Distinguishing Hemp from Its Cousin?

On one of your pages, you state: “While industrial hemp and marijuana may look somewhat alike to an untrained eye, an easily trained eye can distinguish the difference.” I work for the sheriff’s department in San Bernardino County in California and would like to know the difference – physically, microscopically and THC and other cannabinol concentrations.


One response to “Distinguishing Hemp from Its Cousin?

  1. The difference in appearance and growing methods is akin to the difference between growing corn and roses. Industrial hemp and feral ditchweed are grown closely together (rows are as close as 4 inches apart), it is grown in large multi-acre plots, it grows thin and tall, as tall as 20 feet high in many cases, has few branches or leaves below the tops, and is grown 108-120 days.

    Contrast that with medicinal cannabis: grown 6 feet apart, it is a shorter fatter bush with many branches, smaller plots with fewer plants, and is grown for 60-90 days. When ready to harvest, the corn vs. roses analogy is even more striking. I have pictures of medicinal cannabis grown legally in Europe, where it is next to an orchard and vineyard, and it is clearly very different from the industrial hemp pictures from Canada.

    There are differences in leaf structure that are apparent even after harvest, as most medicinal cannabis plants are either broad leafed with a 5 or 7 leaf pattern (cannabis Indica) or a tight bud or nugget with orange “hairs” (from an Afghani strain, preferable to growers because it is ready to harvest quickest, and their customers prefer it). The cannabis Sativa that is typically industrial hemp matures the slowest, and Sativa is not preferred by most customers any more.

    THC content in feral hemp is probably around 0-2 percent. Industrial hemp in Canada is 0.3 percent or less, and better commercial varieties of medicinal cannabis are up to 25 percent. Don’t buy the argument that 1 percent THC in hemp is enough to get high, because industrial hemp also has high CBD (cannabidiol, a cannabinoid in hemp) that is essentially a THC antagonist. More CBD means the THC is less effective, and hemp is highest in CBD and medicinal is lowest. So even if there is 1 percent THC in hemp, the CBD makes it useless to smoke. As for extracting the THC from hemp: why bother? If you can buy pot (even in your jail) for as low as $100/oz., why try and extract it at great cost and hassle? Just go down to the local park and buy real pot and save the inconvenience. It’s much like saying only people over 21 can buy potatoes, since kids might make vodka out of it!

    And remember, industrial hemp pollens will make the sinsemilla (seedless, highest potency, requires an absence of cannabis pollen) downwind for many miles less potent.

    Officer, please remember that you are among the finest, best trained police in the world. If every other police force in the industrialized world can tell the difference, I’m sure that when the time is appropriate POST or DEA or USDA or California AG or someone to whom it is important will provide the necessary information to show you the difference between the two.

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