Hemp: Marijuana’s Misunderstood, Non-Psychoactive Half-Sibling

Hemp is a member of the same family as marijuana, so it is frequently mislabeled and misclassified as an illegal plant or drug.

Cannabis sativa, the plant from which cannabis and hemp are derived, contains over one hundred cannabinoids, including the two most commonly discussed compounds, THC and CBD.

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive component responsible for inducing euphoria or a “high,” whereas CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical derived primarily from hemp, a Cannabis sativa plant variety that contains only trace amounts of THC.

These two distinct cannabinoids are essential to comprehend that not all marijuana byproducts are identical. This, in turn, can help dispel misconceptions regarding the differences between recreational marijuana use, which involves high THC levels, and medical marijuana, which contains low THC and high CBD levels.

CBD has been used to treat anxiety, pain, dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, and numerous other conditions, but there is insufficient long-term scientific evidence to support all of these uses.

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In the United States, however, one form of CBD has already been approved as a prescription drug for the treatment of epilepsy.

Hemp Heritage

Hemp was cultivated and processed into rope and paper for thousands of years prior to suffering the fate of being deemed guilty by association.

By the 1700s, farmers in many British colonies, including the United States, where required by law to cultivate hemp for English naval ropes, rigging, hull caulking, and sails.

The widespread application of this plant’s resilient fibre has expanded to include clothing fabric, building materials, and even lamp fuel. Even the United States Constitution of 1776 was written on hemp paper, a subtle nod to its historical significance as one of the world’s most versatile crops.

Hemp vs. Cotton

In addition to its medical applications, hemp makes a compelling case as a lucrative cash crop. The paper and textile industries provide two relevant examples.

Hemp represents an opportunity to reverse deforestation while providing a more sustainable alternative, given that deforestation is an ongoing global concern.

With a harvesting cycle of four to six months, it grows rapidly and produces four times as much paper per hectare as trees that require 20 to 80 years to mature.

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Hemp paper does not require harmful bleaching and can be recycled up to eight times, whereas wood-based paper can only be recycled three times.

Cotton plants are grown on approximately 3% of all cropland but account for an astounding 35% of all insecticides and pesticides utilised.

Hemp, on the other hand, recycles its own fibre, leaves, and hurds (stalks), which can be tilled back into the soil as fertiliser to increase the next crop’s yield. Even though it comes from the soil, it absorbs harmful toxins such as copper, lead, and cadmium.

Per half a hectare, hemp produces about 1,200 kilogrammes of fibre, compared to 540 kilogrammes of cotton fibre. Each kilogramme of cotton requires 9,758 litres of water, whereas each kilogramme of hemp requires only 2,401 litres or about four times less water.

As a finished textile, hemp is breathable, provides UV protection, and is antibacterial. It retains its shape better than cotton, has three times the tensile and elongation strength of cotton, and becomes softer with each wear and wash.

Hemp At Home

In Malaysia, the first meeting of the Cannabis and Ketum Industry Development Committee was scheduled for last Monday (July 25), and the ministry intends to begin the registration of specific CBD products by the beginning of next year.

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In conjunction with the National Pharmaceutical Regulation Agency’s assessment of proposals, the framework for CBD product registration is expected to be available later this year.

With medical marijuana and CBD leading the conversation, hemp may once again be recognised as the miraculous plant it has always been.

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