Cannabis Science

Hemp vs Weed: Their Differences, Uses and Benefits

hemp vs marijuana

Sometimes people talk about hemp and marijuana as if they’re completely different things. Yes, there is a difference but hemp and marijuana are not two different species. They’re both different types of cannabis. As a matter of fact, a book on cannabis said there is no taxonomical difference between hemp and marijuana. However, hemp and marijuana are utilized for different reasons. They can both be incredibly beneficial to you based on what your needs and wants are. Here is what we know about hemp vs weed.

Photo: Unsplash/Unsplash (mashup)

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is very unlikely to get you high based on the low THC content it has. Due to its low THC content, hemp is also legal in the United States because of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana also referred to as weed legally describes a cannabis plant with more than 0.3% of THC. Healthline noted that this number is actually pretty arbitrary. While there are varying amounts of THC in marijuana plants, it’s best known for producing a high. Marijuana is not legal in every state and that’s because it is viewed completely differently by lawmakers. 

Generally speaking, when people say marijuana, they are referring to the flowers of the plant. The flower contains most of the THC so that’s deemed as important to those using weed to get high.

Hemp Vs Weed: Uses

Hemp and weed are definitely used in different ways. Even though they have tons of great benefits, they can have negative side effects if used excessively. It’s always recommended that if you’re using hemp, marijuana or its products for the first time to consult your doctor if you’re on medication to be on the safest side. In addition to that, start out with small doses and gradually increase as you see fit.

Hemp Uses

Hemp is sometimes manufactured to make products. Marijuana, on the other hand, is primarily consumed.

Hemp has many uses. According to Healthline, hemp makes:

  • Paper
  • Food products
  • Textiles
  • Animal feed
  • Plastic

Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from hemp. CBD is used to make a variety of things such as oil and food products. 

Weed Uses

Weed is primarily used as a recreational substance but is also used for medicinal reasons. Marijuana is inhaled, used orally, under the tongue and topically. 

Weed can be used in various products such as: 

  • Edibles
  • Tinctures
  • Blunts
  • Oils
  • Vapes
  • Ointments

People also use weed for dabbing, vape it and use it as oils. 

Hemp vs Weed: Benefits

There are tons of benefits for both weed and hemp. Both are used for mainly different reasons and thus can have different benefits. What is similar between the two is the impact they can have on our well-being. Here are the main benefits of each. 

Hemp Benefits

The following are benefits of hemp:

  • It’s a sustainable way to make paper and textile – According to Healthline, hemp’s sustainability is due to how fast it grows.
  • Nutritious – Hemp is full of nutrition and perfectly edible. Hemp is full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and magnesium. 
  • May prevent cardiovascular disease – Hemp appears to prevent this deadly disease according to this study. 
  • Great for skincare Hemp seed oil can treat certain conditions like atopic dermatitis. It can also serve as a great moisturizer. This oil is also believed to have anti-aging properties.

Weed Benefits

If you’ve been following our blog, you’d know that weed has tons of benefits. Weed has been linked or is being researched to treat:

  • Anxiety – Weed is believed to have anti-anxiety properties. Delta 8 and CBD products are specially believed to have anti-anxiety. High levels of THC can increase anxiety in some people though.


Hemp and weed are basically the same plant but are used much differently. Hemp is used in manufacturing while weed is mostly for consumption. The main difference between them is that hemp has less THC than weed. They both have tons of benefits that are worth exploring.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].