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Key Takeaways

  • Hemp and marijuana can be difficult to tell apart due to their similarities in appearance, smell, and taste.

  • The most reliable way to determine if something is CBD flower or weed is by looking at the label for THC/CBD content, as well as third-party lab results. 

  • Other ways of distinguishing the two plants include plant shape (hemp taller with thin branches), bud appearance (marijuana denser with central stem), and leaf size (hemp long and thin leaves vs marijuana wide and short).

To a CBD amateur, it is easy to confuse hemp flower with marijuana flower due to their similarities in appearance, and it’s not difficult to see why. However, knowing how to differentiate between the two plants is important, as they have vastly different effects.

Both hemp and marijuana are varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, and they produce thick green buds that look almost identical. The smell and taste of both can be attributed to the terpenes they contain, which are naturally occurring aromatic compounds that give cannabis its unique aroma and flavor – and there’s no easy way to tell them apart based only on this.

Luckily for you, there are some more concrete ways to differentiate between CBD flower and weed:

Plant Shape

Hemp plants are usually taller than marijuana plants, with thinner branches and a more fibrous stalk. They are also less dense and often lighter in color than marijuana plants, which tend to be short, bushy, and incredibly dense. Hemp plants typically have fewer leaves as well.

Bud Appearance

Marijuana buds are typically much denser and more compact than hemp buds – when opened up, they will reveal a large central stem with multiple small leaves and flowers. Marijuana buds are also typically darker in color, ranging from forest green to deep purple or even black.

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Leaf Size

The hemp plant has long, thin leaves with serrated edges with long slender fingers. The marijuana plant has wide, short leaves with jagged edges and is more compact than the hemp plant.

The above will help you discern the difference between the two plants. But you don’t often see hemp flower or marijuana in its natural form. CBD flowers are usually processed, dried, and cured to make them more palatable for consumption. This involves removing the stems, leaves, and seeds. The buds are then trimmed to give them an esthetically pleasing shape with a more uniform appearance than what you would find in nature. 

The end product is a smokable herb that looks, smells, and tastes like something you’d find on the shelves at your local dispensary. And there, you should be able to see the label clearly stating the THC and CBD content, along with third-party lab results. This is the only surefire way to tell if you’re dealing with CBD flower or weed.

To sum it up, the most reliable way to tell CBD flower from weed is by looking at labels and third-party lab results. However, you can also distinguish between them based on their shape, size, and bud appearance.

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