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Hemp 101: What Is Hemp, What’s It Used for, and Why Is It Illegal?



What Is Hemp

There are many different varieties of the cannabis plant; hemp- refers to the non-psychoactive varieties of the Cannabis sativa L strain. Hemp is easily grown in most climates, as it grows, hemp breathes in CO2, detoxifies the soil, and prevents soil erosion. What’s left after harvest breaks down into the soil, providing valuable nutrients. Hemp requires much less water to grow — and no pesticides, making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource.

The plant can be broken down into:

The Seeds

- Nutrient supplement high in Omega’s.
- Hemp seeds can be consumed or they can be used to produce a variety of food products including hemp oil, hemp milk, hemp cheese and hemp-based protein powder.
- Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
- Hemp contains a specific omega-6 fatty acid called GLA that is not found in any other food. Hemp oil contains an even higher percentage of GLA.
- Hemp contains all 10 essential amino acids, making it a good plant-based protein source.

The Stalk

Plastic Composites - A mixture of hemp fiber, flax, fiberglass and kenaf is being used to create composite parts for large vehicle manufacturers such as Mercedes, BMW and jaguar

Clothing - hemp is far more viable as a crop- Just one acre of hemp could produce as much fiber as two to three acres of cotton and the quality of the hemp fiber is stronger, softer and will not mildew like cotton.

Building material
Hemp is non-toxic and considered a carbon-sink, as it traps carbon dioxide when it accumulates
- Bricks
- hempcrete
- insulation
- flooring and roofing

Wood-based products
- fine-art paper,
- packaging board
- rolling papers
- soft tissue products
- commercial grade printing paper in a variety of different paper weights.

Rope
- twisted hemp fibers

Biofuel
- Hemp ethanol/methanol is made from the fermented stalk

The Leaves
- The leaves are particularly rich in phytocannabinoids CBDA and CBG, when juiced the leaves can offer the benefits of THCA. All of these cannabinoids offer significant anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits that are hard to get from “activated” or heat-processed cannabinoids like delta-9-THC and CBD.

The Flower
- The hemp flowers are resinous and may be processed into nutrient supplements, creams, lotions, shampoos and medical grade products.

Medicinal

- CBD Oil

Industrial hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, instead it is cultivated for the fibrous stalks. CBD oil can be derived from industrial hemp although it is more feasible to cultivate medicinal hemp which has been bred to contain a higher level of CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp- It is used to treat men, women, children and even pets for a variety of different ailments. Scientific studies have shown that CBD has a significant effect on neurological and physiological disorders. CBD is both anti-proliferative (retard the spread of cells) and tumour reducing whilst at the same time having analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiolytic effects. This is essential in cancer treatment for pain, inflammation and anxiety. The oils are also commonly used for general health and wellbeing, anxiety, stress, epilepsy, ADD/ADHD, CP, autism, Dravet syndrome, Tourette’s, breathing conditions, depression, fibromyalgia, PTSD and multiple sclerosis to name a few.

Why Is It Illegal

In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act classified hemp as an illegal Schedule I drug, which imposed strict regulations on the cultivation of industrial hemp as well as marijuana. The rest of the world followed suit; as unfortunately, marijuana had come to be the all-in-one term for the cannabis plant and all of its parts resulting in hemp being illegal regardless of its many diverse uses. The 2014 US Farm Bill allowed states to grow industrial hemp for the purposes of research and development; provided the state had already passed their own industrial hemp legislation. In January of 2015 the Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced in the House and Senate, If passed it would remove the classification of industrial hemp as a Class I controlled substance and all restrictions surrounding the cultivation of industrial hemp. As of 2018, there are 8 States where the Cannabis plant, including both marijuana and hemp, are completely legal for recreational and medicinal use. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington

The following is a list of countries in which it is legal to grow hemp;

Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, German, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Korea, Portugal, Thailand and Ukraine.

Hemp is a multifunctional resource that could be the solution to many problems both in the industrial and medicinal fields.