Industrial hemp is an economically and medically important plant that belongs to the cannabis family of trees. The same cannabis family in which marijuana belongs too. However, despite belonging to the same tree family and a lot of similarities, hemp is quite different from marijuana.
Also, this is the same plant that pharma companies use to produce CBD products that are helping us fight various diseases.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what industrial hemp is and how this plant can be quite beneficial to humankind.
What Is Industrial Hemp?
Hemp or the industrial hemp is one of the many variants of the cannabis plants which has a scientific name of Cannabis sativa. Depending on what kind of flower this plant produces, we can differentiate hemp into male and female plants. Humans have been using hemp for different purposes for more than 10,000 years.
Humans have been making ropes, getting proteins, oils, and recreational drugs from these plants. In the past, humans used hemp stem fiber to make papers, fabric, wearable clothes, and other binding materials.
However, we use industrial hemp mainly for a different purpose. Nowadays, we’re using the hemp plant to produce CBD products that have many medicinal uses. Factories and companies are using the hemp to extract the CBD and process it into different products to cure anxiety, depression, heart problems, and other different diseases.
Does It Make People High?
Because hemp belongs to a similar cannabis family of trees as marijuana, many people think it as a weed. And they think it will create intense psychoactive effects just like marijuana and get them high. But that’s not the case.
The main reason people suffer from several psychoactive effects after using marijuana is the high THC or tetrahydrocannabinol percentage.
Although hemp also produces THC, it creates a very little amount of it. In fact, hemp naturally has less than 0.5% THC and as a result, it does not make you high. And while it might not make much THC, it does produce a lot of cannabidiol or CBD. And nowadays, people and doctors are using a lot of CBD products for the treatment of many complex diseases.
You should also note that different countries may define industrial hemp differently. In the US, to be considered legal hemp, the plant must not have more than 0.3% THC. The limit in the EU is even stepper at 0.2% THC. On the other hand, the UK defined the THC percentage to be zero unless the person who is growing hemp get the proper license to extend the limit to a max of 0.2 percent.
Can You Smoke Industrial Hemp?
Although hemp has THC in them, the amount of that THC is so little that it won’t make you feel high. Simply put, no matter which industrial hemp you use, it just won’t have enough THC to create various psychoactive effects and hallucinations. But it has a lot of CBD in it. So, if you use smoke hemp, the CBD will jump into your bloodstream and create a calming effect. But this isn’t the same as getting high.
If you consider the fact that hemp in the US usually has less than 0.3% THC, it won’t make you high even if you smoke it. You’ll get the medicinal benefits of CBD in this way though. Still, if you’re looking to get the full medical benefit of hemp, you shouldn’t be taking it via smoking.
Moreover, smoking might change the chemical composition of some of the CBD of the hemp. And this can be dangerous for both your lungs and overall health. So, if you’re looking to rip the full benefit of hemp, you’re better of trying to take CBD directly via tincture or edibles.
How Do People Choose Hemp For Industrial Use?
To make sure the hemp growers grow the right kind of hemp that will be suitable for industrial use, the cultivators have to adjust how their hemp grows. But even after the hemp plants become fully grown, there are many signs the growers consider to choose the right hemp for industrial use. Below are some of the notable factors that will help people choose the right hemp:
- The quality of the hemp plant’s stem.
- The total CBD content.
- How immune the plant is against disease.
- The time of harvesting the hemp plants.
- The total amount of hemp oil per plant.
While hemp plants can be used for many different purposes, more and more hemp growers are focusing on producing hemp good enough to profitably extract CBD.
How Do We Use Industrial Hemp?
Industrial hemp has many different uses. And depending on the quality of the hemp plant and the way it is raised, it can be used for making ropes, textiles, paper, different fibers, and also to produce CBD. Below are some ways we use hemp right now:
- The most common reason why people are growing hemp nowadays is to extract CBD from it. CBD is one of the many cannabinoids of hemp which has special medicinal properties. So, pharma companies are using a lot of hemp plants to extract CBD and produce different CBD products.
- The industrial hemp is also famous for its hemp fiber that companies use to create ropes, paper, binding objects, textiles, and more. Companies also use the woody fiber of the hemp to create other industrial things such as bedding material, compost, absorbents, ceiling panels, and much more.
- Although people are not using hemp for mass production of different foods as of now, this scenario can change in the near future. The seeds of the hemp have multiple vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fatty acids. In fact, they contain just the right ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid which can be beneficial for us. Moreover, according to a study of 2008, humans can digest the protein of hemp seeds much easier than soy proteins. And this can be great news for those who are suffering from protein deficiency.
Is Hemp Legal In The US?
To get the whole idea if hemp production is legal in the US or not, you have to understand both the federal law and the law of your state. That’s why we’re going to discuss both of the laws separately so you have the best possible knowledge about the industrial hemp.
Here we go:
The Federal Laws
Before 2014, the production or the use of hemp was totally illegal in the US under federal laws. But the former US president Barack Obama changed this scenario with his 2014 Agricultural Act or more specifically, the farm bill. According to the new act’s Section 7606, universities and any state’s agricultural department were granted permission to grow industrial hemp.
However, there was a limitation. The universities and states could only cultivate hemp if they use it only for research purposes. Also, according to the act, any university or agricultural department who wishes to cultivate hemp must register with their state to get a license. After that, they can grow hemp according to their state’s specific regulations and laws.
Even after all this freedom, the hemp was still classified in Schedule 1 which is the most restrictive classification for any particular object. Thus, hemp was classified as an object that has no medicinal use and can be abused quite easily by the wrong people.
But the new Agricultural Improvement Act 2018 moved hemp from Schedule 1. As a result of the reclassification, it became federally legal to produce hemp for industrial use. Moreover, the farmers of hemp now claim rights over the water, get crop insurance, and get access to farming loans and government grants.
The State Laws
Before the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, a total of 41 states declared specific rules and regulations regarding hemp production. Out of those 41 states, 39 agreed to allow hemp cultivation all over the state as long as it complies with the state law. Also, those 39 states clearly differentiated hemp from marijuana to inform the people of the state that it’s hemp, not marijuana, that is legal right now.
The new laws require the states’ agricultural department to work with their governors and law enforcers to form a special hemp regulatory program. And then, the states need to pass the specific structure of the regulatory program’s details to the US secretary of agriculture for final approval.
The regulatory program must keep a track of all the lands in the state that is being used for hemp cultivation. Also, the state must have an effective way to quickly test the THC level of all the hemp to make sure it’s below 0.3 percent. Moreover, they must also get rid of any hemp that doesn’t comply with the THC standard.
In The End…
Although using or growing hemp is illegal in many countries, other countries are starting to see it’s benefits. Moreover, people from various countries are becoming more and more accepting of industrial hemp. Today, most of the US states made hemp cultivation legal. And pharma companies are producing more and more CBD products that they extract from hemp to cure various complex diseases.
What’s your point of view on industrial hemp? Let us know in the comment section.
Disclaimer: The information above should not be considered a medical recommendation. The content is written to enrich the reader’s knowledge. Any use of materials and content mentioned in this article should be first consulted about with a physician.