Hemp is considered to be one of the most versatile plants that have had a major role to play in the history of humankind. The plant could be used for a variety of purposes, such as paper, clothing, rope, and so much more. In fact, hemp has also been a catalyst for many of the earliest inventions by humans. Archaeological evidence is also present that indicate the use of hemp that goes back to 8,000 BC.
Throughout the years, the hemp industry had to deal with several ups and downs. The recent popularity of CBD due to the need for more natural products in the market can be marked as a period of renaissance.
The demand for hemp and its products has encouraged green-fingered entrepreneurs and farmers all across the globe to cultivate hemp.
However, we do not understand the many characteristics of hemp very well. Let’s take a look at its safety features, legality, and ways of use in order to understand the subject in some detail.
Difference between Marijuana and Cannabis
Before going into the details, it is essential to understand what hemp is and how it is related to Marijuana and Cannabis.
Firstly, you need to know that they aren’t the same thing.
Cannabis is a plant classification contain several species that include Marijuana and Hemp as two different species. Therefore, both types actually belong to the Cannabis family.
Though Marijuana and Hemp are species belonging to the Cannabis family, they are quite different from one another.
Appearance – The visual appearance is pretty distinct in the two species. Marijuana is known to have a bushy appearance, dense buds, and broad leaves. On the other hand, the hemp plant grows taller, is skinnier than Marijuana, has skinny leaves that stay concentrated towards the plant’s top.
When you compare both the plants side by side, you will be able to see visible differences between the two.
Cultivation Environment – The process of cultivating both the plants, including their environments, are pretty different.
Marijuana plants have a growth cycle of 60 to 90 days. And they planted while keeping maple space between each plant (at least 6-feet apart). Marijuana plants also require a carefully maintained, humid, and warm climate for cultivation.
Hemp plants, on the other hand, are grown pretty close together (often 4-inches apart) in a variety of climates. The growth cycle ranges between 108 and 120 days.
Chemical Makeup – Marijuana is known to contain high amounts of THC. THC is a type of intoxicating compound that causes one to “get high”. Hemp contains THC in very low quantities.
Hemp is mainly grown for industrial purposes. On the other hand, Marijuana is grown for medicinal and recreational purposes.
The difference in the THC content in both the plants has a major role to play in the legality aspect of each plant. As marijuana contains enormous amounts of THC, its cultivation, sales, and usage are legal only in a few states. On the other hand, hemp is legal based on many factors.
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Hemp – Its Legality
Each state and country will have different laws based on the cultivation, transportation, sales, and usage of hemp, all of which depend on the THC-content of the plant.
Most of the US allows hemp that has a THC-content of 0.3%. On the other hand, the rest of the world only allows 0.2% of THC-content.
That being said, various hemp products like foods, oils, lotions, etc. are entirely legal and can be found in different stores all across the country.
If you want to engage in sales, transportation, or cultivation of these products, you will have to obtain licenses and other similar requirements based on the state laws. Therefore, you should do thorough research before going into the business front.
Hemp and Its History
The cultivation of hemp started thousands of years back. Hemp is one of the few plants that was used for textile fiber. Archaeologists were able to find remains of hemp cloth, dating back to 8,000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.
These archaeological discoveries show that hemp cultivation is one of the oldest examples of industrial efforts made by humankind.
Throughout the years, hemp had a crucial role to play in the development of societies. The 600-year-old Gutenberg Bible was made using hemp. The sales of the many English fleet of ships that ended up defeating the Spanish Armada were also made of hemp.
At a point in time, the cultivation of hemp was also illegal for farmers who lived in England.
In the United States, hemp has high esteem among those in power. Thomas Jefferson, founding Father and third President, mentioned that hemp is the first necessity to the protection and wealth of the country.
Uses of Hemp
As you can see, hemp has many uses. But why is the plant so special? Let’s try to figure that out below.
Fiber – As discussed earlier, hemp fiber is used for millennia. It is useful for making textiles and fabrics, paper, and rope.
Food – Hemp seeds are known to be quite delicious, and the Indians and Ancient Chinese were the first to consume them. Because of their nutty taste, they can either eaten raw, sprouted, ground-up, or turned into dried sprout powder.
Hemp seeds are known to contain a highly nutritious oil that contains unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, the seeds could be used to make hemp milk, and the leaves could be used as a fancy addition to salads.
Building Material – Hemp is useful for building materials. ‘Hempcrete’, concrete-like blocks, is known to be popular wood and biodegradable plastics replacements.
Biofuel – Hemp stalks and seeds contain oil that could be used as biofuels. ‘Hempoline’ is a type of biodiesel that is derived from hemp plants.
CBD – CBD, one of the miraculous compounds that have taken the international market by a storm, is a hemp derivative.
Hemp and Its Future
With the popularity of CBD growing rapidly all across the globe, many bio-friendly alternatives and practical usages for hemp are coming into limelight. Therefore, the hemp industry is expected to skyrocket. The only challenge would be to educate and build awareness among the general public. In the future, hemp is expected to play even a bigger role than the one it played in the past.