [Updated 2023]

Stirling support teams gets a lot of questions from our amazing customers asking what the Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp are.

Good question! There is a lot of misunderstanding with these terms, and Stirling CBD will try to sort it out for you. The first definition is easy – Cannabis. Cannabis is the Master Plant that everything else comes from – simply put:

CBD, THC, Hemp, and Marijuana Are All Products or Derivatives of the Cannabis Plant

That’s right…Hemp and marijuana are, taxonomically speaking, the same plant. They are different breeds for the same genus (Cannabis) and species (cannabis).

You can breed a marijuana plant with a hemp plant and visa-versa. This is easy to understand, but with all the misinformation out there, it is often confusing.

Think of Dogs – they provide a great example of what humans can do. Labrador Retrievers and Chihuahuas are the same species (canines) but, of course, also very different.

People have bred Labradors to be large, protective, and loyal. People have bred chihuahuas to be small and attached to their owners. As they are both canines, they can mate and produce offspring and are the same species – but different.

This example works with Marijuana and Hemp – both are Cannabis Plants and bred to do very different things.

Below is a Chart that illustrates the Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp

The Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp [Updated 2023] 0

Humans are very good at breeding plants & animals to get the attributes we need from them. Another good example is that Kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are all varieties of a single species Brassica oleracea.
 I found this to be amazing…but true. Just as farmers bred the Brassica oleracea plant to get very different traits, they have also bred Cannabis plants to get Hemp and Cannabis.
 Cauliflowers were bred to get maximum flowers, Kale to get maximum leaves, and sprouts to get maximum seeds. With all this said, they are, taxidermically, all Brassica oleracea.
 Webster gives a technical answer – a Species is a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus.
 Comprising related organisms or populations capable of interbreeding, designated by a binomial consisting of a genus named a genus followed by Latinized uncapitalized noun or adjective agreeing grammatically with the genus name.
Amazing to think about how long this took and how many generations of people and plants were responsible for these transformations.

Hemp & Marijuana Are Both Cannabis Plants with Very Different Purposes

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. The Marijuana plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds.

THC Extract can also be made from the cannabis plant, and the sole purpose of marijuana is to get people “high.” Hemp, on the other hand, is not used for Psychoactive purposes. THC is non-existent (or a very low %) in hemp.

The Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp [Updated 2023] 0

Hemp can produce hundreds of products, such as paper, clothing, building materials, biofuel, food products, oils, and more.

With the fast-growing popularity of CBD across the globe, hemp production focuses on creating a wide variety of THC-free CBD products.

Hemp is much more useful; marijuana is much more famous.

  • Kim Kardashian = Marijuana (Famous but not Useful)
  • Hemp = St. Theresa (Very Helpful, not as Famous)


The family name “Cannabis” contains the two most popular cannabinoids, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is a well-known substance found in marijuana, which is psychoactive and causes a “high” feeling in people who partake in marijuana. Millions use CBD non-psychoactive compounds to treat illness and physically feel better.

Scientifically, the molecular compounds look almost identical. Organically, they are very different to the user. CBD hemp oil contains little to no THC, which does not cause a “high” in the user.

Legally any CBD needs to contain 0.3% or less THC, and Stirling Oils CBD offers products with 0.0% THC up to the legal limit of 0.3% THC.

The Differences Between Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp [Updated 2023] 0

Differences Between Marijuana Cannabis and Hemp – Conclusion

In short, Hemp and Marijuana are different breeds of Cannabis Plants.

While Marijuana growers focus on maximizing THC content, and Hemp growers focus on CBD content, fiber content, and maximizing biomass for industrial purposes.

This article does not review the difference between CBD and Delta 9 THC, not Delta 8.

The CBD/Hemp oil movement is consistently growing and becoming more popular.

As the growth of this plant becomes more prevalent in the lives of wellness-minded individuals, more knowledge is needed to ensure you are consuming the best quality derived hemp oil on the market.

We’ve talked about the clear differences between these two plants. We’ve shared our knowledge on physical differences, chemical makeup, etc.

However, CBD oil is an experience you need to try to understand why so many people love it fully. We know you will too!


You may be interested in…

CBG vs CBD: Exploring the Benefits of Two Cannabinoids

CBG VS CBN: A Head-to-Head Comparison

How Does Delta-9 Compare To CBD

Delta-8 Sleep Gummies Vs Delta-9 Sleep Gummies

Delta 8 Gummies vs. CBD Gummies: Which Packs A Punch

CBD Isolate vs. Extract. Which is Better?

Picture of Joe Kryszak
Joe Kryszak
A leader in the Hemp Industry since 2014, Joe has been at the forefront of the Hemp Industry's innovation and growth. He is passionate about creating an atmosphere of collaboration and education in the Hemp Industry through the growth of Stirling Oils. Prior to this, Joe led strategic growth teams and initiatives at HP, Lenovo, and Amazon. With a degree from SDSU and an MBA from Pepperdine, Joe guided numerous businesses beyond the $1b threshold.

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