Hemp Definition & Information

Hemp is the nonpsychoactive, non-intoxicating variety of the cannabis plant (the marijuana plant) that contains low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp and marijuana are the two most common names for the Cannabis sativa plant; in the United States, the amount of THC in what people refer to as hemp is usually 0.3 percent or less, while strains with a THC level of higher than 0.3 percent are often referred to as marijuana.

Because it typically doesn’t contain enough THC to get users high, hemp is mostly grown so its seeds and stalk fiber can be used in consumer products. When it’s cultivated for these purposes, it’s often referred to as industrial hemp. Hemp fiber is used to make paper, wax, and cloth for jewelry, clothing, and furniture. Hemp seeds and the oil they contain are used in toiletries, paint, and specialty health supplements, thanks to their high nutritional content (including protein, fiber, and vitamin E).