What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

In Texas, hemp is now legal but marijuana is not

SAN ANTONIO – Taking a closer look at both the marijuana and hemp plants and you will discover the huge difference between the two.

As we begin to see more hemp products and farming in Texas following state laws being loosened to allow it, it’s important to understand those differences.

While they are both in the cannabis family of plants, they are actually different species.

Below is a list of what makes each different from each other.

  • The biggest difference between the two is the amount of THC (the psychoactive chemical that gets a person high) in each. Hemp plants have .3 percent or less of THC, while the marijuana plants have a higher level.
  • Their appearance from far away may look the same but when you get close the hemp plant grows taller and skinnier, while the marijuana plant has buds, or flowers, and doesn’t grow as tall. The dried flowers of a marijuana plant are what people smoke. The way the two plants are grown is also different, the plants are each cared for and harvested differently.
  • Hemp is legal to grow and possess in Texas and marijuana isn’t. The Texas Agriculture Department is now in charge of licensing farmers to harvest hemp after it was passed by the Legislature last summer. Marijuana is still not legal in the state, but small amounts of medical marijuana are if you qualify for it by having certain symptoms and doctor approval.
  • Hemp is used for a long list of items that go beyond CBD oils, perhaps the most visible usage today. Hemp fibers are found in rope, clothing, textiles, shoes, insulation, and the list goes on and on. It is versatile and known to have over 25,000 different uses and has been used by humans for thousands of years.

Many often get confused by the two but it’s important to note the legality of each wherever you are located and how one can get you high and the other can’t.


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About the Author

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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