Hemp has been growing in popularity, and the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill helped increase its popularity. The Bill also allowed for the growth of industrial hemp and shone a light on its uses as well as benefits. Due to the laws and stigma surrounding cannabis, there have been comparisons between marijuana and hemp and how each makes you feel. This has led to many myths and misconceptions about hemp cropping up. All of these myths and misconceptions are false, as discussed below.
Hemp is likened to cannabis, and thus it’s widely believed that it can induce the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Industrial hemp is often categorized with cannabis even in the illicit substance list since both belong to the Cannabis sativa family. There is also the belief that the calming feeling associated with hemp is as a result of hemp’s psychoactive properties.
Hemp is not psychoactive and thus will not leave you feeling high or intoxicated. Both marijuana and hemp have the same compounds. However, hemp has high concentrations of CBD and an extremely low concentration of THC. Alternatively, marijuana has higher concentrations of THC and deficient concentrations of CBD. THC is responsible for inducing the ‘high’ feeling.
Since hemp was legalized, there have been myths going around that industrial hemp farmers will use hemp as cover to grow marijuana. Some think they can use the similarities to confuse the authorities into letting them grow marijuana.
Yes, hemp looks and smells like marijuana. To an untrained eye, hemp is marijuana, and marijuana is hemp. Sometimes even the authorities confuse the two, especially if they’re not well versed in the differences. However, hemp plants are taller and skinnier compared to marijuana plants, which are shorter. In some cases, marijuana plants also grow tall, but they all have that bushy appearance.
It’s possible to confuse the two, and even the DEA is trying to come up with an easier way to differentiate the two. Most detection kits only test for the presence of THC and overlook the fact that marijuana and hemp have different concentration levels.
Don’t fall for this myth as a trained eye will spot the difference between the two. Also, marijuana farmers know better than to inter-crop the two. While the regular folk might see it as a camouflage crop, cannabis growers know that hemp is a threat to marijuana. Pollen from hemp plants is said to ruin the quality of marijuana by reducing the THC quantity. Its pollen threatens the quality of recreational cannabis, and thus farmers prefer not to farm the two together.
Hemp is arguably the most hyped plant, and it’s believed to have uses that range from medicine, textiles to nutrition. It’s thought to be the golden goose that could help solve all the problems that this world faces. Hemp production has skyrocketed such that the US is now the 3rd largest producer of industrial hemp. Everybody is turning to hemp for its supposed versatility.
Hemp is a versatile plant that has been grown for generations. There are records that it was used as fabric as early as 8000 BC. Thanks to technology, its uses have only increased, and it’s now regarded as one of the most versatile plants. Almost every part of this plant can be turned into a product. The seeds make hemp milk, the stalk makes ropes, fabrics, plastic, etc. while the leaves and flowers make oils and CBD concentrates.
However, hemp needs to be grown on large tracts of land to be commercially viable; thus it’s not suitable for small scale farmers. There is no denying its versatility and incredible, but thinking that it will save us is a bit of a stretch.
Hemp fiber is seen as the only feasible use of hemp plants, and as such, this belief tends to ignore all the other applications.
Making fiber is indeed among the reasons why industrial hemp is grown; however, it has other uses that span from food, fiber to medicine. For centuries, farmers in Europe have been cultivating hemp to provide fiber for canvas and ropes. However, technology has improved the way hemp plants are viewed. It can even be converted into fuel, which is cleaner than petroleum.
It also has applications in construction where you can mix water, limestone, and hemp fibers to create a natural cement. The resulting cement is lightweight, has excellent insulating properties, and is flexible.
Hemp is also used in the manufacture of bioplastics, which are seen as a better alternative to petroleum-based plastics. These bio-plastics are better in that they decompose in 3 months but can be enhanced to last longer. Hemp plastics are a short term alternative to petroleum-based plastics. However, hemp plastics aren’t viable for long-term use as they need too many resources to sustain the current demand for single-use plastics.
Another viable use of hemp in the production of hemp milk which can be a substitute for dairy milk. It’s ideal for people who are lactose intolerant and prefer gluten-free food. It has a creamy texture, nutty flavor, and ideal for vegans.
Hemp is often said to be the male version of marijuana, which isn’t true.
Hemp and marijuana belong to the same family, but they’re not the same. Hemp isn’t marijuana, and marijuana isn’t hemp. They are both cannabis, but they’re different varieties of the Sativa family.
People will keep coming up with all kinds of theories and myths about hemp. You can’t curb the spread of these myths; the best you can do is to educate yourself on the different types of cannabis. Understand how each member of the Cannabis sativa family is grown and used. This way, you can differentiate marijuana from hemp. Understanding the difference will help you understand the contents of the 2018 Farm Bill and what it means to the growth of hemp.