Hemp, the “Drug” that Never was

You would have to live in a cave to have never heard of hemp before. But even if you did live in a cave, hemp would make a great resource for rope, food, and so much more.

So what’s the big deal about hemp? Hemp is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most useful plant known to mankind. Its utility seems to know no bounds. With a rich and fascinating history, this “miracle” plant seems to only have one negative aspect. It scares people. Now, it doesn’t scare people because it’s some giant man-eating venus flytrap (which sounds like something only Australia would have). Nor is it poisonous, in fact, it’s healthy. So it must be bad for the environment, right? Actually, it’s great for the environment and holds the potential to clean soil and air of pollutants.

Why does hemp scare people? Well, there’s a few reasons. Some people are uninformed or misinformed. They believe that hemp (which is the shortened name for Industrial hemp) is the same as the psychoactive medicinal drugs found in marijuana. The important difference is that hemp is a strain of cannabis that does not produce levels of THC or CBD that could alter a person’s mental or physical function. So while it’s from the same family, it does not hold the same properties. Though evidence is showing that cannabis, both as a medicinal drug and as utilitarian hemp products have vast benefits. Again, people are misinformed, and by no mistake. Over 100 years ago there was a very successful smear campaign run against cannabis in order to protect capitalist interests. So it seems that people are afraid of hemp (and cannabis in general) solely due to an effective propaganda stunt dating back to over a century ago. That stigma has only been propagated since then, under the guise of the “war on drugs.” Though this issue goes much deeper and underlying issues seem to be deeply rooted in a variety of current political policies as well as corporate defence issues, which are undoubtedly intertwined.

What are the potential uses of hemp? A better question would be… Is there anything hemp can’t do? Maybe it can’t walk the dog, but it can be fashioned into a leash. It’s been known for centuries, nay, millennia for its seemingly limitless utility; while boasting the ability to grow in adverse conditions with very little water. It produces seeds and oil which are considered by many to be superfoods and medicinal in nature. It produces fiber that can be used to make clothing, rope, and paper just to name a few. In fact, cannabis gets its name from the word canvas, since hemp fibers were once woven into sailing canvases (maybe canvi?). More recently it can (and has been) used to make building materials, plastics, and even fuel! This is really just scratching the surface, but the best thing about hemp products and its massive potential is how eco-friendly it is. If hemp is legalized and utilized correctly, it has the potential to reverse climate change, clean the environment, and increase standards of living across the world.

To quote Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the U.S. constitution on gemp paper: “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of this country”.

So, this negative perception about cannabis is a byproduct from effective media manipulation over a century ago. Regardless of how marijuana as an “illicit drug” is perceived, it should not be conflated with the industrial uses of hemp. In other words, hemp has been legally hampered in many nations under the false blanket statement that it is a “drug”.

Contributing Writer: Brian DynBardd