• Hemp vs. marijuana: What's the difference?

    By: Rick Maranon


    Story Highlights

    • Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants.
    • The difference is in the level of THC.
    • Hemp is defined by the government as having no more than .3 percent THC.
    • Marijuana has a higher THC level.

    TULSA, Okla. - Four people were arrested recently in Osage County on accusations of trafficking marijuana, but they claim it was a shipment of hemp. FOX23’s Rick Maranon sought to find out the difference between the two.

    READ MORE: Police investigate semi-truck carrying 18,000 pounds of marijuana

    Chip Paul, an author of State Question 788 that legalized medical marijuana in Oklahoma and the president of Oklahomans for Health, said hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants and the difference is the level of THC, the chemical compound that produces a high, in each.

    Federal government regulations define hemp as having 0.3 percent THC. Marijuana naturally produces a higher level of THC.

    Hemp is grown mainly for industrial purposes and had its governing laws loosened recently by the federal government so more people could transport, work with and access it. Most notably, it is used in the making of cannabidiol, or CBD, oil.

    Marijuana is still heavily restricted, if not outright illegal, depending on which jurisdiction you are in.

    Osage County District Attorney Mike Fischer told FOX23 the alleged hemp confiscated in Pawhuska last week had clear signs under a microscope that it was in fact marijuana. He described hemp as the male version of the plant and marijuana as the female version.

    "There were clear male and female differences we could see, and what I saw was clearly what for this story could be classified as female," Fischer said.

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