On 4/20 you might expect a story touting benefits of marijuana, well not today. Instead we’d like to honor this infamous day by paying homage to pot’s less trippy cousin, hemp.
What is hemp?
Hemp, like marijuana, is a member of the cannabis family. Its durable quality and ability to grow almost anywhere has helped earn it a reputation as a cash crop for more than 12,000 years.
What is it used for?
Hemp has been used to make everything from plastics to clothing. Hemp has also grown in popularity as a food source, being used for everything from energy bars to salad dressings. Its seeds in particular are an excellent source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids and Vitamin E.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Though they look very similar, in terms of “getting you high,” these plants couldn’t be more different. That difference lies in the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Whereas marijuana contains between 4% and 20% of this psychoactive chemical, hemp just has 1.5%. And while you may think if you smoke enough hemp you will get a buzz, you won’t. In fact, you won’t even fail a drug test.
Is it legal?
While hemp is used in a variety of products made in the United States, it remains illegal to grow in this country. Though as mentioned earlier it does not cause the same effects as marijuana, it is still considered a “Schedule 1” drug under the Controlled Substances Act – a designation that hasn’t changed since 1970. Today, the United States is the only developed country that has yet to recognize hemp as an agricultural crop. For a list of the ones that do, click here.
Why is hemp good for the environment?
Hemp has gained its stellar eco rep for being a low-impact, renewable resource that can be grown without pesticides or agricultural chemicals. It can often be used in place of cotton—a crop that accounts for nearly 25% of the pesticide use in the United States—making it ideal for anyone looking for more sustainable fabric choices. Hemp is also used, among other applications, to create energy-efficient concrete, help strengthen recycled post-consumer waste and to build door panels for cars.
Where can I buy hemp products?
There are a number of online retailers specializing in the sale of hemp products. Here is a good place to start your search.
Tell us. Are you a fan of hemp?