Now that it is federally legal to cultivate hemp in states that had enacted pro-hemp legislation prior to the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, it is important to understand how both science and the government view hemp and marijuana differently.
The general public has long confused marijuana and hemp, mostly because the government approached the two in the same negative vein. But with the emerging popularity of both hemp and marijuana products, it’s time we set the record straight.
1. Hemp and Medical or Recreational Marijuana Are the Same
The fact is, hemp and marijuana do come from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L, but they are very different products. Marijuana is cultivated to contain high levels of THC—the stuff that gets you high. Hemp, on the other hand, is cultivated to contain little to no THC. Marijuana plants that are grown to produce the flowers that we purchase in dispensaries contain on average 12% THC, while hemp contains less than 1%. Currently, the U.S. Government considers the cannabis plant to be “industrial hemp” if it contains less than .3% THC. Industrial hemp is what we refer to when discussing legal hemp cultivation in the U.S.
2. Transporting Hemp in the U.S. is legal
Currently, it is illegal for hemp to be transported across state lines. However, products that contain hemp in their finished form are perfectly legal to transport. Hemp is used to make a number of cosmetics as well as popular CBD products, and these products are probably available in your state right now. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion Omnibus Bill that has some pro-hemp language tucked away in its pages. If approved, hemp (in its raw form) will be legally allowed to cross state lines.
3. Researching Hemp is a Waste of Time
Look, we cannot just rely on the antiquated understanding of the hemp plant. Relying on old-school doctrines is what got us into the legal situation with cannabis and the government that we are fighting today. Hemp research has given us life-changing products like those that contain CBD. There is evidence that hemp can be used efficiently as a fuel, possibly loosening our dependence on fossil fuels. Without research we wouldn’t know these things—imagine what the future holds.
4. Hemp Can Save the World
This is a bold statement, and must be considered false. However, hemp has long been used as a source of food, clothing, shelter, fuel, and medicine. The hemp plant is capable of fulfilling many of our basic needs; we just need to embrace it as our ancestors did thousands of years ago.
5. Hemp Plants Ruin Marijuana Plants
It is true that feral hemp plants (wild hemp) pose a threat to outdoor marijuana crops. The hemp plants can potentially pollenate marijuana plants and contaminate the integrity of their unique qualities. But if marijuana crops are grown indoors or within controlled outdoor environments, there is little chance of cross-pollination. For the most part, both hemp and marijuana are grown deliberately and their cultivators know what they are doing—hemp ain’t gonna mess with that!
6. You Can Hide Marijuana Plants in Hemp Crops
First of all, hemp plants grow much taller than marijuana plants. If you are looking from above, you would probably notice sections of a hemp field that look different—if marijuana is being hidden within. More importantly, nobody in their right mind would hide marijuana plants amongst hemp plants for one simple reason—cross-pollination. The hemp plant would seriously reduce the quantity and quality of THC in your marijuana flowers.
7. Hemp is Only Grown for Textiles
Hemp has been cultivated for nearly 10,000 years. Many consider it the first agricultural crop. Ancient civilizations certainly used the plant to make clothing, rope, and even boat sails, but they found many other uses for the plant. Today, just like thousands of years ago, the hemp plant is used for its protein-rich seeds. It is also used for fuels, plastics, and cosmetics. The uses and applications of the hemp plant are endless.
8. Consuming Hemp Will Cause a Positive Drug Test
If you are consuming products that are legally approved by the U.S. government as containing less than .3% THC, you will not fail a drug test. Of course, if you go out of your way to consume an all hemp diet, there is a chance that you will fail a drug test for THC. But the same applies to poppy seed bagels—eat too many and the doc might think you are using heroine.
9. Hemp Can Get You High
Same logic here as above. Hemp contains so little THC that your body will metabolize any evident THC before it has the chance to manifest in your bloodstream. The amount of industrial hemp that you would have to consume to get high would just be too much. It would be along the same lines as trying to achieve a water overdose—possible but just as likely as winning the lottery.
10. The Hemp Plant is Male and the Marijuana Plant is Female
Remember, hemp and marijuana are products of the same species of plant. It is specific breeding that has resulted in modern hemp plants and marijuana plants. Hemp can be male or female, just like marijuana. Hemp, however, is generally not allowed to mature– it is cut down much earlier than marijuana that is allowed to grow to full flowering maturity.
What other common misconceptions of hemp do you often hear? Let us know on social media or in the comments section below.