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The History of Hemp

Hemp is a cannabis plant that contains naturally higher levels of Cannaibidiol (CBD) and less THC is used for industrial purposes and more recently, its medicinal qualities.  Hemp has been noted to have over 30,000 different industrial and medicinal uses. Due to selective breeding, cannabis growers have been able to create plant strains with high levels of CBD and with little to no THC and as a result can be grown legally in many countries around the world.

Hemp products have been used for at least 3000 years for both humans and livestock.  Hemp arrived in Colonial America with the Puritans in the form of seed for planting and as fiber in the lines, sails and caulking of the Mayflower.  Although Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag with hemp fibers and George Washington grew hemp at Mount Vernon, the fibrous plant, became illegal during the Prohibition era, as politicians tried to regulate pharmaceuticals.

Hemp produces a great amount of CBD, which was proven to aid many aliments.  During The Hoover presidency, Andrew Mellon became Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury and DuPont’s primary investor. He appointed his nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.  These financial tycoons held secret meetings. Hemp was declared dangerous and a threat to their billion dollar enterprises.  For their dynasties to remain intact, hemp had to go.

This led these men to take an obscure Mexican slang word: ‘marihuana’ and push it into the consciousness of America.  The reason why they changed the name was because everyone knew of hemp and how amazing it was for the world.  They would never be able to get away with banning hemp, so they used a name they knew no one would care about.

Not long after this plan was set in place, the media began a blitz of  ‘yellow journalism’ in the late 1920s and 1930s.  Yellow journalism is essentially journalism where stories with catchy headlines are put into the mainstream media to get attention, yet these stories are not well researched or backed up.  They are often used simply to create public opinion.  Many newspapers were pumping stories emphasizing the horrors and dangers of marihuana.  The “menace” of marihuana made headlines everywhere. Readers learned that it was responsible for everything from car accidents to losing morality and it wasn’t long before public opinion started to shape.

Next came several films like ‘Reefer Madness’ (1936), ‘Marihuana: Assassin of Youth’ (1935) and ‘Marihuana: The Devil’s Weed’ (1936) which were all propaganda films designed by these industrialists to create an enemy out of marihuana.  Reefer Madness was possibly the most interesting of the films as it depicted a man going crazy from smoking marijuana and then murdering his family with an ax.  With all of these films, the goal was to gain public support so that anti-marihuana laws could be passed without objection.

Today, hemp is healthy and nutrient dense making it a nearly perfect food source.  It is high in digestible protein, healthy omega essential fatty acids and naturally occurring minerals.  Hemp is free of gluten and has no known allergens.  Hemp seeds have a balanced 1:3 ratio of naturally occurring Omega-1 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids.  Unlike other seeds and nutritional oils such as flax and fish oils, hemp seeds contain the powerful Stearidonic Acid and Gamma Linolenic Acid known as “Super Omegas”.

Hemp provides an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products, including building materials, car parts, plastics, paper, textiles, and ethanol. Hemp is a low-impact agricultural product and a renewable resource.

Hemp oil can be produced from the seeds and most effectively from the whole plant flowers and leaves.  The flowers contain the “microfactories” called trichomes that produce the majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant.  The trichomes are more densely located on the flowers of the cannabis plant.

In 2014, Kentucky, Vermont and Colorado grew hemp pilot crops under section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill.  A hemp amendment to the 2014 Congressional Omnibus Appropriations Bill prohibits DEA and DOJ from spending tax dollars to deter hemp farming for research in states where it is legal.

CBD products may also be sold in certain states that have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana.  Even though CBD shows much promise as a medicine, it remains illegal in many parts of the world.  CBD is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States and a Schedule II Drug in Canada.

*How Hemp Became Illegal: The Marijuana Link Joe Martino, December 5, 2012