Hemp vs. Marijuana in Thailand: What’s the Difference?

Do you know the difference between hemp and marijuana? Many people might think that hemp and marijuana are the same thing. In reality, hemp and marijuana are both plants within the cannabis family, but they are legally distinguished. The key difference lies in the THC content. THC is a crucial compound found in cannabis plants, influencing everything from medical treatments to the recreational “high.” This article explores the distinctions between hemp and marijuana and delves into their respective uses.


Hemp refers to cannabis with a THC content of 0.3% or less by dry weight. The term THC encompasses both THCA and the substances that convert to THC in raw or processed form. The 0.3% threshold originated from a 1976 paper.

In the past, even if THC content was below 0.3%, there were penalties for drug offenses. However, with various studies and experiments proving the benefits of hemp, many countries now recognize 0.3% or less as hemp under the Farm Bill, allowing for its possession and cultivation.

While the current standard for hemp is 0.3% THC, some CBD companies, organizations, and certain overseas legislators advocate for raising this limit to 1% to explore further possibilities.


Marijuana refers to cannabis with a THC content of 0.3% or higher. It generally denotes cannabis that can induce a high. Marijuana is also known by other terms such as weed or ganja.

Marijuana is defined by having a THC content exceeding 0.3%, with variations depending on the cannabis strain. Some strains can have THC levels approaching 30%.

 Thailand’s Situation

In 2023, Thailand hosted the Asia International Hemp Expo, showcasing a wide range of products and technologies, including cannabis seeds, cultivation techniques, medical cannabis, and cosmetics using cannabis, as well as bioenergy. This hemp-focused expo provided the latest information on the benefits and sustainability of hemp and was the only international event of its kind in Thailand. With over 500 exhibitors and more than 12,000 attendees, the event was a significant success. The expo is set to continue in November 2024, and given Thailand’s evolving cannabis market, it is anticipated to be even larger.

Thailand has relaxed its cannabis regulations, but by the end of 2024, recreational cannabis use is expected to be regulated. Medical and health-related uses will continue to be legal, suggesting that the cannabis market in Thailand is poised for continued growth.


While hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant, their legal definitions vary based on THC content by dry weight. Hemp is defined as having 0.3% THC or less, while marijuana has a THC content of 0.3% or higher.

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