Hemp Could Free Us From Oil, Prevent Deforestation, Cure Cancer and It’s Environmentally Friendly – So Why Is It Illegal?
Activism Articles Environment Featured Health — 17 May 2013
Hemp is a tall, beautiful and gracious looking annual plant that can reach heights over twelve feet. Although hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa var. indica)
come from a similar species of plant, they are very different and
confusion has been caused by deliberate misinformation with far reaching
effects on socioeconomics as well as on environmental matters. The
reason hemp is illegal is not because of any negative impact to the
environment or human health, but exactly the opposite. It is so
environmentally friendly, nutritionally and medicinally beneficial, that
it provides too many abundant resources which would make it impossible
for powerful corporations to compete.
Hemp is the most universally useful plant we have at our disposal.
The history of mankind’s use of hemp can be traced way back in time to
between about 5000 – 7000 BC. Remains of seed husks have been found at
Neolithic burial sites in central Europe, which indicate that they were
used in funeral rites and shamanic ceremonies. It is probable that at
that time the distinctions between various strains were not as
pronounced as they are today.
Up until and even during WWII, hemp was a widely grown crop, which
provided the world with an excellent and most durable source of fibre.
Since it is an annual with a growing cycle of only 120 days it can be
harvested several times a year, depending on local weather conditions.
Its biomass is considerable, which means that it absorbs large
quantities of the greenhouse gas CO2. It is resistant to bugs and
requires little agrochemical treatment. It is extremely undemanding and
can be grown in very poor conditions and depleted soils and will
actually improve the soil structure over a period of years. For many
centuries hemp was one of the most important industrial crops which
provided the fibres for rope and tough, durable canvass without which
the age of exploration could never have set sail.
In the US too, there have long been numerous rules and regulation in
place regarding the cultivation of hemp. But unlike today’s regulations
that strongly prohibit any cultivation of hemp, less than a century ago
hemp cultivation was not just encouraged, but mandatory, with hefty
fines being levied against farmers who refused. ‘Hemp for Victory’ was
the government coined slogan that fuelled the last big bout of legal
hemp cultivation during WWII, promoting hemp cultivation as a patriotic
Delierate Misinformation About THC
Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa that has a long history
of use in the United States. However, since the 1950s it has been
lumped into the same category of marijuana, and thus the extremely
versatile crop was doomed in the United States. Hemp is technically from
the same species of plant that psychoactive marijuana comes from.
However, it is from a different variety, or subspecies that contains
many important differences.
Industrial hemp has very low Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
levels, which is the principal psychoactive constituent. Compared to
marijuana which is specifically cultivated for personal psychoactive
use, it is nearly impossible to “get high” on hemp. Marijuana that can
be smoked usually contains between 5-10%t THC, industrial hemp contains
about one-tenth of that. In order to get a psychoactive effect, one
would need to smoke more than a dozen hemp cigarettes over a very short
period of time to achieve any kind of psychoactive effect. The reason
for the low THC content in hemp is that most THC is formed in resin
glands on the buds and flowers of the female cannabis plant. Industrial
hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, and therefore lacks the primary
component that forms the marijuana high. Furthermore, industrial hemp
has higher concentrations of a chemical called Cannabidiol (CBD) that
has a negative effect on THC and lessens its psychoactive effects when
smoked in conjunction.
Industrial hemp also grows differently than THC-containing cannabis.
Hemp is typically grown up, not out, because the focus is not on
producing buds but on producing length of stalk. In this way, hemp is a
very similar crop to bamboo. The stalk contains the fiber and hard,
woody core material that can be used for a variety of purposes, even
The two also differ in the areas that they can be effectively grown.
THC-producing Marijuana must be grown in generally warm and humid
environments in order to produce the desired quantity and quality of
THC-containing buds. However, since industrial hemp does not contain
these buds, and the hardy parts of the plant are the more desired, it
can be grown in a wider range of areas. Generally, industrial hemp grows
best on fields that provide high yields for corn crops, which includes
most of the Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast United States.
Furthermore, since industrial hemp can use male plants as well as female
plants (since the object is not THC production), higher crop yields can
While there is virtually no THC in the varieties grown for industrial
uses such as oil and fibre, governments have cooperated with powerful
corporate lobbyists the ensure that hemp is lumped into the same
category as marijuana. The primary reason is that hemp has too many
abundant resources for fuel, housing, food, medicine that corporations
cannot exploit. Think about how many polluting conglomerates would go
down if hemp was permitted as a resource. The oil, pharmaceutical,
supplement and constructions industry would need to radically shift
their business model to survive.
Hemp provides the fibre to make a durable paper – a far more sensible
solution than the wasteful method of clear cutting old growth forests,
or even the cultivation pine plantations that are ecologically speaking
dead zones that take 20 years to mature before they can be harvested.
Cannabis produces 4 times more fibre per acre and can be harvested
several times per year. The first dollar bills were printed on hemp
paper, your old family bible is probably printed on hemp paper and even
the constitution itself was drafted on hemp paper.
Hemp has the strongest natural fibres, which can be used not just to
produce rough cloth, such as sails or canvass, but also durable work
clothes, like the original jeans. When the plants are grown closer
together the fibre becomes shorter and finer, which allows for finer
textiles. Today, there are some fashion designers that are experimenting
with a wide range of textiles made from hemp for their stylish, trendy
hemp lines, shirts, suits, bags, jeans and more. And, no- you can’t
smoke them to get high!
Hemp fibres are also finding application as a modern building
material, an application that has been spearheaded and exploited
successfully in France. Hemp fibres can be blended with water and
limestone to create an extremely tough, light-weight, natural cement
that has not only excellent insulating properties, but also shows more
flexibility than conventional concrete, which makes it particularly
useful as a building material in earthquake prone areas.
Back in 1941, Henry Ford built a car that was not only entirely built
from ‘hemp plastic’, but also ran on hemp fuel. Hemp oil, pressed from
the seeds is also extremely versatile. It can be polymerized to create a
solid plastic-like material, which is extremely durable, yet
nevertheless is completely natural and biodegradable, which could
replace plastics in numerous industrial processes.
Car manufacturers are again turning to hemp as a resource to provide
light-weight, yet shock absorbent and environmentally friendly material
for their cars. Due to the high biomass hemp would also make an ideal
source of ethanol, the best bio-fuel alternative to gasoline, which is
capable of fuelling engines without producing all those evil gases that
are destroying our atmosphere and poisoning the air. At long last, some
of the top car manufacturers are beginning to follow in Ford’s steps.
Some Facts on Hemp
- Farming 6% of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America’s energy needs.
- Hemp is Earth’s number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months.
- Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol, or gasoline at a cost
comparable to petroleum, and hemp is much better for the environment.
Pyrolysis (charcoalizing), or biochemical composting are two methods of
turning hemp into fuel.
- Hemp can produce 10 times more methanol than corn.
- Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution.
- The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global warming.
Hemp oil is of a very high quality and industry is using it in
paints, inks and varnishes. In recent years the food industry is also
discovering its virtues. Hempseed oil is one of the richest sources of
essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, providing an excellent
balance between omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. All of these substances
are currently being discussed, not only in the alternative health scene,
but also by the food industry, which is searching for suitable
ingredients to create so called ‘functional foods’. Essential fatty
acids are extremely important to the proper functioning of cells. They
play a role in reducing bad cholesterol and plaque, which is responsible
for arteriosclerosis. Healthfood companies are beginning to experiment
with hemp as a basis for a large range of products- from hemp seed bars,
to gummi bears, to beer, to hemp cheese and many more.
Studies have been released that show people suffering from cancer
have low levels of melatonin in their bodies. Also studies have shown
that just smoking hemp can raise the melatonin levels in our bodies. So
one can only imagine what hemp oil that is in a concentrated state can
do to increase melatonin levels. Hemp oil promotes full body healing and
raises melatonin levels thousands of times higher than normal. When the
pineal gland produces vast amounts of melatonin, it causes no harm to
the body but it is very hard on the condition you are suffering from and
indeed can eliminate it. For almost a decade, Rick Simpson has been showing people how to cure cancer with hemp oil.
Both the commercial legal type of hemp oil and the illegal THC laden
hemp oil are one of the most power-packed protein sources available in
the plant kingdom. Its oil can be used in many nutritional and
transdermal applications. In other chapters in my Winning the War on
Cancer book we will discuss in-depth about GLA and cancer and also the
interesting work of Dr. Johanna Budwig. She uses flax seed oil instead
of hemp oil to cure cancer — through effecting changes in cell walls —
using these omega3 and omega6 laden medicinal oils.
Hemp Oil Uses
Every application that uses petroleum for it’s skin and hair products
can use hemp oil as it is more beneficial and herbal. It can be used in
many health issues as either a pain reducer or even as the cure for it.
- Since hemp oil is natural, it is used as a moisturizing oil which
can be applied after a shower or a bath. When you massage your body with
it, it nourishes the skin and increases the blood circulation. More on
facial skin care.
- Hemp oil is used in cooking as well, though it is not suitable for
high heat cooking. Along with giving a slightly nutty and crispy taste
to food, it can be the perfect salad oil just in case you’re out of
- Another application of hemp oil is it’s use as biodiesel in the same
manner like other vegetable oils. It is a safe replacement for petroleum
as it is non-toxic and doesn’t harm the environment.
- Almost all the forms of plastics can be made by using hemp oil instead
of using petroleum as a base. As those made from petroleum, release
harmful chemicals while decomposition, but those from hemp oil, don’t.
- Hemp oil can also be used in the production of paints as it doesn’t
cause any armful releases when washed down from the drain and has very
low emissions than the petroleum paints which are currently being used.
- Hemp oil prevents skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry
skin. It is highly nutritious for the skin and makes a wonderful
addition to homemade moisturizing blends and rejuvenating creams. (Read
Andrew Weil’s article on hemp oilhttp://www.ratical.org/renewables/TherapHoil.html)
The list of beneficial uses of hemp goes on and on.
So why is non-psychoactive Hemp illegal?
There is an old saying: if you want to get to the root of a problem,
follow the money. This holds true for hemp. In this case we have to ask
the question ‘who benefits from hemp being illegal?’ The logical answer
is: the oil companies- and their share holders, of course. Hemp became
illegalized at the time when oil was beginning to make an impact on the
economy as a base material for many things that hemp could also be used
for, including textiles and fibres (plastics), cosmetics and fuel.
Obviously, a resource is more profitable if access to it is restricted
and not every farmer can grow it himself. In an exceedingly clever PR
move psychoactive marijuana and hemp have been ‘thrown in the same pot’
as it were, and a massive campaign has been launched to convince people
of the dangers of marijuana alias hemp – a highly questionable
Although technically hemp is not illegal to grow in some states, it
requires obtaining a special permit from the drug enforcement agency
(DEA) to restrict mass production. These permits are rarely given out
and require that the crop be surrounded by security measures such as
fences, razor wire, security guards, or dogs. For a crop that has
little-to-no potential to get people high, the current attitude is both
irresponsible and draconian.
Hemp is the most useful plant ally we have – a sustainable resource
par excellence, as some might like to call it. Instead of cursing it we
should be grateful to its deva and use all its ample gifts to turn the
ecological demise of our planet around.
It is not hard to see how immensely valuable hemp is and how it has
the potential of solving many of our environmental problems, not to
mention our health problems. Yet, we are continuously deprived of its
benefits because farmers are prohibited from cultivating this crop.
Obviously importing it or products made from it is very expensive and
the high expense is a prohibitive factor to choosing hemp as an
environmentally friendly alternative even where it is available. It
makes no sense to import a crop like hemp, when it can be, should be and
used to be grown in all temperate and hot regions of the world.
Industrial hemp could transform the economy of the world States in a
positive and beneficial way, and therefore should be exploited to its
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer
advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and
Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as
disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.
Thanks to: http://truththeory.com