About the Hemp Myth

The word "hemp" is English for a number of varieties of the cannabis plant, particularly the varieties like "industrial hemp" that were bred over time for industrial uses such as fuel, fiber, paper, seed, food, oil, etc.  The word Hemp has been in use in the English language for over 800 years.

The term "marijuana" is of Spanish derivation, has been in language use for about 80 years and was primarily used to describe varieties of cannabis that were more commonly bred over time for medicinal and recreational purposes

 

In fact, when all forms of hemp were made illegal in the early part of the last century, it was used in the majority of the prescription drugs then sold in America.  That was certainly no accident. Those who favor the use of what is now called "medical marijuana" recognize these strong medicinal qualities.

But marijuana, either the medical or recreational varieties are not really at issue today, because science can readily distinguish them from industrial hemp by simple tests for the huge difference in the potency of the plants.  , i.e. the percentage of the psychotropic ingredient: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC"), the active psychotropic ingredient found in the leaves and flowers of the female plant, but not in her seeds or stems.

There are two Cannabinoids (active ingredients) are found in cannabis: THC, the psychoactive ingredient, and CBD, which is an antipsychoactive ingredient. Marijuana is high in THC and low in CBD. The reverse is true for industrial hemp; when hemp is bred for its desirable industrial qualities, the percentage of THC is minimal, while the percentage of CBD is high.

While marijuana has a potency range of 8% to 20% by dry weight of THC, industrial hemp is generally defined as having less than 1.0% THC, and the normal range is under 0.5%.  These THC levels are so low that no one could get high from smoking it. Moreover, hemp contains a relatively high percentage of CBD that actually blocks the marijuana high.  Hemp, it turns out, is not only not marijuana; it could be called "antimarijuana."

Industrial Hemp is grown quite differently from marijuana. Hemp plants are cultivated inches apart to produce plants with tall stalks; they are encouraged to pollinate to create seed, and are harvested year round. 

By contrast, Marijuana cultivators space the plants several feet apart to encourage bushy growth, they cull the male plants to prevent fertilization of the female plant. Unfertilized females produce more THC, and are harvested in the fall (if grown out doors).


Agriculturally grown Hemp is very detrimental to any nearby Marijuana crop, as cross fertilization greatly reduces the THC in the Marijuana and by the addition of CBD (the antipsychoactive), it causes growers a very expensive process to clean and remove CBD.

All of this goes to show why, in countries where hemp is grown as an agricultural crop, the police have experienced no such burdens. In fact, there are over 30 nations on the planet currently growing industrial hemp.  These include Canada, Australia, England, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Russia, and China.

The regulations established in these countries are simple: contract production, aerial ASCS type maps of fields, only government certified low THC seed, pre- and post-harvest field surveys, field checks on THC levels and an open field policy.  And they do not have an increased problem with prosecution for marijuana use. So legalizing hemp would not burden local police forces. 

This explains why the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently adopted a resolution strongly urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to collaboratively develop and adopt an official definition of industrial hemp.  

This also explains why legislation to deregulate industrial hemp and/or allow scientific study by state universities is pending or passed in over 20 states:

Bills Passed: ND, HI, MN, IL, MD -- Resolutions Passed: AK, CA, KY, MT, VA, VT
Legislation In Process: SD, IA, ME, NH, NM, OR, TN -- Voter Initiatives: AK, CO, MI

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