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Demystifying the Terms Cannabis, Hemp and Marijuana

Misinformation can oftentimes be a market segment’s worst nightmare – shaping the perceptions of a society who relies more on social media for information than credible resources. Cannabis, hemp and marijuana fall into that category.

In society today, there are three terms used to describe what many believe is nothing more than a psychotropic drug: cannabis, hemp and marijuana. They are often used interchangeably and always in error.

This confusion perhaps is the reason why the cannabis industry as a whole continues to be plagued with negative publicity from houses across the country to the White House in Washington, DC.

This post aims to demystify the terms cannabis, hemp and marijuana by providing clarity among all the misinformation circulating around the industry today.

The differences between cannabis, hemp and marijuana are actually quite clear as outlined by codes set forth by the United States Government. Under U.S. Law:

Now that we understand that “cannabis” refers to the plant itself, there are significant differences between “hemp” and “marijuana” which are almost always misunderstood.

First, it’s important to understand that the cannabis plant is made up of two main chemicals: CBD (or cannabidiol) and THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol).

While both hemp and marijuana can produce high amounts of CBD, THC is produced at very different levels.

Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. Marijuana contains greater than 0.3 percent of THC (the average being 1-5 percent and it can go as high as 20).

Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for CannabisMD, says, “CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria. You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.”

Therefore, hemp is used for medicinal purposes. Studies have shown that the extracted CBD oil helps reduce many health issues such as anxiety, depression, acne and even heart disease. For cancer patients, it can be effective as a natural alternative for pain relief.

However, because of marijuana’s high concentration of THC, combined with its impairment properties when smoked or ingested, it’s regulated under the Controlled Substance Act and not legal for use across the United States.

To summarize:

It’s important to remember that these terms are used in a legal context, and therefore, it’s critical to demystify the terms cannabis, hemp and marijuana to avoid any potential complications.

For more information, visit our cannabis market page.

For immediate assistance, contact Jordan Bukowski, our District Sales Manager for the Cannabis Market at 440-724-1931 or

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