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Hemp – Myths & Realities

Hemp – has there ever been a plant so misunderstood? Even today, if you mention the word around the wrong people, they’ll tell you to take your tie dye and your Grateful Dead records back to the 60’s where they belong. It’s true, there is some controversy surrounding this crop, but the truth is that hemp has the potential to be hugely beneficial to our planet, our economy, and our health. How did we come to believe such inaccurate things about one of the most useful plants in our arsenal?

The word ‘hemp’ had a very different meaning in the ever expanding landscape of medieval Europe. As their exploration efforts broadened, they labeled any fibrous plants they discovered as ‘hemp’, which is why we have so many different types of hemp today: Manila hemp (abacá, Musatextilis), sisal hemp (Agave sisalana), Mauritius hemp (Furcraeagigantea), New Zealand hemp (Phormium tenax), Sunn hemp (Crotalariajuncea), Indian hemp (jute, Corchorus capsularis),Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), bow-string hemp (Sansevieriacylindrica).

A new layer of confusion was added to the word when the word hemp ‘marihuana’ (today, commonly spelled as ‘marijuana’) was coined and then adopted by the American Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930’s to describe all forms of hemp, regardless of their botanical distinctions. Luckily, in 1998 hemp was been legalized for industrial use in Canada, but the damage done to the public awareness and understanding still remains. So, lets talk about some of the myths surrounding hemp!

 

    1. Myth #1: Smoking hemp will get you high.
      Reality: Industrial hemp contains almost no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound in Marijuana responsible for the psychoactive effects. In fact, hemp contains high levels of CBD (Cannabidiol), which counteracts the effects of THC in the body. So, you could say industrial hemp is like the anti-drug to Marijuana.
    2. Myth #2: Marijuana crops can be hidden in hemp fields.
      Reality: Industrial hemp and marijuana require very different environments and care in order to flourish. Hemp is grown outdoors, planted close together and grows tall and skinny. Marijuana is short and bushy, and grows best indoors with more space between plants (4-5 feet). Not only would it be extremely easy to spot Marijuana in a Hemp field, but because Hemp contains such high levels of CBD, cross pollination would have a negative effect on the THC levels in the marijuana plants.
    3. Myth #3: Hemp is not an economically viable crop.
      Reality: The market for industrial hemp is growing like a weed (pun intended) and it’s no surprise! Hemp is easy to grown in our cold Canadian climate, it absorbs more CO2 out of the air per acre than trees, and has over 50,000+ known uses. It can be used to make environmentally friendly fuel, textiles, paper, bioplastic, food, medicine, building materials, animal feed, beauty products, etc.

There is a lot of confusion and mythology surrounding hemp, but the benefits of embracing this crop are almost immeasurable. We believe that with some education and awareness, the solutions offered by industrial hemp products will be in high demand! Head to our website where you can read more about this super crop, check out some cool products, and even sign yourself up to get involved in the fast growing market of industrial hemp!