Cannabis, Hemp, Marijuana…What The Hemp?

Cannabis, Hemp, Marijuana…What The Hemp?

As a newbie diving into the world of essential oils (or even as a seasoned veteran), cannabis, hemp, and marijuana oils can throw you for a loop. Historically, there’s been a lot of red tape and prohibition around the cannabis plant. As a result, not many people know much about its many benefits. Here is a little info to keep in mind as you navigate your way through the weeds.

Is there a difference between hemp and cannabis?

Well, yes and no (confusing, we know). But think about it this way: all rectangles are squares but not all squares are rectangles. The same goes for hemp and cannabis. All hemp is cannabis, but not all cannabis is hemp.

Cannabis is a plant family that includes many species. Hemp and marijuana are varieties of this species. That brings us to our next question...

What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Although derived from the same plant (Cannabis Sativa), the hemp and marijuana varieties differ in several ways.


Plants grown for hemp are generally taller, reaching up to 15 feet tall and have long stalks. Marijuana plants, however, cap at around 4 feet tall, and grow outward with more leaves and buds.

Growing Environment

Hemp plants require a less maintenance - growing in tighter spaces and needing less water.

Part of the Plant

Hemp is taken from the seeds and stalks of the plant. Marijuana is extracted from the buds of the plant.

THC Levels

Marijuana contains 10-14% THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), while hemp usually contains less than 1% THC.

CBD Levels

Hemp contains more CBD (or Cannabidiol), which is associated with wellness benefits, than marijuana.


While the medical marijuana industry is growing, marijuana has traditionally been used for recreational purposes due to its hallucinatory effects. Hemp, however, with its high CBD levels, is known for its natural and safe relaxation effects.

What About the Oils?

We’ve gone over the differences between cannabis, hemp, and marijuana. But what about the oils themselves? In an industry that’s clouded with so much confusion, many people (retailers and experts included) use the terms cannabis, hemp, and marijuana interchangeably. How do you know what you’re buying?

Although hemp is technically cannabis, when you see “cannabis oil,” it typically means “marijuana oil.” But, if you are still unsure (or even want to make sure the label isn’t for marketing purposes), you can check the THC levels.

Learn more about the benefits of hempseed oil.