Can You Get High From Hemp?

So you’ve heard all the buzz about hemp lately, and you can’t help but wonder: can you actually get high from it? Well, let’s clear that up right off the bat. Hemp, although related to marijuana, is not the same thing. While marijuana contains high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high,” hemp has extremely low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, a compound known for its medicinal properties. So in short, no, you can’t get high from hemp. But let’s delve a little deeper into this fascinating subject to explore the many applications and benefits of this versatile plant.

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What is Hemp?

Hemp is a versatile plant that belongs to the Cannabis sativa family. It has been cultivated for thousands of years for a wide range of uses, including textiles, construction materials, biofuel, and as a source of essential nutrients. While hemp is closely related to marijuana, the two are distinct in terms of their chemical composition and psychoactive properties.

Definition of Hemp

Hemp is legally defined as cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. The cultivation of hemp is regulated and requires a license in many countries.

Difference between Hemp and Marijuana

Although hemp and marijuana are both derived from Cannabis sativa plants, they have significant differences. The key distinction lies in the chemical composition, specifically the levels of THC. Hemp contains minimal amounts of THC, while marijuana is bred to have higher concentrations of this psychoactive compound. This difference in THC content determines the effects of each plant.

Chemical Composition of Hemp

Understanding the chemical makeup of hemp is crucial in differentiating it from marijuana and comprehending its various applications.

Cannabinoids in Hemp

Hemp contains various cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The most well-known cannabinoids are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC. Hemp is particularly rich in CBD, which is known for its potential health benefits.

Levels of THC in Hemp

Hemp typically has very low levels of THC, usually below the legally defined 0.3% limit. This means that consuming hemp products, such as oils or seeds, will not lead to intoxication or psychoactive effects.

Psychoactive Effects of Hemp

One common misconception about hemp is whether it can cause a “high” similar to marijuana. Understanding the psychoactive properties of hemp can help dispel such myths.

Lack of Psychoactive Properties

Due to its low THC content, hemp does not produce the mind-altering effects associated with marijuana use. You can consume hemp products without worrying about experiencing psychoactive effects.

CBD Counteracts THC’s Psychoactivity

Hemp’s high CBD content plays a crucial role in counteracting the psychoactivity of THC. CBD has been shown to interact with the brain’s receptors in a way that reduces the intoxicating effects of THC. This synergy between CBD and THC is an important factor in the use of hemp products for therapeutic purposes.

Industrial Uses of Hemp

Hemp’s versatility extends far beyond its potential health benefits. The plant offers a range of applications in various industries.

Textiles and Clothing

Hemp fibers are strong, durable, and naturally resistant to mold and mildew. They can be spun into textile fibers and used to create fabrics for clothing, accessories, and even industrial products such as ropes and canvas.

Construction Materials

Hemp can be used to create sustainable and eco-friendly construction materials. The fibers of the plant can be used to make hempcrete, a bio-composite material that is lightweight, insulating, and non-toxic.

Biofuel and Biodegradable Plastics

Hemp seeds can be processed to extract oil, which can be used as a biofuel alternative. Additionally, the plant fibers can be used to create biodegradable plastics, reducing our reliance on non-renewable petroleum-based plastics.

Nutritional and Health Benefits of Hemp

Hemp is not only a versatile industrial plant but also a highly nutritious source of essential nutrients.

Rich in Essential Nutrients

Hemp seeds are packed with essential nutrients, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are beneficial for overall health, supporting brain function, heart health, and providing essential building blocks for the body.

High in Protein

Hemp seeds are a complete protein source, meaning they provide all essential amino acids. This makes hemp an excellent plant-based protein alternative for vegetarians and vegans.

Potential Health Benefits

Studies suggest that CBD, found abundantly in hemp, may have potential health benefits, including reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and promoting better sleep. However, further research is needed to fully understand the extent of these benefits.

Environmental Impact of Hemp

Hemp cultivation can have positive environmental effects, making it a sustainable option compared to many conventional crops.

Sustainable Farming Practices

Hemp is a hardy plant and can be grown without the need for synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Its deep roots help prevent soil erosion and improve soil health, making it an excellent rotational crop.

Soil Remediation

Hemp has the remarkable ability to absorb heavy metals and contaminants from the soil. This process, called phytoremediation, can help cleanse contaminated land and restore soil quality.

Reduced Need for Pesticides and Herbicides

Hemp’s natural resistance to pests and diseases means that farmers can minimize the use of harmful chemicals in its cultivation. This contributes to a healthier ecosystem and reduces the environmental impact of farming practices.

Hemp and Marijuana: What’s the Connection?

Hemp and marijuana are often associated due to their shared classification as varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. However, there are distinct differences between the two.

Different Varieties of Cannabis

Cannabis sativa is a versatile plant species that encompasses various subspecies and cultivars. Hemp and marijuana are two distinct varieties of Cannabis sativa, each bred for different purposes.

Distinguishing Factors between Hemp and Marijuana

The key distinguishing factor between hemp and marijuana lies in their THC content. Hemp is legally defined by its low THC content, whereas marijuana is characterized by high levels of THC. This difference determines the legal and psychoactive nature of each plant.

THC and CBD in Hemp

Hemp contains THC and CBD, but the levels of these compounds vary significantly.

Low THC Content

Hemp is legally required to contain less than 0.3% THC, which is an extremely low concentration. This minimal THC content ensures that consuming hemp products will not result in psychoactive effects.

High CBD Content

On the other hand, hemp is abundant in CBD. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that offers various potential health benefits, making it highly sought after in the wellness industry.

Legal Status of Hemp

The legal status of hemp varies from country to country and has undergone significant changes in recent years.

Legality in Different Countries

Many countries have legalized the cultivation and use of hemp, recognizing its economic and environmental benefits. However, regulations and limits on THC content may differ, making it crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations in your region.

The 2018 Farm Bill in the United States

In the United States, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, making it federally legal to cultivate and use hemp-derived products. This legislation has opened up new opportunities for hemp farmers and businesses, contributing to the growth of the hemp industry in the country.


Hemp is a versatile plant with a wide range of applications and potential benefits. Understanding its properties, including its chemical composition, lack of psychoactive effects, and potential health benefits, is crucial for making informed decisions regarding its use. Additionally, recognizing the environmental impact of hemp cultivation and its legal status in different countries allows us to appreciate the significance of this ancient plant in today’s world. Whether it’s in textiles, construction, nutrition, or medicine, hemp’s potential is vast and should not be overlooked.

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