Disclaimer: My Rationale for Understanding the Science. Not everyone loves learning the scientific specifics, but lucky for you I do. And what I like to do with this information is gather it up, trim the fat, translate the jargon, and present it to you. Everything I explain has a point. I want you to experience an Informed High. I want to help create informed consumers making informed decisions.
The following post will discuss Cannabis and Hemp. How are they similar? What is Hemp and why is it useful?
Records dating back 6000 years indicate that Cannabis is one of humanity’s oldest crops. The differences between Cannabis and Hemp carry considerable legal implications in many countries. While breeding has resulted in clear genetic differentiation according to use, hemp and cannabis share a largely common genetic pool. The degree of genetic differentiation between hemp and marijuana is thought to be akin to that of the genetic difference between humans from Europe and East Asia.
Hemp plants grown for ‘rope not dope’ in northern Europe tend to fall under the species Cannabis Indica. Unfortunately, due to poor legal precedent, the hardworking, no-high plants were classified under the illegal Cannabis Sativa species.
Hemp is grown for the production of seed and fibre, often labeled as Industrial Hemp. Hemp represents a broader genetic base than that of Cannabis strains.
Canada has over 55000 acres of Industrial Hemp production, as of 2017. Canadian regulations do not allow hemp to contain more than 0.3% THC to be grown. Hemp food products derived from hemp seed include flour, pasta, cookies, lactose-free milk, and more. Hemp is said to be involved in making over 25,000 products, from dynamite to cellophane. Other products include paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
Cannabis, used for medicinal and recreational purposes, contains various amounts of the psychoactive THC. Some medical strains contain little to no THC, instead selecting breeds for CBD content. Breeding among close relatives is common for Cannabis.
In future posts, I will explore the variations of Cannabis grown throughout the world. For now, I will emphasize the fact that Cannabis is high on THC, producing much the high that people feel after consuming cannabis. Products made from Industrial Hemp have zero psychoactive properties when consumed.
Prejudice against Hemp
The fact that Cannabis and Hemp belong to the same species has led to prejudice against Hemp. The reasons for this are a complicated mess of political, economic, and social factors. Hemp has been prejudiced against for having a psychoactive cousin, causing us to miss out on the many benefits of this incredibly fast and easy growing plant. Applying scientific evidence and government regulation has created a vast Hemp industry in Canada. I suspect that negative preconceptions against Hemp will continue to reduce over time and production and use of Hemp will increase.
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Resources: Much of the information I used to make this post comes from the books listed on my Cannabis Books Page, where you’ll find affiliate links. If you want to purchase any of these resources, please use the links on that page to help support this blog and my goal of creating quality content full-time. Click HERE to go to the Cannabis Books Page.
Sawler, J., Stout, J. M., Gardner, K. M., Hudson, D., Vidmar, J., Butler, Page, J. E., & Myles, S. (2015). The genetic structure of marijuana and hemp. Plos ONE, 10(8): e0133292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133292.
Government of Canada (2018). Statistics, reports and fact sheets on hemp. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-concerns/controlled-substances-precursor-chemicals/industrial-hemp/about-hemp-canada-hemp-industry/statistics-reports-fact-sheets-hemp.html
Keller, NM (2013), “The Legalization of Industrial Hemp and What it Could Mean for Indiana’s Biofuel Industry” (PDF), Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, 23 (3): 555, doi:10.18060/17887.
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (n.d.). Canadian hemp: Nature’s wonder fibre. Retrieved from: http://www.agr.gc.ca/resources/prod/Internet-Internet/MISB-DGSIM/ATS-SEA/PDF/4687-eng.pdf(PDF).