An introduction to hemp
September 17th, 2013
Categories : Blog
Hemp is a commonly used term for a type of cannabis sativa and its by-products. It is an extremely versatile resource that can be harnessed by man to produce such things as food, rope, cloth, paper and fuel. It is the most useful plant known to humanity. Due to cannabis being outlawed in many countries, any commercial outfit that produces hemp does so with strains that produce little to no THC – commercially used hemp is not marijuana.
Many people believe that it is due to hemp's versatility that cannabis has been largely outlawed. It is cheap and easy to grow - so easy pretty much anyone can do it. It could be speculated that many large companies and corporations would see this as a huge disadvantage. If people could grow a plant that could easily be used for clothing, medicine, food and fuel (just to name a few things), then no one would need to buy their products. The theory is that this caused a lot of lobbying and smear campaigns funded by large corporations to demonize cannabis, which ultimately resulted in it being outlawed.
This is a very recent development in the history of cannabis. Outright prohibition of cannabis did not start in the US until the 1920's – less than 100 years ago! It almost boggles the mind when you consider that cannabis has been used by human civilizations for thousands of years as a mainstream, widely grown, versatile crop used in all aspects of life, from clothing to medicine - even construction! Did you know that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, two very prominent figures in American history used to grow cannabis for its myriad of uses? It is a fact that people often try to shun and sweep under the carpet. In fact, during the 16 and 1700's it was seen as very deviant not to grow cannabis, with any farmer who did not do so often being punished!
Although hemp has taken a sideline in today's society, it is still grown for commercial use. In most countries a license is needed in order to do so. For example, in the UK a license has to be issued by the Home Office itself under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for anyone to be able to farm it. Even though there are a lot of restrictions placed on it, hemp is used in the production of over 25,000 consumer products. Imagine how many uses and products could be made from it if it was more widely accepted as a usable crop.
Hemp's history has not only involved practical use. It has been used historically in many cultures as a spiritual tool. Many shamanistic rituals have traditionally involved the use of hemp oil, and it is referred to many times in the histories of countries all over the world for it ritualistic use. There is even evidence that has caused theologists to believe and debate that Jesus used cannabis and its by-products in his healing.
No matter how you look at it, hemp has a deep and rich history that is ingrained in human civilization. There can be no denying its uses and versatility - as hard as some groups would try. It may be sitting on the sidelines right now, but hemp's influence is slowly growing again as the world looks for viable alternative resources, and science and freedom of information slowly picks away at the wall of demonization that has been erected around this proud and widely chronicled product.