Since, growing hemp has been illegal for almost a full century, researchers have been unable to learn all of the benefits associated with it. In 1916, Jason Merrill and Lyster Dewey, the chief scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture created paper made from the inner portion of the hemp stem.
The scientists said that the paper was more favorable than that from pulp wood. Due to the misconception that hemp could get you high because it contains THC, their findings were never confirmed
Hemp does not get you high
Currently, 23 states have an active hemp industry or have authorized hemp research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the cannabis plant, but it is not the same substance as marijuana. Although, hemp is commonly associated with marijuana, it should not be.
Industrial hemp and marijuana are two completely different plants, inside and out. Hemp contains a very small amount (less than 1%) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana (the chemical that gets a user high). Legal marijuana has a much larger amount of THC (between 15%-30%).
Benefits of industrial hemp
The benefits associated with hemp are endless. A number of products, which are used by people every day can be created from hemp. These products include, but are not limited to the following:
- Paper products: Hemp can be used to make paper and it only takes a couple of months to grow. Hemp is environmentally friendly. It is naturally acid free and can be recycled up to 7 times (normal paper can be recycled up to 3 times). During the process of converting hemp into paper, millions of pounds of toxic pollution are not released into the air.
- Clothing: Hemp can be used to make clothing. One acre of hemp produces as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton.
- Building materials: Hemp can be turned into a variety of building materials (i.e. fiber board, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulations, and plastic). You can build a wall out of hemp that is rot free, pest free, mold free, fire resistant, and will last 500 years. You can also make biodegradable plastic out of hemp.
- Gasoline/Fuel: Hemp can be turned into fuel that can be used in your car today. This is done by pressing the hempseed and turning its oil into a biodiesel that is not only completely biodegradable, but also smells better and is cleaner for the air. You do not need to alter your vehicle to use it. Hemp, however, is not the best alternative for fuel because it takes a lot of hemp to make one gallon of gas.
- Nutrition: Hemp can be used as a supplement for nutrition. Hemp is high in protein, contains essential omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, potassium, and dietary fiber.
A $50 billion industry by 2026
The best part about growing hemp is the conditions which it can grow under. If you look at pictures of New York from the mid-1900s, hemp was growing everywhere. Hemp has multiple growing seasons and it can be grown in some of the toughest environments. Researches have estimated that the Florida hemp industry could be a $460 million dollar industry per year.
Technical420’s comprehensive industry report projects the industrial hemp industry to be a $50 billion industry by 2026 and $100 billion by 2030.
Change is coming
Currently, 13 states allow for the commercial production of hemp. More states are looking at the monetary benefits associated with hemp and are less concerned about its association with marijuana. This year, 56 bills dealing with hemp have been filed in 28 states.
Congress is also considering hemp legislation. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would remove hemp entirely from the list of drugs regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, effectively legalizing it at the federal level.