This article was written by Emily Holt and was shared with permission. See the original article here.
Hemp is a widely misunderstood product. That misunderstanding limits the United States economy as well as the beneficial qualities that hemp could have in everyday products. In order to de-stigmatize hemp, the American public must become educated about it. The following are key facts about hemp, its history and its many uses.
1. Hemp has been used for thousands of years
The Columbia History of the World says that the oldest finding of human development is a small piece of hemp fabric from approximately 8,000 BC. Many US Presidents including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams all grew hemp. Hemp was a central product in early American lifestyle and was key to commerce and warfare. Hemp was so prominent throughout American history that the 1914 ten dollar bill was not only printed on hemp paper, but also the picture on the back displays farmers plowing hemp! Hemp has been used for thousands of years and it’s usefulness has not ceased. Recent legislation, however, has limited the public’s use of it.
2. Hemp is not marijuana
Hemp comes from the cannabis plant which has many different types that produces a variety of different things. Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, is a product of the non-psychoactive strain of cannabis plant. Marijuana also comes from cannabis plants, but hemp and marijuana vary in genetics and are very clearly different in use and cultivation.
3. Hemp will not get you high
Hemp cannot get you high despite stemming from the same family as products of cannabis plants with high levels of THC in their chemical makeup. If one tried to smoke hemp in any form, the body would process the smoke faster than it would take to get high and would leave the smoker with a headache.
4. Hemp is illegal
Hemp seems like an innocent product, yet it is illegal. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act left the growth and sale of any and all cannabis products highly regulated. This law was enacted to prevent marijuana with high enough levels of THC to be sold, but, by technicality, also prevented hemp from being an easily accessible commercial product. To further the restrictions on hemp, in 1970 The Controlled Substances Act was passed. That act ruled that all forms of cannabis, including hemp, were to be labelled category 1 drugs and therefore illegal to grow in the United States.
5. You can still buy it in the U.S.
The ban upon hemp has caused the general American public to be unaware of the industrial uses of hemp, and has given it the bad-boy reputation as something related to marijuana. Fortunately for those who value hemp for it’s diverse uses, it can still be imported from countries outside of the United States as long as it has less than .3% THC in the material.
6. It can be used for a variety of goods
Hemp is a renewable and sustainable resource that could be used in the development in thousands of every day products. Its seeds and flowers are commonly used in food and self care products. While its stalks can be used to create clothing items, materials used in construction, biofuel and even paper. Hemp grows 10 times faster than trees and has over 10,000 uses!
7. Hemp is good for the environment
Hemp requires very little water to grow and no pesticides, making it extremely friendly to the environment. Not only that, but it is also an extremely useful rotation crop for farmers that nourishes the soil it was grown in for other plants to use in the next growing season.
8. Hemp is good for the economy
The retail value of all hemp products sold in the United States alone adds up to $620 million. Unfortunately, due to the legislature preventing hemp from being grown domestically, none of the money is added to the United States economy.
9. Hemp can be grown in a few states… with restrictions
Hemp won big in 2014, as the 2014 US Farm Bill stated that any state, as long as it passed its own individual legislation allowing it, can grow industrial hemp for research and development purposes. California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia have already begun the process of reintroducing the growth of hemp to farmers and many other states are pursuing the ability to do the same.
10. Hemp is making a comeback
In 2015, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced to The House and Senate. The bill would potentially get rid of all previous federal bans on the growth of industrial hemp and remove it from the list of class 1 drugs.
11. Hemp is not as interesting as you once thought
Hemp is literally just the product of a plant. It isn’t edgy, unless you count a product that is a distant cousin of marijuana as edgy. It has incredible value and should not be considered taboo, especially in a world where marijuana itself is becoming more and more socially acceptable. The future of hemp is limitless and the more hemp becomes less stigmatized among the general public, the more likely hemp will be available to help the industry and economy of the US.