For many decades, industrial hemp which is closely related to marijuana but different in chemical composition, was legally classified under one category with marijuana. Therefore, legally, hemp was not an ordinary agricultural commodity.
The two plants were generalized and classified under the controlled substances products in the USA law. However, since December 2018, things have changed for the better with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill by the USA President Donald Trump. But really what does the legalizing of industrial hemp mean to an ordinary person?
Hemp vs Marijuana
The hemp vs marijuana confusion is not really justified when examined closely. There is quite some difference between the two plants. Although both plants closely resemble each other physically, but they are different when observed with a keen eye or when their chemical compositions are tested and compared in the laboratory.
The two plants are genetically different. The main difference between the two plants is that marijuana and hemp have different percentage levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive chemical.
Industrial hemp is legally supposed to have less than 0.3%THC, although the levels are usually less than one percent. On the other hand, marijuana plants are different in their range of THC levels but on average they have between 3%-20%, with some plants having over 30% THC levels. The good thing is that hemp is now legally recognized as an ordinary agricultural plant in some states in the USA and in some countries in the world.
Industrial hemp is a versatile plant. There is a potential to use each part of the hemp plant for various purposes. Actually, over 100 products can be made from the hemp plant. But generally, the hemp plant can be used as a drug, as a type of food, as a hair, skin and beauty product and as a raw material.
In fact, in the year 2018 June, the USA Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex as a drug in the management of two types of epilepsy conditions in children over the age of two years. Epidiolex contains CBD.
As a source of food, Hemp seeds can be consumed in their natural form. Above that, various food products can be made for consumption including baked goodies like cakes and bread, hemp smoothies, hemp milk, hemp flour, hemp tea, hemp juice to name but a few.
There are various body products in the market with hemp including shampoos, hemp lip balm, hemp sunscreen lotions and massage hemp oil. As a raw material, you can use the raw fiber of hemp to make a bio plastic, clothing material, rope material, jewelry, house construction material, hemp paper, among other uses. Additionally we also have hemp bio-diesel.
Hemp seed is a type of nut that has been proven scientifically to be rich in proteins, healthy fats and various minerals. Hemp seeds are made of over 30% fats and 25% plant protein. Hemp seed oil is a rich source of two essential fatty acids namely, omega-6 linoleic acid and omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid which our bodies don’t produce. Hemp seed oil is also a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), omega-6 fatty acid and stearidonic acid (SDA) omega-3 fatty acid which the human body is able to produce. Actually, there are very few sources of SDA and GLA in plant and animal food sources worldwide. In addition, it is a Vitamin A & E source and it enhances nails and hair growth.
There are over 80 compounds in hemp, with CBD being one of the compounds. The 2014 Hemp Industrial Farming Act saw the legalizing of CBD in all USA states but with certain restrictions. CBD have anti-oxidant properties and are effective in treating various human ailments like epilepsy mentioned above.
There are also unlimited uses of hemp in pets care. CBD oil can be used in managing various dog conditions including anxiety, phobias and appetite. You can also make hemp dog toys and hemp collars.