Hemp is a plant, long known for the many benefits that it offers. Many people have little or no knowledge of how it has affected our very human evolution. As we grow to understand the full benefits of hemp, once again, perhaps we will be more vigilant to research all possibilities. I will start back 40,000 years ago, when hemp was discovered and used.
It is used to make over 25,000 different products, most of which are superior alternatives to less environmentally friendly products. Some of the products made are: clothing, shoes, diapers, rope, canvas, cellophane, paints, fuels, chain lubricants, biodegradable plastics, paper, fiberboard, cement blocks, food, cosmetics, and soap. With the passage and signature into law the 2018 Farm Bill, the industry of growing, transportation and processing of hemp is slowly but steadily progressing within the United States while gaining full government support in other nations. Most recently in the United Kingdom and most of the European Nations. Industrial hemp is frequently confused with marijuana in the United States mainly due to a lack of understanding of the plants.
THC+CBN/CBD < 1 This definition supersedes the 0.3% THC definition, of which has no real scientific origin.
The most commonly seen modern hemp product is clothing. Hemp clothing is warmer, softer, more absorbent, extremely breathable and significantly longer lasting than clothing made from cotton. It is nice to have clothing that looks like linen, feels like flannel, and wears two to three times longer than other fabrics, but this is just the beginning. There are close to 40 countries in the world that have legitimised industrial hemp, including some that have never stopped growing it. These include Canada, The United Kingdom, France, China, Germany and Hungary. In both the Western and Eastern Cape especially, there are efforts being made to get legislation amended in order to create a hemp industry. Sectors that have been identified as focal points for South Africa are: Agri-fibres for car parts (dashboards, door panels etc.) Eco-friendly paper Natural cement, bricks and insulation for housing Animal bedding Nutrition from the essential fatty-acid rich seeds Job creation will be a natural spin-off from the introduction of this new industry. In essence, hemp could help alleviate three of South Africa’s most pressing issues: Housing Malnourishment Job creation
Although industrial hemp is a cousin of the psychotropic dagga (marijuana), it is cultivated in totally different ways: Typically the industrial varieties have less that 1% THC(tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compund found in marijuana), while smoking-grade cannabis has anything from 5 to 25%. Smoking industrial hemp will give you nothing more than a headache. CBD vs THC Marijuana is high in THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, and low in Cannabidiol (CBD) which has been shown to have anti-psychotic effects. Hemp is CBD dominant, and as CBD counteracts the effects of THC, this is another reason why you can’t get high from hemp. It is easy to see just by looking at a field what the intended use of the crop is. If it is being cultivated for seed, there will be more space between plants leading to more flowers, but there will also be male plants in the field order to pollinate the female flowers. This will produce flowers full of high-protein and EFA-rich seeds at harvest time. If it is being grown for fibre, there are over 200 plants per square metre. This forces the plants to compete to for sunlight and grow straight up, often up to 3 or 4 metres high in 4 months. This will produce the desired long, strong fibres in the stalk. If it is being grown for its psychoactive value, the plants are well spaced out and generally kept to a shorter shrub shape, with many flowers. All males would be eradicated from the field to prevent seeds, as THC production slows down once the flowers have been pollinated, and smokers do not want seeds in their cannabis. Conclusion (or is it just the beginning….?) Industrial hemp has a huge amount to offer South Africa. We know the plant will thrive in our climate, and we have the potential to become a world leader in this industry. With the correct implementation and regulations, a hemp industry will help address economic, environmental and social issues. Alone, hemp is not the solution to all the planets ills, but is rather part of a growing trend, towards sustainable responsible living that could ultimately lead to a reverse in global warming and a greener, healthier planet.
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Steven Smith, CEO Owner/Founder