A Short Introduction to Hemp

Cannabis has been a hot topic lately with legalization on the rise, however, we seldom hear about its cousin, hemp. Hemp, which contains low THC, is a plant with over 50,000 uses in everything from textiles, biodegradable plastic, food, to medicine. The hemp plant requires little water, no pesticides and can grow to 20ft in 3 months making it more sustainable than wheat and corn. Because of its close relationship to marijuana, which does contain THC, hemp has been banned in the U.S. since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, despite its many uses. Hemp has had a rich history in this country. It was heavily cultivated for its fibers and even grown by George Washington. It was demonized in the early 1900s because its strong fibers competed with products like nylon and paper but racism was an even greater catalyst for the prohibition of cannabis. But all of that changes with the passing of the 2018 farm bill, this will allow farmers access to a sustainable cash crop and hemp-based products to flourish once again.

How Do I Benefit From Its Legalization?

The 2018 farm bill is a revision of the 2014 farm bill distinguishing hemp from its cousin, marijuana, and legalizing the purchase of CBD nationwide and cultivation without permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency [1]. The legalization of hemp will also declassify cannabidiol (CBD) oil as a schedule I drug making it more accessible to the everyday consumer. CBD is already making headlines for being able to help people with epilepsy, anxiety, stress and several other illnesses. Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and it will not get you high. Instead, it will have a relaxing and calm effect on the body. Studies on CBD have shown “CBD possesses a wide range of therapeutic properties including; antipsychotic, analgesic, neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, antiemetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, and antineoplastic properties.” [2]

Why Does It Matter?

A new green revolution is right around the corner. The legalization of hemp will lead to the creation of new industries and jobs. Hemp can change the planet as we wouldn’t have to rely on water-intensive crops for products like clothing and animal feed. The reduction in pesticides alone can jumpstart ecosystems restoration and prevent thousands of death due to toxic exposure. Hemp’s legalization will help provide further research on the omnipotent phytocannabinoid CBD and change the perception of nature as medicine for the better.