Monday, June 20, 2016

Hemp 101: What is Hemp? Why is it illegal? Can it be used to treat neurological disorders?

Informational piece about the history of hemp and why you should know a little bit about the plant.    -JR

What is Hemp? What's it Used for, and Why is it illegal? 

Perhaps most importantly, how can hemp extract help people with neurological conditions including epilepsy and lennox-gastaut syndrome.

Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man. It has been used for paper, textiles, and cordage for thousands of years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.

There are many different varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp -- also called industrial hemp -- refers to the non-psychoactive (less than 1% THC) varieties of Cannabis sativa L. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and are further distinguished by use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods.

Hemp fibers and stalks are used in clothing, construction materials, paper, biofuel, plastic composites, and more.

Hemp can do a lot, but it can’t get you “high.” Because hemp varieties contain virtually zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), your body processes it faster than you can smoke it. Trying to use hemp to put you on cloud nine will only put you in bed with a migraine!

Then why is hemp illegal?

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act strictly regulated the cultivation and sale of all cannabis varieties. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis -- including hemp -- as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow it in the United States (which is why we’re forced to import hemp from other countries as long as it contains scant levels of THC -- 0.3% is the regulation for hemp cultivation in the European Union and Canada). As a result of this long-term prohibition, most people have forgotten the industrial uses of the plant and continue to misidentify hemp with its cannabis cousin, marijuana.

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