With all the hype around CBD, understanding the difference between these two plants can be a little confusing. Let me shed some light on what people are talking about when reffering to either marijuana or hemp or both! 

Cannabis nicknames 

First lets have some fun. How many nicknames for cannabis you can think of…?

If you can think of more than four, you are already off to a good start. Perhaps ganja, holy weed or love weed, dope and Alfalfa came to mind. 

In fact, there are more than 2,300 street names and nicknames used when speaking about cannabis. Most of these, like weed, reefer, Mary Jane and the giggle plant date back to the jazz era. Newer slang names like trees, bud and hooch popped up later, around the late 1980s early 1990s, as a way for the younger generation to distance themselves from their parents’ use of dope and grass. 

Cannabis nicknames vary according to culture, geography and strain. For example, the street name bud refers to the part of the plant that is smoked while loud and dank make reference to the strain and THC intensity.

There are slang names for the better quality cannabis like Black gold, Buddha, Chiba Chiba, fine stuff, good stuff, golden leaf, white-haired lady, Killer green bud (KGB), King bud and Nug. 

And slang names for the poorer quality cannabis like dirt grass, ditch weed, green, harsh, leaf, ragweed, nixon, rope, rough stuff, stews, swag and whack. 

As well as all the possible street names and nicknames cannabis has, new industry trade names have become used commercially, also referring to the various strains available. The most popular ones you will find on many e- commerce sites and in stores are: Amnesia, Amnesia Haze, Blueberry, Blue Dream, Bubba Kush, Bubblegum, Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue, Grape Ape, Haze, Northern lights, OG Kush, Purple Haze, Skunk, Sour Diesel, Strawberry Cough, White Widow and Willie Nelson. 

Marijuana Vs Hemp 

Now down to these final two devils. To help clarify the difference between marijuana and hemp it is important to understand that both are merely two different types of cannabis plant, with a nuance.

Hemp comes in only one variety, one called cannabis sativa (known for its energizing effects). Hemp has high CBD and low THC.

Marijuana on the other hand, comes in two varieties: Cannabis Indica (known for its calming and relaxing effects) and also cannabis sativa. Here CBD levels are low and THC levels are high.

Marijuana Vs hemp cultivation 

A main differentiator between these two types of cannabis plant is how they are grown.

Marijuana plants are grown far apart to encourage many branches and are only harvested once the plant has produced flowers, resulting in a high THC content. Hemp plants are grown closer together. 

By having less space, hemp plants have large stalks and fewer branches, making them perfect for industrial use thanks to its strong fibres. By harvesting them before flowers are produced (the part of the plant with THC) these plants stand out for having controlled amounts of THC. Resulting in a plant with higher levels of cannabinoids like, for example, canabidoil (CBD). 

So hemp is grown to maximise yield as it doesn’t need the same levels of light, temperature and humidity as marijuana. 

So what does all this mean? 


Basically, Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family, that is made up of three main species: 

  1. Cannabis Sativa;
  2. Cannabis Indica;
  3. Cannabis Ruderalis (rarely used in today’s society). 

Hemp and Marijuana are in fact broad classifications of cannabis. The main differences are the levels of THC in both plants. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC (by dry weight) in the USA and less than O. 2% THC (by dry weight) in European countries. 

The THC concentration in Marijuana can be up to 30% THC. Making marijuana illegal and inducing the psycoactive “high” effect when taken that is missing from hemp. 

Thus the hemp version of the cannabis sativa plant is generally understood as being the non-intoxicating cannabis harvested for industrial use thanks to its structure and fibres. 


Hemp is a powerful antioxidant, in fact it contains more antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables, as well as key minerals like Calcium, Zinc and vitamin D & E as well as fatty acids. It is also seen to be a fantastic sustainable product as it only takes 4 months to grow compared to the several years of say, a tree.

Why do I compare hemp to a tree? Well just like trees, the fibres 
found in hemp have a wide variety of applications ranging from paper, rope, clothing, carpeting, netting, plastic, fuel, printing inks, varnishes, solvents and soooooo many more. 

Related: what does CBD actually do to your body?


Somewhat controversial due to its ‘rasict’ implications, marijuana has been illegal in the States since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, and too in the UK since 1928. 

Due to the high levels of THC in Marijuana (+30%), it is a powerful psychoactive. This happens because THC binds to the CBI and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system enducing mind altering and euphoric effects the “high”.

Marijuana is thus mostly famous for its recreational use, even though new studies show that it also has a variety of therapeutic applications. This leads me on to asking:

“With both plants cultivated in very different ways, is the CBD derived from either any different?”

The answer is, No.

The CBD found in both planets are exactly the same at molecular level. 

Yet, it is important to note that despite both hemp and Marijuana producing the same type of CBD, Marijuana derived CBD is still illegal. 


While the difference between marijuana and hemp can seem a little confusing, they are deep rooted into our culture and society. With the growing hype and CBD-THC trend, it is now more important than ever to understand the legal implications of the terminology employed, the differences between THC and CBD as well as how both marijuana and hemp relate to cannabis. This especially is important when deciding which product is right for us and our pets.


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