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The NIDA Blog Team

Maybe you’ve heard that marijuana is similar (or identical) to something called hemp. If you’ve seen hemp necklaces or hemp shampoo on store shelves, or heard that Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, grew hemp, you may have wondered: Wait a minute, you mean I can wash my hair with liquid marijuana? Our third president grew weed?

The answer is more complicated than you might think.

Here are some facts on hemp and its relation to marijuana:

What exactly is hemp?

“Hemp” is another name for the Cannabis sativa plant and its products. This same species of plant is also called marijuana.

Is hemp the same thing as marijuana?

Yes and no. Hemp and marijuana are both names for the Cannabis sativa plant, but people usually use these terms to talk about two different varieties of the plant.

Varieties grown to make hemp rope and other products you see on the shelves (including the varieties Jefferson and others grew during the 1700s) have a whole lot less of the chemical that makes marijuana users feel high. Those varieties are sometimes called “industrial hemp.”

Varieties grown for use as a drug have been specifically bred to have lots of THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the chemical that makes users feel high.

What is industrial hemp used for?

The stalks of industrial hemp—remember, that’s the kind with low levels of THC—can be made into rope, paper, wax, and cloth for furniture or clothes. Sterilized hemp seeds can be made into oil for shampoo, soap, or body lotion. The seeds can also be mixed in with food for animals.

Is hemp illegal?

Cannabis sativa is usually illegal under U.S. federal law, but there are exceptions to that rule for products made from hemp that do not contain THC, like paper and shampoo. The U.S. imports some industrial hemp products, and some states also allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

What’s the short answer?

Hemp rope and joints of marijuana come from different varieties of the same plant. The hemp that’s made into rope or jewelry won’t make a person high.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


I always thought hemp and marijuana were the same thing. But this article here proves me right, yet wrong at the same time.
yes mam i have done this here drug and its fab
Imagine twins one boy one girl they are not the same ; they are both there own person. As one may become a lifelong criminal for minor crimes the other is a honors student and gets in no type of trouble. The one of a life of crime will not be judged or persecuted on there twins behalf. Unfortunately in this day and age if your family member is a Criminal you are looked upon as maybe not such a trustful person or perhaps just a bad person. Now let's put this in the view of a plant. Pot. The substances that gets ridiculed on behalf of its halfly legalized twin. In this situation the "buds" ( the part of the plant that is clipped off and smoked) is the criminal cousin . The leaves , hemp ( The leaves that are thrown away after clipping buds) is the honor student. Not doing anything wrong but associated with the Buds that are known for non legal practices ( Also relieving pain from severe illness ( including cancer)). With doing nothing wrong besides being an extremely well alternative source of paper( which the government does not approve of by the way) has done nothing wrong like the honor student. Just simply "bad " by relation.
Yes, they are the same but different. As with many things, it comes down to how they are used. As this article clearly states, the uses for hemp do not include getting high or other negative outcomes. It is an important and useful product that helps the economy through production of things like clothes and paper. Thanks for the clarification.
I think this passage is perfect for children, teens, and adolesants who need information on what different kinds of drugs are out there and what it does to the brain.
Why is hemp part of schedule 1 status as cannabis but also sold worldwide?

U.S. federal laws classify marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, but other countries have different laws.

The ONLY thing different is Cannabinoid content. Nothing else. You can use Marijuana just like industrial Hemp, however the only way to obtain enough product to produce something is to grow it Industrial style. IF you could get lbs of "Marijuana" seeds like you can get lbs of Hemp seed you could plant the Marijuana seed in an industrial hemp fashion and you will get the same product, it would just take 3-4 seasons for the THC to be minimal and TEST as HEMP.
This is Very good Working site
Is hemp seed a drug

Great question. “Hemp” is another name for the Cannabis sativa plant and its products. This same species of plant is also called marijuana. You can learn more on the blog post, What Is Hemp?