Hemp 101 & FAQ's
Welcome to our FAQ &Hemp Educational Page. Feel free to peruse our FAQ and the articles and resources below to help you learn as much as you can about Hemp and its products. Thanks for visiting.
What is Hemp? Technically, Hemp is the common name for the plant Cannabis Sativa L. A member of the Cannabaceae Family of plants, it is a Cousin to Marijuana (Cannabis Indica) and is characterized by it's high concentration of the Cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD) and low concentration of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the substance that causes the high in Marijuana) Industrial Hemp is the technical term for the Hemp plant when it is grown for use of it's fibers, seeds and hurd (core),
Hemp is a versatile crop with a long, storied history and over 50,000 uses. It is legal and it's details can be both interesting and confusing. Hopefully, below, we can answer some of your questions and clear up a few misconceptions about the miraculous plant.
Hemp has been around for a long time. Most of human history in fact. Although it is unsure, the historic record points to Hemp appearing in the area of Asia (Himalayas). It is known, however, that Hemp was being used by tribes in Taiwan more than 10,000 years ago.
The first uses of Hemp was for clothing, textiles, pottery, paper and as a food source, amongst other things.
It's first uses as medicine was approximately 2800 to 2700 B.C. It was used for pain relief and to speed up the healing of wounds.
Some other notable moments in Hemp history include:
About 400 A.D., the first discovery of Hemp's use in "Bio-Plastics" was discovered with the finding of the Yin Pang Mummy in China.
The first book to be printed, the Gutenberg Bible, was printed upon Hemp paper.
Between the 16th and 19th Centuries in America, people could actually PAY their taxes using Hemp. It was a staple of farms everywhere and, in fact, sometimes during this time frame, it was even illegal to NOT grow Hemp.
In the United States, Hemp has had a more spotty and confused history. Up until the 20th Century, Hemp was commonplace in the U.S.
This all changed, prior to World War 2, with the enactment of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
This law effectively stopped production of Hemp by imposing a tax so high that it became impractical and unprofitable to grow it. Although this law was still effective, the prohibition was lifted to support the war effort, which required Hemp supplies that were cut off, but was enforced again after 1944.
In 1970, then President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act into law, which placed Marijuana, and inexplicably it's cousin Hemp, as a Schedule I Narcotic, whose growth and possession could lead to imprisonment, fines, or both.
Finally, for a variety of reasons, the fog began to clear. Appellate court cases affirmed the publics ability to import Hemp, while the Congress moved to strip Hemp away from the now 80 year reputation it had garnered being unfairly associated with Marijuana.
The Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018 respectively established "Pilot" programs and then fully legalized Industrial Hemp in the nation.
While some states have been slow to adopt their own Hem growing rules and laws, the path is set on allowing Hemp to make a well deserved comeback and claim it's rightful place in the Consumer world.
Click to enlarge.
Click to Play. "Hemp for Victory" is a short film produced by the USDA during WWII to encourage the growth of Hemp for the war effort.
Why was Hemp made illegal in the first place?
That is a good question with many different answers. It would be easy to say it was all just a overblown case of confusion, but the reality of it was that several powerful parties with varied interests came together to deal a death blow to the Hemp industry because it was convenient and easy thing to do at the time they did it. Let's examine some contributing factors:
In the years following the end of Prohibition in America, there was a growing need to have something to enforce by the Federal Narcotics Bureau (later the Drug Enforcement Administration). Headed by a man named Harry Anshlinger he lobbied for the outlawing of Marijuana, which he was convinced was a "gateway" drug that could lead to other "unchristian like" behaviors as well as the use of harder, ore dangerous substances. He also falsely claimed that the substance could lead to overdose and death.
Enter into the picture a man name William Randolph Hearst. You may have heard this name before. He was a media magnate that controlled a small newsprint empire. Some even say that his manipulation of the media under his control fanned the flame of public opinion and led to the Spanish American War. You would think a businessman like Hearst would embrace Hemp as a cheap, efficient material for making paper for his holdings. But in fact, Hearst owned considerable interest in timber across the hemisphere, and viewed the use of Hemp paper as a threat to his financial interests. He turned the ire of his media machine against Marijuana while secretly lobbying behind the scenes to outlaw Hemps use alongside of it.
Hemp was not only well known in the world as a great raw material for paper, but it's fibers were renowned for their qualities in clothing and textile manufacturing. Into that landscape, we find that DuPont had recently patented Nylon, the first synthetic fiber made from petrochemicals. Protecting this investment would be beneficial to their future plans. It should also be noted that Andrew Mellon, former Treasury Secretary, was invested heavily in this new technology and may have used his influence to lobby for Hemps demise.
All of this culminated into what would become the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, where, despite the objections of the AMA and Industrial Hemp supporters, Hemp was foolheartedly lumped in alongside Marijuana and essentially outlawed.
Although this theory may sound a bit too conspiratorial to some, it does represent a confluence of interests that cannot be wholly nor soundly rejected. In fact, you can find many sources (poorly sourced and corporate sponsored for the most part) debunking this as a theory online. But the point remains, for whatever reason, the crop of Hemp was foolishly and without good cause brought to a halt in this country in 1937. Despite the governments correction of that error, only recently, there are still many attitudes, beliefs and misconceptions about the plant which need to be educated about and overcome.
Is Hemp Legal now?
The short answer to this question is; Yes it is. But it is a little more complex than that. When you discuss the legality of Hemp, you have to split into two separate groups; Hemp (and Hemp derived products) and Hemp Extracts (anything containing Cannabinoids such as CBD oils or creams).
First, lets look at Hemp Extract products. Yes, these are perfectly legal. The Farm Bill of 2018 removed Hemp and its products from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration by removing it from the Scheduled Drugs that it regulates/enforces. The Food and Drug Administration is now the governing body when it comes to these products. Although not official yet, they are currently crafting a policy on the use of Hemp Extracts.
With regard to all other Hemp products, with the enactment of the aforementioned Farm Bill of 2018, the growth and cultivation of the Hemp plant is legal. It's regulation also having been removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and placed in the hands of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As of writing this, the USDA has not arrived on any final rules on Hemp farming, but has published a set of draft rules which it allows states to use (if they do not establish their own).
These rules affect what the law defines as "Industrial Hemp." In basic terms, Industrial Hemp is Hemp which is grown for use of it's fibers, seeds, Cores, etc. (essentially, non Hemp Extract products). The law defines Industrial Hemp as Hemp which contains <.3% of THC by Dry weight. This low number was picked for a couple reasons, mostly to eliminate the possibility of psychoactive effects and thus, make it more palatable to be legalized.
The Farm Bill also established a few other rules to assist in the growth of the Industrial Hemp markets. It provided money for states to conduct "research" into it's uses and to improve methods of farming it. It also made it legal to transport Hemp across state lines.
The confusing part about these laws comes into play when you discuss individual states. To date, nearly all have some kind of Industrial Hemp law or regulations (or have adopted the Federal language) save a handful that still will not, inexplicably, allow their farmer's access to this new "cash crop" If you want to grow Hemp in a certain state, then you should check with your states Agricultural Department to make sure you comply with all the licensing and rules that may (or may not) be required.
Additional confusion comes into play when you bring in Local Law Enforcement, Certain other Federal and State Agencies, and some private companies. For example, there is still a great deal of confusion at the Transportation Security Administration when it comes to carrying CBD products onto airplanes. Certain cruise lines will still tell customers Hemp Extracts are "forbidden items" because they either willfully, or neglect to understand the differences between Hemp and Marijuana. And finally, certain Social Media companies and Search Engines will not allow Hemp businesses (that in n way deal with Marijuana) to use their platform to advertise Hemp Extract (CBD) products because they inexplicably refuse to update their policies and algorithms to reflect the law.
To be clear, this confusion and controversy 99% of the time, applies to Hemp Extract (CBD) products, not those derived from Hemp fiber, seeds or Hurd (as these contain NO Cannabinoids like CBD or THC). So be assured, you will not likely be hassled wearing your comfortable new Hemp clothing o a flight.
Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
This law was the culmination of efforts in the U.S. to curb the consumption of the substance Marijuana by placing a tax upon it so high, that growing it was deemed impractical and unaffordable. The law also classified Hemp as the same as Marijuana, effectively ending the burgeoning Hemp industry in the country.
Wikipedia Article on the Act
Throughout the years, there has been a number of Court Decisions and Laws that have affected Hemp and/or it's products. Here is a summary of some of the major ones.
Hemp vs. Marijuana, how are they different?
The most abundant Cannabinoid in the Hemp plant is Cannabidiol (CBD), and the THC content is extremely low. (<.3% by law).
With Hemp, there are NONE (no matter how much you smoke). The THC concentration is simply too low to cause any.
Until 2018, Hemp was strangely classified as a Schedule 1 Drug (alongside Marijuana) and was as such, considered illegal. With the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, it was removed from the schedule and placed under the regulation of the USDA (and FDA), making it perfectly legal to grow, manufacture and posses (as long as it met the requirements of "Industrial Hemp" (<.3% THC). Each state has been allowed to make it's own decision about Hemp for itself, to either adopt some form of Hemp law/regulation, to sign-on and agree to the Federal Standards, or a few still have not done either (meaning it is still illegal to grow/produce in those states).
Hemp can grow virtually anywhere, except in the most extreme climates. It requires little care and attention as a crop (of course, it still gets some) and has a 90 to 120 day growing cycle. Hemp fields typically grow with as few as 4" between plants.
Visually, the two plants are very different. Hemp grows tall, long & slender, with the flowering and bushy parts at the top. It's leaves are also more narrow and spread out across the frond.
There are over 25,000 uses for Industrial Hemp across a wide variety of products and industries. This is due 6o the fact that the "whole plant" can be used in some way, shape or form. For example, the stalk provides fiber and Hurd for pulp and textiles, paper, Hempcrete, etc. The seeds can be used for foods, flour and to produce Hemp Seed Oil for cooking and beauty products. The flowery/bushy parts at the top can be processed for Hemp Extract (CBD) products. And more.
The most abundant chemical compound in a Marijuana Plant is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the Cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects brought on by its use. It may (depending upon how it is raised or bred) contain as much as 40% (or higher) concentration of THC. By contrast, it contains minimal amounts of the Cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD).
Because there is a high concentration of THC, the chemical will interact heavily with the users Endocannabinoid System to cause psychoactive effects (the "high" feeling).
As far as the Federal government is concerned, Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 Drug, and as such, illegal. Having said that, over the years there has been a rapidly decreasing interest in enforcing low-level Marijuana violations, leaving that job for State Law Enforcement.
As far as states go, it is a mixed bag based upon what region that you are discussing. States have split Marijuana into two categories, essentially; Medicinal and Recreational. A Handful of states have made both types legal, while another handful have allowed Medical Marijuana with a valid Doctor's Prescription. The rest continue to leave the status the same, illegal. Proponents of legalization are working diligently to overcome old stereotypes and beliefs, and educate the public about the substance. They are optimistic that the near future will bring a change to the legal stats Marijuana has been saddled with since the 1970s.
Growing Marijuana plants is a considerably more involved process than Hemp. Although some Hemp is grown in controlled conditions and bred for increased CBD concentration, the majority is for "Industrial" purposes. Marijuana is generally grown in controlled environments, and normally inside. It usually requires specialized equipment (such as heat lamps and humidity controls) and is rarely done out-of-doors. Plants need to be grown at least 6 feet apart, due to their short bushy growth. The growing cycle tends to be about a month shorter than Hemp.
Important to note here is that a popular misconception (and sometimes outright lie) about Marijuana growth is that illicit growers can "hide" a group of Marijuana Bushes inside of a Hemp Field. This issue was used by opponents to Hemp legalization, particularly in Law Enforcement, to argue against it (and still do, surprisingly). The truth is that you cannot grow Marijuana anywhere in the vicinity of Hemp. The Hemps pollens will affect the Marijuana plants and drastically reduce their potency, rendering them useless.
Related to he above misconception, simply looking at a picture of the two (like the one below) it is easy to tell the difference. Marijuana tends to be shorter (6-8 feet tall) and bushier, with little or no "stalk." The leaves are also considerably different, being "fatter" and closer together with a shorter stem on the frond.
Marijuana, unlike its cousin, is really only useful in two arenas. The first, and likely best known, is recreational. The other is Medicinally, with great promise shown in helping ease pain, treat cancers, and aid in relieving many behavioral problems. Much research is left to be done, but the other areas of the plant do not prove to be as useful as those of a Hemp plant.
Hemp Extracts (CBD) have been shown to have benefits for a LARGE NUMBER (These are the more common ones) of conditions. (Click to enlarge)
Just Visually you can see the difference between Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) and Marijuana (Cannabis Indica). (Click to enlarge)
Hemp as Medicine
Please Note: These videos are shared for informational and educational purposes only. We do not endorse any person, opinion, place, method or product that may be mentioned, sold or marketed during them.
How can Hemp help us &our planet?
Hemp Helps the Environment
Hemp is a sustainable crop which requires less resources and chemicals to harvest and process. It can make any consumer product which is made currently from synthetics.
Hemp can clothe us
Hemp fiber is arguably the best choice when making fabrics and textiles. It is softer, tougher and has many other advantages when used to make clothing and accessories.
Hemp Helps Farmers
Hemp is a bountiful and easy to raise crop. It is less manpower intensive and requires less chemicals and water to grow. It's shrt growth cycle also means that up to 3 crops may be planted an harvested in a single year.
Hemp can help keep our oceans clean
Plastic pollution in our oceans is a problem that gets worse every day. The basic problem being that plastics never biodegrade (theysimply break down into smaller plastics). Hemp based bio-plastics will truly biodegrade and not persist in the environmeny.
Hemp can improve our Health
Hemp is one of the most nutrient dense plants that can be consumed and used as ingredients in other items. Hemp Extracts hold much promise for treating and easing numerous medical conditions
Hemp can help reverse Global Climate Change
Hemp is extraordinarily good at absorbing and sequestering CO2 gasses, From the raw plant to the finished products, Hemp is far better than any other plant (including trees) at processing and reducing the amount of the Greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Hemp can house us
Hemp can be fashioned into any number of construction materials, including Hempcrete, Insulations and plasters, and composite woods. They can be more durable, lighter, and more environmentally friendly than traditional materials.
And So Much More.
It seems everyday that new and exciting uses for Hemp and Hemp products are being discovered.