Hemp and marijuana plants are both of the same species, Cannabis sativa. Legally, hemp is defined as a cannabis plant containing 0.3 percent or less THC, while marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC. CBD can be derived from both hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a botanical class of Cannabis sativa cultivars cultivated specifically for industrial or medicinal use.
It can be used to manufacture a wide range of products, such as paper, ropes, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food and animal feed. Hemp has been cultivated for fiber since 2800 BC in China and was spread to the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. In the United States, industrial hemp is defined as Cannabis sativa L. that does not contain more than 0.3% THC.
The European Union has set the limit at 0.2%, while in the United Kingdom the limit is zero unless producers have a cultivation license to grow industrial hemp with no more than 0.2% THC. Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth and can reach a height of up to 5 meters (16 feet). It is also one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 50,000 years ago. Hemp is often used to make robes for Buddhist monks and loincloths for sumo wrestlers.
Hemp seeds can also be mixed with water to make hemp milk and used as a substitute for cow's milk or other plant-based milks. Hemp produces a wide range of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating cannabinoid in marijuana. Hemp insulation is naturally lightweight and non-toxic, allowing for exposed installation in a variety of spaces, including floors, walls and ceilings. Hemp is most commonly used as concrete in building construction because of its lightness (approximately seven times lighter than common concrete).
The oldest documented evidence of hemp cultivation is a rope dating from 26,900 BC located in the present-day Czech Republic. Hemp fiber is used to make bioplastics that are recyclable and biodegradable depending on the formulation. Hemp plants can be vulnerable to several pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, nematodes, viruses and other various pathogens. Despite the fact that the federal government legalized hemp, some states have realized that companies use hemp to create products with intoxicating cannabinoids and have banned these compounds on their own such as delta-8 THC.
The greater determination of whether the plant is hemp or marijuana depends on the spectra and concentrations of the psychoactive compound THC.