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About Hemp


Image by CRYSTALWEED cannabis

Hemp is a fiber, oil, and oilseed crop with deep roots in American history. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp and advocated for its use. During World War II the USDA encouraged farmers to grow hemp through their Hemp for Victory program.


As distinct varieties of Cannabis sativa L., hemp contains no significant amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in drug varieties of Cannabis. Despite this distinction, hemp is archaically considered a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act.


Today, U.S. states increasingly embrace the innovative, sustainable, nutritional and economic potential of industrial hemp, and are quickly passing laws allowing their farmers to grow hemp.


One acre of hemp is not only a beneficial alternative for paper, but also for the production of cotton as well. Just one acre of hemp could produce as much fiber as two to three acres of cotton. The difference is that hemp fiber lasts longer, will not mildew, and is much stronger and softer than cotton. 


While the benefits of hemp extract remain a topic of controversy in the medical world, testimony after testimony attests to its health benefits.


Image by Jeff W

Why hemp and marijuana typically get mixed up is because they both are from the same plant species, cannabis sativa L. Although both hemp and marijuana have male and female sexes, the female plant gender is the one that mainly distinguishes hemp from marijuana. In the marijuana plant, the female plants produce the buds and flowers for users to consume in order to gain psychoactive or non-psychoactive effects.

With hemp on the other hand, the female plants bare the seeds and have strong fibers, which is what hemp is mainly used for.


For this reason, hemp is used mostly for industrial and commercial purposes, and you are unable to obtain a “high” at all. To put it in perspective, marijuana can have anywhere from 5% to over 20% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, while hemp only has less than 0.3%.


Image by Mel Poole

If you are unaware, hemp is one of the strongest, most durable, natural soft-fibers on this planet. Because of this, hemp has a wide variety of uses. Hemp can be used for paper, fuel, oils, medicine, clothing, housing, plastic, rope, and even food. In fact, many of these uses of hemp have been practiced throughout our history for thousands of years.


However, these are not the only aspects as to why hemp is an incredibly environmentally beneficial crop. There are plenty of others. For another example, hemp can be used as an alternative clean burning fuel and lessen our reliance on vital fossil fuels. One acre of hemp can yield nearly 1,000 gallons of methanol in a single growing season. When hemp is burned as a fuel, carbon dioxide (CO2) releases into the air, but it is the same CO2 that was taken in from the environment, which is known as a closed carbon cycle and is extremely efficient.


These environmental benefits to using hemp, in addition to its usage, puts into question why hemp still has not been produced as a major crop as it once was in the U.S.

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