Hemp 101

Hemp is not a recreational drug. Although it is the same class (cannabaceae ) and species (cannabis sativa) of plant as marijuana, there are differences. Figure 1 shows the basic shape differences of each plant. Hemp looks like a tall grass (Figure 2), whereas marijuana resembles a flowering bush (Figure 3). More importantly, the legal dissimilarity between hemp and marijuana is characterized by the amount of the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that each plant contains. 1 For example, in marijuana, the average THC content ranges from 13 to 18 percent. 2 Conversely, the proposed Hemp Farming Act of 2018 defines hemp as a Cannabis Sativa plant with less than 0.3% THC. 3 The proposed law would remove hemp from Schedule I controlled substances, making it an ordinary agricultural commodity. 4

Difference hemp and weed

Figure 1

Hemp Benefits

Figure 2: Hemp Plantation (Industrial)

Hemp Benefits

Figure 3: Marijuana Plantation

Some varieties of hemp plants produce significant amounts of Cannabidiol (CBD), the second significant cannabinoid found in the resin of the cannabis plant. 5 Although marijuana is grown primarily for its flowers (Figure 4), hemp is used for its seed, inner stalk (hurd), and foliage. The plant is grown in tight clusters so that it grows tall and tapered, with very little chance to spread its leaves and to flower.

Industrial hemp does not necessarily imply high CBD levels. Despite the fact that there are special varieties of hemp that produce substantial levels of CBD, this does not imply that all industrial hemp provides sufficient amounts CBD for medicinal use. 6


Figure 4: Marijuana Flower

Industrial hemp is often touted as a “miracle plant” due its many potential uses (Figure 5).

Hemp Benefits

Figure 5: Hemp's Uses and Benefits

An Internet search of the term “hemp” will yield thousands of results, from America’s founding fathers growing hemp for utilitarian purposes to Henry Ford making a plastic-hemp composite car (Figure 6). 7

Ford Hemp Car

Figure 6: Henry Ford's Plastic-Hemp Composite Car.

Although industrial hem is not a panacea for the world’s social, economic, and environmental issues (no single plant can achieve that goal), industrial hemp can help lead the way to a future that embraces more sustainable agriculture practices. 8

For example,

  • Every part of the hemp plant can be used, fiber, hurd, leaves, seed.
  • Hemp uses less water than cotton.
  • Hemp requires little to no pesticides or herbicides.
  • Hemp extracts more than one ton of carbon per acre.
  • Hemp takes only 100 days to reach harvest.
  • Hemp-based products are biodegradable and sustainable.

Figure 7 illustrates the many uses that industrial hemp has for the modern world.

Modern Uses of Hemp

Figure 7: Modern Uses for Industrial Hemp

Please follow Earth 2.0 and Dr.Hemp on social media to learn more about how industrial hemp can be used to improve the world. In addition, please read Why the world needs hemp.

1. THC is one of many cannabinoids found in the resin that is secreted by the glands of cannabis plants that produces the high that many people experience.

2. Grundig, Tyana and Common, David. 'What's in your pot? Marketplace tests today's weed.' CBC.ca., (accessed Nov. 25, 2016).

3. H.R. 5485, U.S. Congress official website.

4. Ibid.

5. A cannabinoid is one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. There are more than 85 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.

6. Side effects of CBD include sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, malaise, weakness, sleeping problems, and others. It does not have intoxicating effects like those caused by THC. In fact, it may have a contradictory influence on the effects produced by THC, e.g., chaotic thinking and anxiety (Pisanti, S, Malfitano, AM, Ciaglia, E, Lamberti, A, Ranieri, R, Cuomo, G, Ababte, M, Faggianna, G, Proto, MC, Fiore, D, Laezza, C, Bifulco, M. “Cannabidiol: State of the art and new challenges for therapeutic applications.” Pharmacology and Therapeutics 175 (2017):133-150).

7 . Popular Mechanics, Dec. 1941, "Pinch Hitters for Defense.

8. Yonavjak, Logan. “Industrial Hemp: A Win-Win for The Economy and The Environment” Forbes, accessed May 23, 2018.

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