You get a lot of different opinions about Hemp in a small town. I thought when we decided to grow it, no one would really notice or care; I was wrong. It generated quite a bit of conversation; some positive, some negative. We had a lot of unexpected enthusiasm from unlikely acquaintances; We also had our fair share of negative comments and people who were convinced that hemp was marijuana. We found a lack of understanding and education about what hemp is and isn’t, so want to share a small portion of what we have learned about the history, cultivation and uses of the hemp plant.
When was hemp first used?
Archaeologists found a remnant of hemp cloth in ancient Mesopotamia which dates back to 8,000 BC. The oldest documents written on paper are Buddhist text from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber. Hemp was grown by the founding fathers and the early drafts of the constitution were written on hemp canvas. Hemp fiber was used to make cloth for ship sales and hemp rope was used to tie the ships at dock because it was stronger than cotton and resistant to water. Up until the 1920’s Hemp textiles were used in nearly 80% of clothing.
According the the US department of Agriculture, in 1916 the US Government predicted that by 1940’s all paper would come from hemp; However, Hemp production was banned throughout the United States in 1937, with the passing of the Marihuana Tax Act.
The 2018 Farm Bill.
In December of 2018, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. It removed hemp, and derivatives of hemp, from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Legalizing the production of hemp in the USA. (To note, before 2018 it was legal in import hemp and use hemp in all sorts of products, but it was only legal to import it from other countries, not grow it ourselves.) The 2018 Farm bill allowed industrial hemp to once again be grown in the USA.
According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, as published in its Industrial Hemp FAQ’s, “CBD” or Cannabidiol, is a chemical compound that can be extracted from an industrial hemp plant (primarily from the floral material). “CBD” compounds are not narcotic… and are different from the “THC” that is found in marijuana” Hemp has been used as medicine throughout the world for centuries and has proven to be very helpful regarding pain and inflammation. Also, As Hemp grows, it breathes in carbon dioxide.
Our unexpected enthusiasm came from mostly older, very conservative friends who found significant relief from arthritic pain and body aches with hemp derived CBD. They were eager to share their experiences of finding pain relief from a source that did not cause stomach problems like ibuprofen often can, and relieved not to have to use prescription pain killers. They are intrigued by the possibility of hemp being grown locally, by someone they know, and from a farm that they trust to not use chemicals or pesticides.
In Mayo Clinic’s Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils,it states that “patients report relief for a variety of conditions, particularly pain, without the adverse effects of medical marijuana or the risk of addiction to opioids.” Many people in our small town have stopped by to let me know that they felt much safer controlling their symptoms with CBD rather than resorting to prescription medications such as opioids. One older gentleman mentioned that his wife’s doctor had recommended that they try CBD to help his wife with pain, but he was hesitant because of the stigma, and not understanding the good qualities of hemp, decided against it. As he reflected on the memory, he was regretful that they hadn’t tried CBD to relieve her pain.
The Benefits of Hemp.
Happily, with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the world’s oldest domesticated crop, that breathes in CO2, detoxifies the soil, prevents soil erosion, calms anxiety, soothes pain and more; will once again be available to serve us in a broad range of environmentally friendly ways. Medically and industrially, America has the brilliance and talent to usher in a new era of clean, renewable, biodegradable products and simple, effective medicine in an unprecedented pace to benefit all.