Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated crops known to humanity. It has been used for textiles, paper and cords for thousands of years. Also, Columbia’s World History notes that the oldest artifact of the human economy is a piece of hemp cloth dated back to around 8,000 BC.
And what precisely is Hemp, and how is it distinct from the intoxicating types of cannabis that we use for medical and recreational purposes? Let’s dig into some Hemp 101 so that you can better understand this flexible stuff.
Hemp, What Is It?
There are also common types of cannabis plants. Hemp — also classified as synthetic Hemp — refers to non-intoxicating (less than 0.3 percent THC) strains of Cannabis sativa. All Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species, but are genetically distinct and further distinguished through an application, chemical composition and growing methods.
Hemp, What Can It Do?
Hemp is cultivated as a natural source of raw materials that can be integrated into thousands of goods. Its seeds and flowers are used in natural food, herbal body care and other nutraceuticals.
Fibres and stalks are used in hemp clothing, biofuel, plastic composites, paper, construction materials, and more.
Last year, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) determined the total retail price of all hemp products sold in the United States at $620 million. Unfortunately, all raw materials for Hemp have been imported from other countries. (More about this later.) Hemp is an enticing product in rotation for growers. Hemp breathes CO2 as it rises, detoxifies the soil and avoids soil erosion. What remains after harvest breaks down into the dirt, supplying essential nutrients.
Hemp needs much less water to grow — and no pesticides — so it’s much more environmentally friendly than traditional crops.
Hemp, What Can’t It Do?
Hemp can do a lot, but it won’t make you “crazy.” Since hemp strains produce nearly zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the body absorbs it quicker than you would chew it. Trying to use Hemp to take you to cloud nine would cause you to lay on the couch with a migraine!
Hemp, Why Is It Illegal?
The Marijuana Tax act of 1937 strictly controlled the cultivation and trade of all varieties of cannabis. The Controlled Drugs Act of 1970 listed all types of cannabis, including Hemp as a Schedule I drug, rendering it unlawful to develop it in the United States. Because of this, we are required to import Hemp from other countries as long as it includes small THC levels—0.3 percent of the law for the production of Hemp in the European Union and Canada. As a consequence of this long-term ban, most Americans have ignored the medicinal applications of the herb and tend to misidentify Hemp with their weed counterpart, alcohol.
Hemp, Can It Make a Comeback?
The 2014 US Farm Bill requires states that have enacted their industrial hemp laws to plant industrial Hemp for research and production purposes. Several states, including Kentucky, Colorado, and Oregon have already pursued pilot hemp ventures. Several other nations are already adopting specific laws and initiatives. After several years of prohibition, American farmers are gradually starting to learn industrial Hemp.
On January 15th, 2015, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (S.134 and HR 525) was passed in the House and the Senate. If enacted, it will lift all federal limits on the production of industrial Hemp and eliminate its status as a regulated Schedule I drug.
If the unwarranted federal ban on Hemp is finally abolished, the oldest domesticated crop in the world will once again be available to serve humanity in a wide range of environmentally friendly ways. We love Hemp, and we hope you can. Look for a continuation of our collection of Hemp posts on Weedsy!