It’s Time To Separate Hemp From MarijuanaCraig Swanson
Table of Contents
- Brief History of Hemp And Marijuana
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- Why Hemp Is Still Confused With Marijuana Today
- How Hemp And Marijuana Are Different
- Chemical makeup
- Cultivation Environment
- Applications & Benefits
- Hemp Is Not Marijuana: It’s Time to Distinguish the Two
It’s high time the blame put on the most useful plant in the world came to an end. The fact is hemp and marijuana is not the same plant. Even before 20th, it was easy to see the difference between the two. Hemp was broadly used in the making of paper, clothing and food products. Furthermore, the strongest ropes and sails used in war times were made from hemp.
Hemp was widely used for its resourcefulness until in the 1930s when the political wave drifted.
The change in the political scene frustrated the usage and growth of hemp when it suddenly got mixed up in the debate against cannabis. In the end, the two plants were placed in the same group. A closer look at the controversy that resulted in the grouping and banning of hemp and cannabis together revealed the intentional fabrication made by political bigwigs and industries at the time. It is indeed unfortunate that the ban placed on the harmless hemp plant is still active.
Brief History of Hemp And Marijuana
Historically, human beings have known and used hemp for more than 10,000 years. However, during the early 1900s, it got grouped with Marijuana, which is psychoactive in nature. The rapid growth of petroleum oil industries, tree paper, and synthetic plastics influenced the political grounds to shift against hemp.
The heated debate against hemp began in 1930, immediately after the formation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). This bureau was originally purposed to deal with opium and cocaine cases. It dismissed any emerging concerns against cannabis until 1932 when a five years crusade was initiated by the commissioner to pass a bill that would prohibit marijuana and hemp and all CBD infused products.
It is not quite clear why so much effort was put to ban both hemp and Marijuana by Harry Anslinger, the commissioner for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Since Marijuana was already known to be psychoactive, perhaps the best cause of action would have been to launch a bill that would ban it alone, without having to get the innocent hemp in the mix. Prior to the prohibition, the public only knew hemp as a major domestic crop while marijuana was just a normal plant without any alarming issues or records. In fact, as the commissioner fought obsessively to make the bill popular, it can be assumed from the public reaction that there was nothing of concern with the use of cannabis or its cousin plants.
It is important to note that Anslinger’s position at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created by his nephew-in-law, Andrew Mellon, who was also funding the operations of Petro Chemical Dynasties of Duponts. Sadly, Anslinger’s effort finally bore fruits when the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937. This Act levied taxes on hemp including all the other Marijuana products. This was followed by a series of protests. Among the protesters was the National Oil Seed Institute which demonstrated how hemp was being used as food in Russia and other oriental nations. The institute further showed how hemp was grown in the field as oatmeal and its seed used as food throughout generations, mostly during the famine. More protests came from hemp farmers, hemp chemical and paper companies who saw the passage of the bill as a way of crippling their activities. These complaints did not receive much of attention and therefore, the bill remained as passed.
In 1970, the war on drugs was declared by President Richard Nixon, this added more problems to hemp because a full ban was placed on it shortly after being added in the group of schedule 1 drug with dangerous LSD and Heroin.
Given that politics controls almost everything that happens in the society, the media was not left out. It was used to play a major role in ensuring that the public had the most negative thinking about Marijuana. Numerous campaigns and films were organized with the aim of demonstrating the dangers of using Marijuana. Films and billboards were particularly used with scary characters and scenarios that gave the public a second thought about cannabis. For instance, the film Reefer Madness was sponsored to spread the propaganda that using Marijuana led to; madness, murder, rape and even hit and run. This incredibly succeeded in changing the minds of the public, especially parents with teenagers. Churches and most advocates of the law often referred to Reefer Madness while warning the people against the use of Marijuana.
Why Hemp Is Still Confused With Marijuana Today
Presently, Marijuana is far more popular than hemp; this is because institutions such as NORML are much more organized than any existing hemp organization. Hemp organizations have not developed strong enough to champion for its legalization; instead, they only tend to depend on Marijuana activists, because of this, most people confuse hemp to be the same thing as Marijuana. In their minds, hemp sounds just like another psychoactive plant, which is really not the case. Another thing that seems to place difficulty in the distinction of hemp and cannabis is the fact that some marijuana groups are already using hemp in their names for example; Seattle’s Hempfest and HempCon of San Fransisco. The main goals of these groups are to support the legalization of Medical and recreational Marijuana. However, when they publicly show their billboards, the public ends up concluding that there is no difference between Marijuana and hemp.
How Hemp And Marijuana Are Different
There are several ways in which one can distinguish Marijuana and Hemp. The distinction seeks to show how the two plants cannot be grown close to each other, and their products cannot be used in the same way.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive compound and is the main chemical compound that can be used to distinguish hemp and Marijuana.
On average Marijuana has about 5 to 20% of THC, and about 25 to 35% of the same chemical is contained in some premium Marijuana. On the other hand, the level of THC hardly goes beyond 0.3% in hemp, and this makes it nearly impossible to get high. In countries where hemp is legal, the level of THC is highly regulated. The high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp also help to suppress the levels of THC.
There is a significant difference between the environment in which hemp and Marijuana grows. To grow properly, Marijuana needs a controlled humid and warm atmosphere and has a growth cycle of 108 -120 days. On the other hand, hemp is able to grow in different climates and is with a growth cycle of 60-90 days. Hemp and Marijuana cannot be grown in the close fields because pollen from hemp can easily ruin the psychoactivity of Marijuana crop.
Applications & Benefits
Hemp and Marijuana are applied differently because they serve absolutely different purposes. While Marijuana is only used for recreational and medicinal purposes, hemp is known to have more than 25000 applications including the making of skin and beauty products, paper, clothing, and food.
Hemp Is Not Marijuana: It’s Time to Distinguish the Two
Whether people accept or refuse the difference between hemp and marijuana, it is not easy to refute the fact that illegalization of hemp was based on no truthful ground. Furthermore, it was ridiculous to place hemp in the in the same group as heroin and opium, since it is non-psychoactive. It may be very difficult to reverse or change what has already happened to hemp, but still, it is possible to make a difference in the future, mostly by helping people to understand hemp plant and how resourceful it can be if its growth and use were allowed. Over the years, a lot of negative things have been said about hemp, and it has also earned almost every bad perception that people have on cannabis. Therefore, it might take several years, and maybe more generations before people and authorities change their minds and see the true wonders of CBD Oils made from hemp, like our 600mg oil here.
While the hope is to have Marijuana fully legalized in the future by all nations, it is important for activists to include, and support the legalization of hemp too. Marijuana brands and groups should also avoid using the word hemp in their branding and marketing; this will help the public to easily distinguish hemp from Marijuana and probably help in the alleviation of the ongoing Marijuana stigma as well.