Cannabis vs. Hemp: Understanding the Key Difference - Cannadoc

The Cannabis Sativa species produces both cannabis and hemp. For this reason, people have had some difficulty distinguishing between these products for many years. Not only do producers and marketers of these products often conflate the terms ‘cannabis’ and ‘hemp’ without knowing the difference, the many years of prohibition of these products has not helped. It has directly led to a lack of knowledge about cannabis vs hemp. This is another factor that makes it difficult to understand their key differences.

But it is still incredibly important to know how to distinguish between them, particularly if you are considering medical cannabis as a potential treatment. They are different in terms of their usages, properties, and characteristics, which we will explore and examine in this short post.

The Difficulty of Classifying Cannabis vs Hemp

Classifying cannabis and hemp is difficult for various reasons. In addition to the lack of knowledge available about these products, across the globe there are different laws to classify cannabis vs hemp.

Although it is generally accepted in the US that hemp is classified as containing less than 0.3 percent THC, in Europe this defining percentage was (until recently) 0.2 percent. In Europe however, this has recently changed, and percentages are now the same as the US. There are also some exceptions to this law. In Europe for instance, not all cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC is classified as hemp. The plant strain needs to come from an EU approved hemp list.

In Australia, hemp classification varies by state in that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be below 1 percent in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland and 0.35 per cent in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. Regarding hemp products sold in Australia, they must also meet strict requirements. For example, hemp seed oil must have a total cannabidiol (CBD) content of 0.0075% or less and a total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 0.005% or less. If these cannabinoid amounts are greater than what is defined by the law, then the product is considered a scheduled therapeutic good.

Cultivation Method of Cannabis vs Hemp

One way that we can distinguish between these products is to recognise that cannabis and hemp are cultivated in different ways. Cannabis usually needs specific conditions (especially for pharmaceutical products) and tightly controlled variables such as temperature, light and humidity conditions. If these factors are not properly monitored, this can lead to disease and the eventual death of the plant. With this in mind, it is usually more expensive than hemp, which doesn’t require as much control or maintenance. Hemp is also commonly grown outside and has a longer growth cycle.

Usages of Cannabis vs Hemp

Although the popularity of cannabis for recreational drug use is indisputable, it is also considered a medicinal drug. Unfortunately, there is still not a lot of clinical evidence for doctors to access if they are interested in prescribing a medicinal cannabis product to a patient.

Hemp, on the other hand, is available in a large selection of products. It also takes various forms – from seeds to oils and capsules, and these many types of hemp are used in foods, body and skincare products, while some fibres are even used for fuel.

Uses of Cannabis Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil

Cannabis oil is usually created through various extraction methods using the plants flowers from the Cannabis Sativa or Indica strains. Although it is similar to hemp seed oil in various ways it offers the addition of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. It usually comes with a certificate of analysis, which provides details of what the product contains. Also, whereas the benefits of hemp seed oil have been recognised for years for skincare and beauty regimes, cannabis oil is a product that is new to most markets.


Hemp seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plan, can be used for a range of foods as it provides an excellent source of nutrients such as omegas’ 3 and 6. Not only is hemp seed oil also rich in antioxidants, it is also an excellent source of protein.

Hemp Food Products

Hemp based foods are in high demand. The supply generally meets this demand around the world, with food products such as hemp seed spreads, energy bars and oil being produced and available to purchase from natural food stores.

Levels of THC in Cannabis vs Hemp: the Essential Difference

Cannabis refers to the Cannabis Sativa or Indica plant that is grown for its high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – (a psychoactive substance found in the flowers of the plant), hemp refers to a strain of Cannabis Sativa that contains at most, very small quantities of THC.

People Also Ask

Is Hemp Different from Cannabis?

Hemp and cannabis might be derived from the same plant (Cannabis Sativa), but they are used in different ways. Hemp can be used for creating textiles, fabrics, and can be used in food and skin products. Cannabis, on the other hand, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Does Hemp Contain CBD?

There are certain strains of hemp that have high cannabidiol (CBD) content. Some manufacturers use these plants to produce CBD oil.