Characteristics of hemp

Properties and uses of hemp

Scientific noun: Cannabis sativa L.

Family: Hemp family – Cannabaceae

Common noun: Hemp, Marijuana, cannabis, hashish, Kief

Habitat: It is almost cultivated in every place of the world, but it comes from Central and Western Asia.

Components of hemp

Cannabinoids: D- 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabinol, cannabinodiol, etc.

Acids: Linoleic, oleic and isolinoleic (seeds)

Niacin (seeds)

Orientin (plant)

Minerals: phosphorus oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, potassium oxide and sulphur oxide, calcium, iron and phosphorus (seeds)

Active parts: The whole plant, specially the fruits, which are used to cure the urinary tract. Flowers have hypnotic properties.

Differences between hemp and cannabis

Although these two plants can be equally named, they actually belong to two different varieties of the same plant:

Hemp (Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa) is richer in fiber, so it is aimed to an industrial use.

– Hemp is generally a much taller plant

– Hemp is poorer in THC (Less than 0,3%). Hemp content of active principle Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is to low to have any pyschoactive effect

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa L. var. indica) is more psychoactive than Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa

– Cannabis is much richer in THC (From 2 % to more that 20 %) so it is specifically cultivated for the production of marijuana or hashish, that are aimed to be used as recreational purposes.

– Cannabis is a smaller although more dense plant.



(Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa)


(Cannabis sativa L var. indica)

Drawings of the two different varieties of the same plant

What is hemp used for?

The main uses of hemp are the following:

Industrial textile use, being one of the most interesting fibres to build ropes. It also appears in different garments, shoes, belts, handbags, etc

In the painting industry

– To produce soaps and plastics.

As fuel, as a substitute of petrol, being more ecological.

As food, specially to feed cattle and birds but also for human consumption, especially in Asia.

As medicine, mainly to treat pain, anxiety and vomiting (More information)

Toxicity of hemp

Toxicity of hemp is very low. Cannabine is a yellow toxic resin, extracted from flowers. (See marijuana and hashish)

Effects of hemp

The main effects of hemp are the following:








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Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

29 June, 2020

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