Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the difference?


Legal CBD products in the UK are derived from the hemp plant. The legal THC limit for industrial hemp in the UK is 0.2%.

It is possible to make CBD products from marijuana but the THC content would be considerably higher, therefore these products are most commonly found in countries where the legal limit is higher, such as Switzerland where the limit in 1.0% or in the USA where marijuana for recreational use has been legalised.



Cannabis is an herbaceous (herb) plant widely accepted as being indigenous to and originating from central Asia. Cannabis has many different species of plant that are within its family. The main two that are associated with CBD are hemp and Marijuana.  Cannabis also has two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa.

Sativa has been cultivated throughout history and used as a source of food, recreation, seed oil, industrial fibre and medicine. Each part of the plant is harvested differently, depending on the purpose of its use. The word “sativa” means things that are cultivated. Hemp belongs to the Cannabis sativa species.

Indica differs from Sativa mainly due to the large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The higher concentrations of THC within the strain provide euphoric and intoxicating effects making it popular for use both as a recreational and medicinal drug.



Hemp belongs to the Cannabis sativa species only. Hemp comes with high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but it carries almost no THC (below 0.2%).

Industrial hemp can be grown and harvested commercially under licence in the UK.  Hemp is harvested commercially for its seeds, stalks, flowers and oil. hemp can be commercially grown and manufactured into CBD products for sale to the public.  Because it grows sturdy and tall — up to 2 to 4 meters in height — it’s typically cultivated outdoors.

CBD from hemp is certainly what you will find in almost all CBD products in the UK.



Marijuana is a cannabis plant that is most commonly harvested for its intoxicating and psychotropic properties that are responsible for making users feel ‘high’.  Unlike hemp, the seeds and stalks of marijuana aren’t used commercially. Instead, the plant is cultivated for its flowers which contain an abundance of cannabinoids and the highest levels of THC within the plant.

The THC content of marijuana is naturally much higher than it is in hemp. Marijuana can have up to 30% THC (sometimes more) and the CBD levels are lower.

Since Marijuana naturally contains much higher levels of THC it is currently a controlled drug as classified by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.


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