Hemp. Cannabis’ straight edge cousin. If cannabis and hemp were in school together, cannabis would be smoking behind the bleachers while hemp was busy winning the science fair. Hemp is known as one of the most versatile plants on Earth, and one that has been used for centuries upon centuries around the world. From last count there are over 50,000 uses for the plant, with each piece of it having a variety of purposes.
The fibers of the plant can be used for natural, breathable textiles utilized in clothing and shoes.. In a more industrialized form, hemp fibers can be used for things such as paper, rope, carpets, and nets – and depending on the process, they can be utilized for building materials for construction such as insulation. The oils can be used for skin care and topical treatments. It’s leaves can be processed for flours. There is no limit to the abilities of hemp, and the kind of creations that can come from it.
While hemp and marijuana are technically the same plant, there is a key distinction between the two. Hemp is considered a cannabis plant that contains less than .03 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, the hallucinogenic property found in marijuana. Or at least, the marijuana that gets you high.
Despite hemp lacking the THC to get you high, hemp was initially banned in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, and 33 years later, the restrictions placed against the plant became even tighter after the 1970 Controlled Substances Act classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance. The two remained inextricably linked together, in terms of legality, until the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill made it federally legal to grow hemp or cannabis that contained less than 0.3 percent THC.
It’s in the wraps you roll your joints in. It’s in some of the clothes you wear. It’s in the CBD balm you rub on your aching bones, and the lotion you lather over your skin at night. There are 50,000 reasons to celebrate hemp, so get out there and honor it while the month is here!
[image source: Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash]
Chicana journalist, editor, educator, and organizer in Sacramento whose sole focus is to shed light on stories on our most impacted and marginalized communities, but even more importantly, for those stories to humanize those normally left out. She is an Ida B Wells Investigative Journalism Fellow 2022 Finalist, a member of the Parenting Journalists Society, and has bylines in The Courier, The Sacramento Bee, The Americano, Submerge Magazine among others.