When it comes to cannabis seeds, we are proud to talk about the high percentages of THC and CBD in Paradise Seeds strains. However, let’s talk about a miracle cannabis plant that has just 0.2 - 0.3% THC content.
No, we haven’t gone crazy at Paradise Seeds... We are, of course, talking about hemp!
While cannabis seeds are grown to provide nice juicy buds, the rest of the plant is just waste product for most people. But in hemp production, the vegetative parts of the plant are dried out in order to remove pectin from the plant and loosen the fibers for extraction (a process known as retting). The seeds of this variety of cannabis plant are also used to make hemp oil.
With more debate about the softening of laws regarding the cannabis plant, for recreational and medical marijuana use, there has also been more focus on the industrial uses of hemp. The hemp story has been well catalogued. It has been used for thousands of years and before the invention of synthetic fibres was a vital raw material with many uses.
Industrial hemp has great potential for a variety of uses, including:
- Building materials
- Plastic composites
OK, so let’s put this into perspective with an illustration:
Potentially, you could be eating a hemp seed cookie (which is packaged in a hemp paper wrapper), while driving a car made from hemp fibres (which runs on hemp fuel) that is travelling along a road that was built using hemp extract!
A Quick History Lesson – Hemp in the USA
OK, so not everybody is a great fan of history, but they should be! History shows us that nothing lasts forever and many things work in cycles. What we take for granted as normal today, can quickly become the history of tomorrow.
For the first time in many years, the cannabis reform movement is taking big steps forward. The biggest surprise of all is that it is the USA (at state level anyway) that is pushing this change. This is significant, because the history of marijuana legalisation and the United States is very much intertwined. After all, this is the country that invented the phrase ‘ The War on Drugs.’
However, here’s an interesting historical fact. In the Seventeenth century, hemp was considered such an important material that it was actually illegal not to grow hemp in Virginia and other American states!
Over the centuries that followed, hemp production featured in American farming until the Marihuana Tax Act, passed in 1937 by the Roosevelt Administration, brought about the regulation that effectively killed industrial hemp. Combined with the ‘Reefer madness’ propaganda, this began the era of prohibition which has dominated our recent history.
Industrial Hemp – The Future
However, hemp advocates have been encouraged by recent developments in the USA which suggest that history may be turning away from prohibition and looking towards a future in which hemp, the miracle plant, will feature more in our everyday lives.
Industrial Hemp – The Future However, hemp advocates have been encouraged by recent developments in the USA which suggest that history may be turning away from prohibition and looking towards a future in which hemp, the miracle plant, will feature more in our everyday lives. In 2013, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act was one of two pieces of legislation presented to Congress, giving US states the authority to grow and process hemp, under state law. Earlier this year, PresidentObama also signed a Farm Bill, which included an amendment that gives states the power to legalize hemp production for the purpose of research.
This is seen as significant by many observers. Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a non-profit organization promoting a free market for hemp, was reported in a Weed Blog post earlier this year, as saying: “A change in federal law to allow colleges and universities to grow hemp for research means that we will finally begin to regain the knowledge that unfortunately has been lost over the past fifty years.”
At the moment, the industrial hemp market in the USA is valued at $500 million a year, but the potential for growth is huge. With these legal changes, and a new reputation for being a ‘money maker’ rather than a ‘home breaker’, perhaps a new chapter in the history of hemp is on its way.