You may have read a lot about hemp recently. The USA recently removed hemp from the schedule 1 controlled substances list. This has given farmers a chance to grow one of the most useful plants nature provides.
But why was hemp illegal? What is hemp and what can it be used for? Well, in this guide, we answer all of your questions about hemp.
We will also explain why it is such an important resource, that should never have been illegal in the first place.
To understand why hemp was illegal, we should first explain what hemp is and what family of plants it belongs to.
Hemp is a type of cannabis, and for many, cannabis has been illegal for a long time. But, hemp isn’t the same as “marijuana”. Though hemp is from the same family of cannabis, there is one major difference between hemp and “weed”, and that is: its THC content.
THC is the psychoactive compound that gets cannabis users high, and this is one of the reasons why cannabis is illegal in many parts of the world.
Hemp does not contain huge amounts of THC, but instead carries another cannabinoid known as CBD. In the UK, for example, proof must be shown that there’s less than 0.2% THC for the plant to be considered hemp.
Evidence shows that hemp has been cultivated for at least 4,500 years. It was grown in Central Asia as far back as 2,800 BCE. It was used to make many things, such as rope, canvases, string, and even sails on ships.
Through thousands of years, hemp has spread throughout the world and was grown legally for centuries. It was only made illegal in 1937, when cannabis as a whole was made illegal under the marijuana tax act.
Hemp is a cannabis plant. Cannabis was first regulated under the Marijuana Tax act of 1937, which made it illegal in the USA.
But, the controlled substance act in 1970, placed hemp into the same bracket as “marijuana”, which made it illegal.
American lobbyists, backed by Harry Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, called for hemp to be banned because it was said to cause crime and violence, although others believe he had a hidden agenda.
The main reason would be, that CBD, a cannabinoid produced by hemp, is seen as a narcotic. This means hemp was placed in the same category as heroin, and opioids.
Because hemp was placed into the controlled substances list, farmers were prohibited from growing it, and it was seen to have no medical properties. Only in the last few years has the ban for cultivating hemp been lifted in the USA, and now farmers are allowed to grow it again.
Over the last ten years, CBD has become mainstream with CBD products appearing in many stores in cities and towns all over the world. You can find cannabis strains that produce up to 20% CBD, and less than 1% THC.
These plants look like normal cannabis plants, big buds, sticky and resinous, but, if they produce less than 0.3% THC, they are still considered to be a hemp plant.
If you want to grow cannabis for the main psychoactive compound (THC), maybe hemp is not the plant that you want to be growing. It has very little THC in it, and you would need to grow a lot to harvest a decent amount of THC.
If you want to grow CBD, for medical reasons, then hemp is an option. But, not the “industrial hemp”. Find a cannabis strain that produces a high amount of CBD, you can find CBD cannabis strains on the Seedstockers website.
By growing a cannabis plant that produces a lot of CBD, you can grow less plants. If you are growing indoors, for personal use, it is highly recommended you grow a cannabis strain with a lot of CBD in it, rather than growing hemp for CBD.
Hemp can be grown and used for other things though, not just the cannabinoids and terpenes. The fibers produced by a hemp plant are strong and durable.
Hemp plants grow tall, and fast, and can be a great resource to reduce our carbon footprint.
Hemp is an amazing plant. The whole cannabis plant family, Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis and Hemp, provides us with medicines, food, fabrics and fuels. There are a crazy amount of things that can be made out of hemp!
Hemp can be processed to make two types of fuel: Hemp Biodiesel, and Hemp Ethanol/Methanol. It is cost effective, and environmentally friendly. Hemp may be a fuel of the future.
Plastics are made from fossil fuels. Of course, this isn’t a good thing for the environment.
Hemp can make plastic that is 5 times stronger than polypropylene plastics. It is renewable, non toxic, and does not use fossil fuels to make it.
Some would argue that the reason hemp was made illegal is because of these two factors. It can be used as plastics and fuels, which is a huge problem for the big oil industries.
It is estimated that over 17 billion cubic feet of trees are deforested each year. Over 60% of them are used to make paper.
On average, a tree will contain 30% cellulose. Hemp plants contain a considerable amount more than this, and they grow much faster!
Hemp paper does not degrade as quickly as tree paper either. It doesn’t turn yellow as quick, and it is much more durable.
Hemp was the world’s most popular form of paper until the late 1800’s.
Hempcrete is a reasonably new technology. Hemp plants are processed and mixed with lime based binder. This creates a strong, sturdy material, much like concrete, but 7 times lighter in weight. They are so light, that when they are properly made, hempcrete blocks can float in water!
Hempcrete is another building block of the future that is brought to us by hemp. It is lightweight, renewable, fire proof and environmentally friendly.
This is just a small few of the thousands of things that can be made out of hemp. It is great for many things that we use everyday.
Hopefully one day hemp will be able to replace a lot of the fossil fuels we use today.
Cannabis can save the world. This is why cannabis is so highly respected by those who know her best.