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"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Genesis 1:29 (King James Version)

Hemp vs. Marijuana

It is important to clarify the differences between hemp and what is commonly referred to as marijuana. One thing that confuses some and angers others is the word marijuana, which may be due to the origin of the word. From some of the research that I have done and from using the dictionary, I found out why this may be. The word marijuana is actually derived from the word marihuana, which was used "colloquially in the Sonoran region of Mexico"A3(Herer, 25).

The word "hemp" is English for a number of varieties of the cannabis plant, particularly the varieties like "industrial hemp" that were bred over time for industrial uses such as fuel, fiber, paper, seed, food, oil, etc.

The term "marijuana" is of Spanish derivation, and was primarily used to describe varieties of cannabis that were more commonly bred over time for medicinal and recreational purposes, like cannabis indica, and certain strains of cannabis sativa." - Hemp vs. Marijuana

Furthermore, hemp and marijuana, even though they belong to the same plant family, "Cannabaceae" and genus, "Cannabis L.," they are not the same plant, rather they can be thought of as "cousins." For those who have forgotten their biology, a familyA1 within the Kingdom "Plantae" is made up of plants that have many common features; a genusA1 is a subgroup of family and typically has a familiar name.

Botanically, both industrial hemp and marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) belong, along with hop (Humulus lupulus and associated wild species), to the family Cannabaceae (Frohne 1992). In former times, many other species of the genus Cannabis were described, among them C. chinensis Delile, C. indica Lam., C. lupulus Scop., C. americana Pharm. ex Wehmer, C. generalis Krause, C. ruderalis Janischevskij (Schultes 1974).

Today, it is generally accepted that the genus Cannabis consists of only one species, namely Cannabis sativa L. (Frohne 1992). This conception is justified by the high variability of characteristics used for the classification of species and the unlimited cross-breeding within the genus (interfertility). But Cannabis sativa L. is often DIVided into sub-species or varieties, according to their composition of cannabinoids, so-called 'chemotypes,' or according to appearance, so-called 'phenotypes.' Varieties used for the production of fiber and seeds are often called "sativa" (Cannabis sativa L. var. sativa), while those suitable for the production of drugs are often called "indica" (Hänsel 1992). - Industrial hemp is not marijuana

I have tried to uncover the reasons and the year that the following species: C. chinensis Delile, C. indica Lam., C. lupulus Scop., C. americana Pharm. ex Wehmer, C. generalis Krause, C. ruderalis Janischevskij were all discontinued and included within the species, Cannabis sativa L. By the way, speciesA1 is used to distinguish the individual plant.

However, this brings me to my next point, the classification of all varieties of the genus, "Cannabis L." into one species makes a case for those who think that hemp should not be legalized because it is hard to distinguish between "industrial hemp" (Cannabis sativa) and "marijuana" (Cannabis indica). Nonetheless, I will go off on a ledge and say that there was a hidden agenda for the classification of all different "Cannabis L." species into one. I have not been able to find out why the change occurred or when but when I do, I will be sure to update this page with that information.

If you go to the PLANTS National Database and do a search on the common name, "industrial hemp" you will return no results. However, if you use the word hemp, you will retrieve approximately 20 different common names that include the word "hemp." After finding the scientific name, Cannabis L. you can click on the genus, "Cannabis L.," and you will be told that only 1 species (even though at one point and time there were more) exists. Below you can see the lineage for the 2 subspecies and varieties:


Cannabis sativa L. ssp. sativa
Cannabis sativa L. ssp. indica (Lam.)


Cannabis sativa L. ssp. sativa var. sativa
Cannabis sativa L. ssp. sativa var. spontanea Vavilov

The issue that I have with the results above is that the common name for each species, subspecies, and variety ("a plant that is only slightly different from the species plant, but the differences are not so insignificant as the differences in a form")A1 is "marijuana." This implies that marijuana and hemp are synonymous (I don't think they are) and that even though marijuana typically refers to indica, the "subspecies" of the genus, Cannabis L. that can be used for "medicinal and therapeutic purposes," it (marijuana) was also the common name given for the "subspecies" sativa, which is commonly known as "industrial or true hemp."

Furthermore, one of the fundamental differences between "marihuana" and "(industrial) hemp" is the amount of THC and CBD that is present in each. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is usually known as the chemical ingredient in "pot" that makes one feel "high." CBD (Cannabidiol) is known as a non-psychoactive ingredient found in both. CBD has been called an anti-THC because it blocks the THC and is the major reason that anyone who tries to smoke "industrial hemp" will never get "high!" Concerning the amount of THC that is present in "marihuana" compared to the amount in "industrial hemp" depends on the age of the research and often times who performed the research. I have seen values for THC in "marihuana" with ranges from 1-20% or 5-25%. Typically you will only come across values less than 1% for the amount present in "industrial hemp."

Another difference between "marihuana" and "true hemp" is how they are cultivated or grown. From my understanding, the reason why "marihuana" has more THC than "true hemp" is that it is grown farther apart and often times, it grows like a vine. While "true hemp" is often grown in rows like tobacco, corn, soy, etc, so the next time you hear the DEA or another agency of the federal government tell you that they can not distinguish between "marihuana" and "industrial hemp," let them know that you can. Then ask them if they even know the history of "marijuana" and how the term came to the English language and why it was demonized in the 1930's. It seems that many have been either "miseducated" on the issue of legalization and prohibition or they simply have no knowledge of either. It is interesting how both played a part in the "Congressional hearings" that led to the "Marihuana Tax Act of 1937" and later the federal prohibition of "marihuana."

The future of this country and the world depends on us reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, coal, synthetic fibers, and trees. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this independence is through the worldwide production of "industrial hemp." Not just that, the countries, territories, and regions with marijuana and hemp prohibition need to abolish their laws so that once again, hemp and marijuana can be grown and used "freely." Yes, I said "once again," marijuana and hemp were not demonized in the United States until the 1930's, which led to their federal prohibition in 1937.

If you would like to get more information on the history of hemp and marijuana before 1930, click on the links below:

Timeline Cannabis Timeline HEMP TIMELINE - History of hemp from 8000 BC to present
Hemp History UKCIA presents... A Cannabis Chronology Marijuana Timeline
marijuana history timeline MEDICAL CANNABIS TIMELINE H I S T O R Y

Abel, Ernest L. Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. Plenum, 1980. or Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. Abel

Bonnie, R. and Whitebread, C.H., II, The Marijuana Conviction: The History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States (Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Classic, 1999), republishing The Marihuana Conviction: The History of Marihuana Prohibition in the United States (University Press of Virginia, 1974). Bonnie

Marijuana Prohibition

You may be wondering now, why should marijuana and hemp be legalized? Well, before that question can be answered another question needs to be asked and answered. How and why did marijuana and hemp become illegal? That question from the research that I have undertaken since high school has provided me with varying reasons for the prohibition of marijuana and hemp.

From my understanding, the laws that were enacted, which later led Congress to make marijuana and hemp illegal occurred for different reasons and in different parts of the country. To further understand the laws that led to the "Prohibition," a history of this country and the attitudes of its citizens towards people of different ethnic groups from the "ruling class/majority" needs to be discussed.

The History:

The Early 1900's

The late 1800's and early 1900's marked the "United States" as being the "largest and most competitive industrial nation in the world."A2 The Industrial Revolution was the start of mass production in factories. During the early 1900's (circa 1920), there was a need in factories and on farms throughout the US for more "cheap" labor (remember that during that time, many poor and "uneducated" were off fighting in World War I). The owners of the farms and factories lobbied (bribed) Congress to allow Immigration from Mexico, so they could have enough labor/hands. Remember that approximately 50 years before, the US had fought Mexico—in an unnecessary war—and through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, (which ended the Mexican War) the US gained land that became the following states: California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Even though the US won the war and acquired land that had once belonged to Mexico, there was a lot of animosity towards Mexicans and others of Latin/Central American descent—this is still true today. Much like today, the Mexicans were blamed for many of the crimes committed within the cities that they populated. And with the news that came from the newspapers not only were the Mexicans blamed for the "crime waves," but also the "Indian Hemp" (marijuana) which they had brought with them (and smoked recreationally) that made them think that they were "invincible." Research by Abel and the team of Bonnie and Whitebread discovered the following:

Local authorities started a rumor that the drug caused crime and violence among the Mexican population (Abel, 203-204, 212-213). The origin of this rumor appears to have been a common Mexican saying, 'Esta ya ledio las tres' ('you take it three times'). According to local folklore, the first smoke induced a feeling of well-being; the second caused extreme elation coupled with activity; and the third supposedly made the smoker oblivious to danger, quarrelsome, delirious, destructive, and conscious of superhuman strength (Bonnie and Whitebread, 33).A3

The propaganda of the crimes and violence that occurred in cities with a Mexican population led to outcries and rage from nay citizens who now wanted Congress to ban further Immigration from Mexico and do something to keep their "drug" out of U.S. cities. However, both hemp and marijuana grew wild and had been growing in this country for thousands of years before the "Mexicans" immigrated to the U.S.

Not just that, hemp was known during most of this country's history for its many uses. The early and later settlers, pioneers, and "forefathers" recognized the versatility of hemp, but today, hemp is outlawed and condemned, even though, there has been research conducted that says hemp has approximately 30, 000 different uses. How many other plants besides the peanut, do you know that has more or an equal amount of uses as hemp? But the thing that was true then and even more so now, is that this society is one which is very narrow-minded and seeks only specialists or one-use products and also people.

Think about the products that you currently buy to clean your house, car, or garage, you have products with only suitable/usable function: cleaning windows, floors, ovens, toilets, carpets, etc. Just think of how much money that could be saved by you, the consumer, if you were to be a better informed of multitaskingA4 products that you could buy that could perform all of these tasks and more. But this mind set and an informed citizen could wreak havoc on businesses that promote toxic (most are toxic and hazardous) one-use products for our use.

We would be told (by the government and corporations—corporament) that by not supporting those aforementioned businesses that the economy would be weakened, workers would be laid off, and another war would have to be started to re-employ those who were laid off and to stimulate the economy. And with the businesses lobbying (bribing) Congress to create laws that would either limit or prohibit the use of products that could be used instead.

This explains one of the situations in which marijuana became prohibited. The industrial giants of the early 20th Century saw hemp and marijuana as a threat to their businesses' existence and the lifestyles they were accustomed to living via the consumers who bought their products. Many of which were not needed, but since they told or persuaded us that we could not live without them, we bought them and made them rich, but has/did it to do for us?—we now have contaminated water, irreversible global warming (reversible if "If we greatly reduced our carbon dioxide output while increasing carbon storage, we could mitigate global warming"), polluted skies/air and land, increases in cancer, human and other animal mutations, loss of wildlife, marshes, and forests (and farm land, parks, etc.), no more FREE water, an increase in prison populations and the homeless, greed and lust, poisons (fluoride, arsenic, lead, etc.) in our HA20 (water), and environmental racism.

Who were these rich businessmen that despised hemp and sought the prohibition of hemp and marijuana. They were William Randolph Hearst; Andrew Mellon; and Thomas Coleman du Pont, Alfred Irénée du Pont and Pierre Samuel du Pont, the owners of E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company (now known simply as Du Pont) in 1902.

......Under Construction, check back later.


A1 Classification of plants. Last Hit: August 13, 2002.
A2 The World Book Encyclopedia. Lampard, Eric E. World Book, Inc. Copyright 1984. Volume 10 (I): INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, pg. 195.
A3 Lupien, John Craig. "UNRAVELING AN AMERICAN DILEMMA: THE DEMONIZATION OF MARIHUANA," Masters Thesis, Pepperdine University, April, 1995.
A4 Halvorson, Christine. Favorite Brand Name Vol. 6, December 5, 2000, No. 67. Publications International, Ltd.: U.S.A., 2000.

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Last Modified: 30 October 2007 EST