The wonder of Hemp is gravely misunderstood in our modern day society, with thanks largely due to the forefathers who made ignorant and unsupported assumptions. Hemp was used centuries ago as a material for a variety of different industrial uses as well as a food source. This had led to years wasted on materials that the world would be better off substituting for hemp.
The main misconception is that hemp and cannabis are exactly the same plant. This is a commonly held idea amongst most individuals. Hemp is indeed for the marijuana plant however it is not what we know as ‘marijuana’, ‘cannabis’, ‘pot’ or ‘weed’. There are major differences between hemp and marijuana.
The strongest difference between cannabis and hemp is that their genetical make-up is different. Studies have led some to believe that marijuana is one of the oldest used plant in history, whats more is that this plant has remained unchanged throughout the centuries. Initially mankind obtained hemp through the combination of plants for many different uses, most importantly was for the industrial and building purposes while cannabis has been used mainly for its psychoactive properties.
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for creating the psycoactive effect, and it is present in varying degrees in different strains of the marijuana plant. Some have a very high content while others have a milder, lower percentage. Hemp has no THC content within it, although it does contain the CBD cannabinoid. THC and CBD are two different compounds and CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. Both the plants, hemp and cannabis, do contain CBD however the THC levels in hemp are miniscule. CBD also has an adverse effect on the psychoactive effects caused by THC and therefore the CBD present in hemp does rule out whatever minuscule THC content there may be within the hemp plant. The fact is that THC and CBD are two separate compounds and the genetical make up of the two plants, hemp and the marijuana plant, are two separate plants.
The cultivation of these two plants are vastly different as well. The main difference being that hemp is grown and cultivated for a completely different reason to why marijuana is cultivated. Cannabis is grown and farmed for the psychoactive effects (and in some cases for individual medicinal benefits) it produces while hemp is grown for many other various reasons. One of which includes the health benefits of hemp seed oil, a high protein content for many vegetarians, and many other uses. Hemp can be used as a strong building material as well as for skin care and for many dietary influences as well. Traditionally, both plants are best suited to the natural energy of sunlight however Marijuana has been grown indoors in order to maximise and control the THC level within the plant while hemp is continued to be cultivated outdoors in order to maximise the crop and yield thereof.
Most Importantly, the Legalities
The regulation and laws regarding the growth and consumption of both marijuana and hemp will differ from state to state. Initially both plants and the products thereof were classified as schedule one drugs. With the growing acceptance that has changed with the age of information, the classification of these plants are beginning to change as well. In many states across America marijuana is now legal or at least resulted within certain boundaries. Hemp is legal in most of the American states as well as in most countries across the world. Many of the states have legalised the medical use of marijuana, within certain regulations and restrictions. And again, each state has differing rules.
The cultivation of marijuana is limited to the states that have legalised marijuana. While hemp is legal to grow and cultivate in many different states across America.
By 2017 at least 38 different states passed legislation that involved the revisiting on the laws and regulations surrounding hemp. These states have taken action to change regulation and issues surrounding the cultivation and regulation of hemp. All these issues include the definition, licensing, policy, and certification of seeds.
Marijuana cultivation is only limited to the states that have legalized the plant, while on the other hand it is completely legal to cultivate hemp in fourteen states of America. The reason why it has been legalized all around is due to the array of profound benefits that hemp provides. Furthermore, the laws that govern vary from each state for example in some states it is legal to grow hemp for personal use while it is legal to grow hemp for commercial or industrial purposes.
Every year looks set to bring new regulations and changes to legislation as society changes its views with new knowledge and research. The benefits of hemp have undergone more rigorous testing and research than marijuana.
There are some states that have introduced hemp growing programs and some of these states have even established these programs already.
It is only a matter of time before societies and their politicians in every state will accept that growing hemp in America will be greatly beneficial to society and development.