Are cannabis and hemp the same thing?

Hemp and cannabis - What's the difference?

Did you know there are many different strains of cannabis? You may be familiar with Indica and Sativa, but Ruderalis and Industrial Hemp are two of the other primarily grown strains. The cannabis genus is similar to the canine genus. Dogs can look radically different, but a rottweiler and a Yorkshire terrier are still both dogs. Indica and Sativa are named because of where they originated from. They are both radically different but still fall under the cannabis umbrella. You won't find industrial hemp or cannabis ruderalis at your local marijuana dispensary, though.

Just like canines, there are some major differences between cannabis plants.

What do different cannabis strains look like?

Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis Indica


Cannabis Ruderalis


Leaf ShapeThin and slenderThick and broadBroad top, thin bottomVariesLeaf Points975Varies

Sativa Indica Ruderalis Industrial Hemp
Growth Region Near Equator | Asia, S. America Middle East | Hindu Kush Region Northern Climates | Central Europe, Asia Anywhere
Max Height 20 Feet 4 Feet 2.6 Feet 15 Feet
Flowering Time 10 - 16 weeks 8 - 12 weeks 4 weeks 3 - 5 weeks

So how does a hemp plant differ from a marijuana plant?

  • Contain very little THC
  • Contain higher CBD concentrations
  • Can grow clustered together


  • Have a shorter flowering time
  • Harvested for textile purposes
  • Used to make hemp oil


When dried, Oregon State law dictates that an industrial hemp plant cannot contain more than a 0.3 percent concentration of THC.

Hemp growers have worked to breed THC out of their industrial hemp stock. They do this because their plants need to stay below the government mandated THC percentage, but it also means there are fewer rhizomes to process out of the final plant. There has been an interesting counter-effect, though.

Hemp plants are typically much higher in CBD than an average marijuana plant. With the THC bred out of it, the CBD concentrations increased over time. This makes hemp a valuable resource for CBD extraction. Because CBD is not psychoactive, hemp farmers do not have to concern themselves with CBD levels.

What can you make out of hemp?

  • Textiles like fabric and rope.
  • Processed into biodiesel and ethanol.
  • Compressed with Silica to make hempcrete.
  • Butter and cooking oil.


  • Skin lotions and balms.
  • Flour. Seeds are also edible.
  • Denim and canvas.
  • Completely biodegradable plastic.


  • Dairy-free hemp milk.
  • Soap and shampoo.
  • Home insulation and fiberboard.
  • Animal bedding.