Hemp, Hash, and Cannabis: Knowing the Difference Through THC

Hemp, Hash, and Cannabis: Knowing the Difference Through THC

When it comes to Hemp, Hash, and Marijuana, many people mistakenly think that all three are just different names for the same exact thing or that they are completely different. They are all members of the Cannabaceae plant family, having a variety of similarities and differences, with the main difference being their Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level. THC, being the main cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” feeling, can cause varying effects at different levels. This makes it important to know the difference so that you can choose the best product for your needs. The easiest way to remember the difference is to think in terms of THC level…

…Hash is the Highest

Hash or hashish yields the highest levels of THC ranging from 20-60%. This form of cannabis will get you the most high and is derived from the resin of cannabis plants. It can be processed in several different ways, leading to a variety of different types of hash that can vary in color, appearance, smell, and texture. Some of these types are dry sift hash, bubble hash, and kief. 

Consumption of the different types can also vary. It can be smoked using joints, pipes, bongs, and e-cigarettes or in edibles. Due to the potency of the resin that hash is processed from, you would need to consume a lesser amount of hash than you would cannabis to get high. 


…Cannabis is in the Middle

Cannabis mainly takes up the area between Hemp and Hash with THC levels reaching up to about 30 percent. It will cause varying effects depending on the balance of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids within the specific strain. 

…Hemp is the Lowest

Hemp has the lowest levels of THC, causing it to have the least intoxicating effects of the three. Under United States federal law, hemp must contain 0.3% or less THC. However, the level of THC can vary depending on the plant, and needs to be tested to determine its constitutes. 

Plants yielding a low level of THC produce a higher level of cannabidiol (CBD), making hemp the main ingredient for CBD products, such as oil, lotion, capsules, gummies, vape pens, gels, creams. These can be used for a variety of health reasons including but not limited to pain relief, anxiety, stress, and lack of sleep without causing a “high” feeling. So, if you are looking to get high, hemp is not for you, but if you are looking to avoid a high but reap some benefits, it would be your best bet. 


The main thing to remember when differentiating between Hemp, Hash, and Cannabis is its THC level. Hemp has the lowest amount. Hash has the largest amount. Cannabis is everything in between. This is important to know especially when there is a certain effect that you are looking for. 



Small E. (1979). The species problem in cannabis: Science & semantics. Toronto, Ontario: Corpus.

Pollio A. (2016). The name of cannabis: A short guide for nonbotanists. DOI:


Atakan Z. Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012;2(6):241-54. doi:10.1177/2045125312457586

Dr Prem Community Writer. (2019). How can CBD Oil help your health? Top 4 health benefits of Hemp Plant Oil. InstaBlogs. https://advance.lexis.com/api/document?collection=news&id=urn: contentItem:5V9D-X6T1-DXMP-K1M5-00000-00&context=1516831.

About the author

Charlie Suter

Charlie Suter is all about health promotions as he finishes up undergrad and is heading to grad school. He enjoys track & field, tutoring, and spending time with his family, friends, and dog.

Pint for later!