Photo of hemp oil and seeds

 

It is of utmost importance to note that industrial hemp is NOT the same as marijuana. While both fall under the cannabis species of plant, there are a number of notable differences between the two, including:

1. Visual Appearance
2. Environment
3. Chemical Composition

Find Farmland in Florida for Hemp Production

Hemp has been grown for over ten millennia and has been in use as a component for goods including paper, clothing, rope and even lotion. Until the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, it was illegal to grow in Florida. Recently, many have begun to realize the benefits of hemp.

Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried has been hard at work to bring hemp and all of it's benefits here to our state. Speaking on Hemp, Fried stated "It’s something that’s going to bring jobs here to our state economy. We’re looking at this to be a $20-30 billion industry in the next five to 10 years. That’s money that gets to go to our state for education, for affordable housing, for infrastructure, and it really is going to be something that is going to change the face of our state."

At the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, studies are underway that are assessing how a stable hemp industry could be established in our state.

Here are descriptions of the vital differences between marijuana and hemp:

1. Visual Appearance

The two plants are visually quite distinct from each other. While a typical marijuana plant has broad leaves with dense buds and a bushy aspect, a hemp plant, in contrast, grows taller and skinnier with skinnier leaves. Looking at them side by side, the visual differences would be quite clear to the naked eye.

2. Environment

While marijuana plants tend to require plenty of space between each other, hemp plants are grown in close proximity. Growing marijuana plants would require separation of 6 feet while growing hemp plants would require separation of a mere 4 inches. The two plants also have highly different growing rates. Marijuana tends to require 60-90 days to grow, while hemp requires 108-120 days. Marijuana also requires an environment with higher temperatures and humidity compared to hemp which has the ability to grow in a variety of conditions.

3. Chemical Composition

The chemical construction of the two plants represents more differences. Marijuana contains a high concentration (15% to 40%) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the intoxicating component when inhaled. Hemp has a lower concentration of THC (0.3% or less). Hemp has much higher levels of CBD when compared to marijuana, which is why hemp is the best for industrial uses.

For updates on industrial hemp, check out these other articles.

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