Hemp and cannabis are two varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. However, they have significant differences in their chemical makeup, uses, and legal status. Understanding these differences is essential for anyone interested in the cannabis industry in Australia.
One of the main differences between hemp and cannabis is the amount of psychoactive compound THC present in them. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound that produces the "high" associated with cannabis use. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, typically less than 0.3%, while cannabis strains used for recreational or medical purposes contain much higher levels, typically between 10-30%. This means that hemp cannot produce the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use and is not considered a controlled substance.
Another significant difference is the use of hemp and cannabis. Hemp is used in a wide range of products, including clothing, paper, building materials, and food. It is also used in the production of CBD oil, which has become popular in the wellness industry for its potential health benefits. Cannabis, on the other hand, is mainly used for recreational or medical purposes. In Australia, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is legal in some states, but recreational use remains illegal.
The legal status of hemp and cannabis in Australia is another key difference. Hemp was legalized for cultivation in Australia in 2017, and the industry has grown significantly since then. Hemp is now an important agricultural commodity in Australia, with farmers growing it for use in a range of products. Cannabis, on the other hand, is still considered a controlled substance in Australia, and possession or use can result in criminal charges.
In conclusion, while hemp and cannabis are both varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, they have significant differences in their chemical makeup, uses, and legal status. Hemp is a versatile and legal agricultural commodity used in a range of products, while cannabis is mainly used for recreational or medicinal purposes and remains illegal in most of Australia.