Many people are confused when it comes to the difference between what is, hemp vs. what is, cannabis. Cannabis contains five to ten percent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinoids) whereas, hemp only contains 0.3 to 1.5 percent. Cannabis uses only the leaves and it is used for smoking or medical use. Hemp uses the stalk and seeds to make soap, paper, food, building material, and even plastics. The fibers in marijuana is not strong and breaks very easily it cannot be used. Hemp fiber is the strongest natural fiber used today. Since the 1950s hemp has been long confused with marijuana. It has long been a myth that hemp can get you high, which is not true. It would take a dozen hemp cigarettes smoked very quickly to come close to getting you high. Hemp also provides as much as four times as much fiber as just one tree.
Also, with hemp you do not have to use pesticides, chemicals, or herbicides. If hemp is grown in rotation with crops like corn it can be completely self-sustainable on its own. Hemp paper can be recycled seven times unlike pine paper which can only be recycled three times. The seed and seed oil are high in amino acids, proteins, and essential fatty acids. Also, for those who support going green the hemp ethanol burns very clean. Growing hemp has been linked as far back as 10,000 years ago. Places like China, Ukraine, India, England and more still grow hemp today. Until this past century hemp was the largest crop in the world. Cannabis’ first recorded use of medicine was is 2,737 B.C. in China. Cannabis use was also recorded in 300 B.C. Jerusalem that a woman during child labor used it for medical purposes.
Another interesting fact is the first Bible was printed on hemp. It was even used in the building of the pyramids in Egypt. Most people do not know that the first drafts of the American Independence was written on hemp paper. Hemp fiber lost its value around the 20th century as hemp is harder to get off of the stalk and cotton was easier. Hemp is also used to make clothes it is not only more breathable, but three times stronger than cotton. From 1850 to 1915 cannabis was used in the U.S. and, could be purchased in the pharmacies and local general stores. In 1910 is when the Harrison Act was put into affect. This law states that marijuana among other drugs are a crime. Most people assume hemp and marijuana is the same thing when in fact it is not. Remember, hemp uses the stalks and cannabis uses the flowery part of the plant only.
Hemp is grown different from cannabis. Hemp is grown up because its focus is on the stalks, whereas marijuana is grown out because its focus is on the leaves. Although hemp is legal to grow, it requires a special license from the DEA, which is rarely given. Not only is the special license required, but it has to be heavily guarded. This does not seem to make sense since hemp has little to no THC. Cannabis versus hemp is sure to be a controversial topic for years to come.
Opinion by Heather Tillman