Myths About Hemp That Are Completely Wrong
May 16, 2019
Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has come to fruition, the newly-updated Hemp Farming Act is now finally passed. This Act has made it legal to grow industrial hemp throughout the United States, meaning that it no longer needs to be imported. This is great news for many industries, including that of domestic cannabidiol (CBD) products.
Hemp has been illegal for many decades, ever since cannabis in its entirety was stigmatized and subsequently deemed a Schedule 1 drug. Sadly, this misclassification has led to a number of misconceptions about hemp. The fact that hemp’s ban went on for so long has caused a number of myths to develop, and people still remain quite confused about hemp.
Today, we are here to bust 5 of the most pertinent hemp myths, explaining just why you don’t need to fear the legalization of this plant.
Myth 1: Hemp Can Get You High
Since hemp has been lumped together with cannabis for all these years, many people mistakenly believe that hemp and marijuana can both get you high. After all, both of these plants belong to the Cannabis Sativa plant family, and as a result, it’s easy to assume that they both have the same properties.
In reality, hemp is completely non-intoxicating. While both plants contain active compounds called cannabinoids, each one contains different levels of different chemicals. Marijuana contains more THC, the cannabinoid which causes a high in users. Some rarer strains of marijuana can contain up to 30% THC! Hemp, on the other hand, usually contains a maximum of 0.3% THC – a substantial difference. More often, industrial hemp contains 0.05% THC, meaning that it is impossible to get high using hemp. While eating hemp could lead to ingesting THC, your body processes it faster than it can be absorbed, making a high impossible. Furthermore, these amounts likely wouldn’t be detected in a drug test, meaning you probably won't get in trouble at work for using hemp products.
Myth 2: People Can Hide Marijuana in Hemp Fields
With hemp and marijuana both being cannabis plants, you would think that they look the same. As a result, farmers could hide marijuana plants among their hemp crop, and the authorities would be none the wiser! People who believe this myth may think that hemp legalization is a mistake, as it could lead to increased levels of illegal drug usage.
Hemp and marijuana look similar, but not identical. While marijuana is shorter, bushier, and has broader leaves, hemp is a tall and skinny plant with narrow leaves concentrated near the top. A trained eye would easily be able to spot the difference! Marijuana also needs a very carefully controlled growing environment, whereas hemp can be left to its own devices; marijuana is best off grown indoors, while hemp is not!
Another crucial thing to note is that growing marijuana amongst hemp is pretty much pointless. The pollen from industrial hemp can contaminate marijuana plants, reducing the THC quantity and ruining the marijuana. People aiming to cultivate a recreational drug would be disappointed by the turn-out of marijuana grown in a hemp field.
Myth 3: Hemp Will Solve All the World's Problems
It’s true that hemp is a very versatile plant. It can be used in a range of things, from textiles and construction to nutrition and agriculture. Since hemp can be farmed to create sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives for everyday items like cotton and plastics, it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that hemp is a lifesaver. Many people assume that growing acres upon acres of hemp fields could provide materials for paper, bioplastics, sustainable textiles, and more. But this belief is slightly erroneous, as hemp does have a few problems…
Being enthusiastic about hemp is a good thing! It can do a lot for us, and growing more of the plant may help us solve some key issues in the future. However, it’s probably not going to be planet Earth’s savior. Remember that growing hemp in place of other crops will still lead to deforestation and areas being cut down for the purposes of cultivation. Growing hemp instead of cotton (for example) in some areas would be a huge step forward, but it’s just not plausible to replace all of our current practices with hemp-based alternatives.
Myth 4: Hemp is the Male Cannabis Plant
Some people incorrectly believe that hemp is the male cannabis plant, whereas marijuana is the female plant. In reality, this isn’t true.
Hemp plants can be either male or female (or both in some species). Marijuana plants can also be male or female. In hemp, the male plants die off quickly after they have completed pollination, leaving the female plants to live on. The female plant is grown to maturity and used for a variety of purposes.
Myth 5: Industrial Hemp is Only Good for Textiles
Hemp fiber has been used by humans for centuries to create clothing and things like rope. Many people are still aware of hemp items like this, even though it is not as widely used as it once was. Because of this usage, many people assume that hemp is only used in the textiles industry, but this isn’t actually true!
There’s a reason why so many people believe hemp could solve all our problems. It is an incredible plant that has a huge number of different uses. The high cellulose content can be used in the creation of bioplastics, while the fibers can be used to make fabrics and even paper.
Hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning it can suck up toxins from the soil. In this way, it can be used to clean up pollution and help the planet. Furthermore, planting it near other crops can protect valuable crops from insects and pests, because hemp is a natural repellent.
Lastly, it can be used for nutritionally. The seeds are packed full of minerals and nutrients, including essential Omega fatty acids. The flowers, meanwhile, contain plenty of cannabinoids other than THC, providing a natural supplement without the high.
Facts vs. Myths About Hemp: Final Thoughts
If hemp is such a good plant, then why are there so many evil misconceptions about it? Well, it’s all to do with the classification of cannabis as illegal. It’s unfortunate that hemp got categorized in the same way as marijuana, but that’s just the way things happened.
Luckily, it’s not too late. With the Hemp Farming Act now in place, it’s easier than ever to spread the word and bust these hemp myths. Hemp is making a comeback in a big way, and it’s exciting to see where the future takes us!