While hemp and marijuana are both part of the same species, they are two very different plants.
To put it simply, marijuana affects you, and hemp affects everything around you. Let us explain.
The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana
Hemp is a nonpsychoactive plant – meaning, it won’t get you high. Typically, hemp is used for various fibers, fuel, and even food. Marijuana on the other hand, you may have guessed, gets you high. Even the nonpsychoactive ingredient – CBD – still has the ability to affect your mental or physical state. This is something that hemp can’t do, unless you’re the type of person who gets really, really excited about an organic hemp t-shirt.
The uses for marijuana are as vast as the uses for hemp but they’re very different. People use marijuana to treat themselves medically, or just for fun and entertainment. If you’re an adult in the US, there’s more than half a chance that you already know what we’re talking about.
When you look at the actual plants, it’s very easy to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. The hemp plant can grow up to 13 feet tall, while marijuana usually only reaches between 50 cm and 6.5 feet tall. The hemp plant has very long stocks and can grow comfortably closely packed together with other hemp plants. Marijuana is the opposite with shorter stocks and each plant needs a lot of space to grow properly.
Hemp is grown in over 30 different countries, but marijuana remains illegal in most. So if hemp is so much more socially accepted than marijuana, why was it banned for 80 years?
Why Hemp Was Banned
Hemp requires no pesticides to grow, can grow in almost any soil, and has a multi-functionality that’s out of this world. So why was hemp banned for so long? Before 1937, both marijuana and hemp were legal and highly socially accepted. So what happened?
To make a very, very long story short, marijuana was banned in order to control Mexican and Black people. We know — it’s a big jump. But if you read some of the hearings held by state legislature, it’s obvious that a lot of the decisions that were made were based on emotional racism, without facts to back them up.
Even John Ehrlichman, the Counsel and Assistant to US President Nixon (you know – that guy who started the whole ‘War on Drugs’) revealed, “You want to know what this was really all about? Nixon had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.”Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
Yes, that’s a real quote. Look it up.
So, that begs the question, why ban commercially profitable hemp along with marijuana?
Big business interests noticed all of this going on with marijuana and took advantage of the political climate to close the free market to hemp products.
Specifically, ‘chemical pulping’ paper was invented around the same time by DuPont Chemicals as a part of a multi-million dollar deal with a newspaper chain and timber holding company owned by William Randolph Hearst. While this provided Hearst with very cheap paper, the paper turned yellow very quickly as it aged.
Hemp paper threatened Hearst’s new cheap paper empire. Therefore, hemp was lumped in with marijuana and was banned when the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed.
The moral of the story? The combo of racism and big business taking advantage is never a good idea.
Another difference between hemp and marijuana is hemp doesn’t have hardly anything to do with the “dangerous drug” that politicians and lawmakers in the 30s staged marijuana to be. Does it?
Can you smoke hemp?
Technically speaking, you can put anything into a pipe and smoke it. But that doesn’t mean you should crush up some grass from your lawn and smoke it just because it’s a plant.
“It would give you a headache and that’s about it,” says David Bronner, a board member of the California-based trade group Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and a board member of the political action committee Vote Hemp.
Hemp contains less than 1% of THC and these trace amounts are negligible when it comes to getting high off of them.
While the difference between hemp and marijuana is a stark one, there are ways that you can use them together. We recommend getting high from marijuana while using hemp wick instead of a lighter to light your bowl or pre-roll. With a lighter, you’re inhaling harmful butane gases. With hemp wick, you can get smoother, tastier, and healthier hits.