Hemp has been around for thousands of years, so there should be nothing unknown or misunderstood about it, right? Unfortunately, wrong! Hemp was a big part of this countries history until, quite inexplicably (well, there's likely an explanation, but that's for a different article) it was lumped in with Marijuana, and effectively banned by the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Even when give the chance to get it right, in 1970 when Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act, it remained tied to Marijuana as a Schedule I Narcotic. Only the passage of the 2014 and (more recently) the 2018 Farm Bills have peeled Hemp away from the stigma of being associated with Marijuana, by finally legalizing the cultivation of Hemp, and removing it's regulation from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the US Dept. of Agriculture and F.D.A.
However, it was still 80 years of absence from the general public. Opponents of it's legalization spread much misinformation about Hemp. The public wasn't educated about Hemp, or it's role in the development of the nation. Much less the chemical makeup and industrial applications of the plant. The rumor mills swirled day an night, fueled by factually incorrect information and conjecture.
What does this type of environment produce? Well, mostly a lot of false information and myths that get repeated and cited as "facts" by those who are both financially and ideologically opposed to the re-introduction of Hemp into the American marketplace.
In this article, we will try to catalog some of the most persistent and damaging rumors and offset them with the facts. People who have worked in the Hemp Industry have likely seen these, or a version of them, and deal with them constantly. At least one of these are discussed with me at nearly every event we attend. We hope, however, that this will help clear up some questions and concerns for those who are seeking to bring Hemp into their lives, or just want to know more.
Hemp can get you High!
FACT: For 80 years, Hemp has been tied to Marijuana by the law of the land. So, it's easy to see why those unfamiliar with the subject assume that Hemp can get you as high as consuming Marijuana. It is true that Hamp and Marijuana are related plants, both part of the Cannabis Family. However, they ARE NOT the same. They have several key differences, but the one in question here is each plants THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, or the substance that produces the "high" feeling) content.
Marijuana plants are grown and harvested for THC, and can be bred to have as high a concentration as possible. Hemp (Or in this case legalized "Industrial Hemp") on the other hand, is required BY LAW to have less than .3% THC concentration (by dry weight). This small amount is NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH to produce any psychoactive effects. Some products (such as Isolates and Broad Spectrum products) even go further and remove as much of that THC as possible.
Marijuana can be grown and hidden in Hemp Fields!
FACT: This is a popular piece of misinformation that has been used by Law Enforcement opponents to Hemp legalization for years. Their primary claim is that it is hard to tell the difference from the air.
There are a couple of reasons that this theory falls apart upon. The first is the physical differences between the two plants. Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L) is tall (up to 20 feet) with a long stalk and narrow bladed leaves. While a Marijuana Plant (Cannabis Indica) is far shorter (6-8 feet) and bushier with wider bladed leaves. They simply do not look alike!
The second is more a function of growing these crops. Hemp plants grow close together in large fields, and generally outdoors. Marijuana growers, on the other hand, usually prefer to control the growing environment and require special equipment, so these plants are generally grown indoors, or in a greenhouse. Then there is the fact that if you plant a Marijuana plant in close proximity to Hemp, the Hemps pollens will find its way to that plant and effectively ruin it.
Hemp is the Male, and Marijuana the female, Cannabis Plants.
FACT: Again, another example of over-simplification of a subject few are educated about. Although both Plants are members of the same FAMILY of plant, they are indeed TWO DIFFERENT PLANTS! Each of them have male and female versions.
Myth # 4
Industrial Hemp can be smoked for getting high like Marijuana.
FACT: Again, untrue because of biology. Although many people can, and do, smoke (or vape) Hemp, they do it for very different reasons. Mostly to take advantage of the CBD (Cannabidiol) and other Cannabinoids from the plant. Some do it to help anxiety or as part of a smoking cessation program. But the key point to remember is this; Industrial Hemp has less that .3% THC (by LAW), which is not near enough to cause any mind-altering effects. You can try, but all you'll do is cough a lot and get a headache!
Myth # 5
Hemp advocates are just looking for a way to legalize Marijuana.
FACT: This is a leap of logic that requires several leaps of faith. For one thing, Hemp IS NOT Marijuana! They are cultivated for completely different reasons, under different conditions, and in different ways. To imply that legalizing Hemp means that Marijuana should be legal is the equivalent of saying that corn is a legal crop, so tobacco must remain legal!
The major reason is that the discussion revolves around two different industries. Industrial Hemp is grown and harvested for a lot more than just CBD products, like textiles, foods, and other things which Marijuana could NEVER be used for, They are two different worlds which were unfortunately interwoven by an ill advised part of a law enacted in 1937.
CBD Can cure everything!
FACT: CBD (and Cannabinoids in general) have received a lot of spotlight recently. Their popularity centering on it's ability to help with a great many conditions.
Hemp Extracts are, in fact, very effective at managing many conditions and symptoms. There is quite a bit of smaller scale studies and user evidence to support this. It has, however, not been SCIENTIFICALLY linked to anything yet.
We mention this not to discourage the use of them, but to say that you should make sure you are getting your Hemp Extract products from a reputable source that does not make fantastic and unbelievable claims about these products. Again, the existing evidence is more than enough to be convincing without adding a bunch of Hype. And hopefully, sometime in the near future, there will be a plethora of scientific studies available.
Myth # 7
CBD works quickly and the same for everyone!
FACT: Using Hemp Extracts to treat conditions requires both discipline and patience. You need this because you are going to have to find the DOSAGE that works for you. And sometimes that may take more than a week.
We encounter frequently those who say "I tried it for seven days and it didn't work, so it must not work!" Well, the simple answer is, they didn't determine the dose they needed correctly. It is different for everybody and depends on many factors. Click Here to read our article on how to determine your required dosage.
There are 7 widely "popular" myths about Hemp and Hemp Extracts. Hopefully, this list helps settle some of those questions and concerns you may have had after hearing (or reading) some of these. A lack of education about a subject leads to falsehoods and conspiratorial theories being spread about it. These falsehoods can be simply out of ignorance, or deliberately conjured to benefit a certain agenda. Protect yourself and use the tools available, the library, the Internet, Industry experts, etc. and learn what you can so next time you hear someone spouting a Hemp Myth, you know the right answer!
"Please tell us what you think below! Have you heard any of these or any different ones?"
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