by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
Do you know the difference between marijuana and hemp? The confusion between those two terms has cost us the benefits of industrial hemp, which can do a lot of what other materials are doing with much less ecological damage than what exists now.
According to George Blankenbaker, president of Realhemp, Inc, hemp is the most misunderstood and under appreciated crop there is. And the confusion between marijuana or cannabis and hemp has made growing hemp without THC illegal only in this country, the USA.
We get most of our hemp products, especially hemp seeds and oils, from Canada and some from Europe. Both regions have relatively thriving hemp agricultural and industrial enterprises, and even theirs are not enough to sooth an ecologically unbalanced planet. China grows 90 percent of the world’s hemp.
Blakenbaker’s interview was done by the Cannabis Summit among the several interviews and gifts offered elucidating medical cannabis’ properties and its surrounding legal and social issues. What he reveals that has been kept from humanity in addition to cannabis’ medicinal qualities is staggering.
What is the Difference and How Did It Get Confused?
Blankenbaker explains in the Cannabis Summit that basically they are the same species of cannabis plants with different strains and THC (tetra-hydrochloride) levels. THC is the marijuana cannabinoid compound that is considered evil because it is psychoactive. THC also combines with other cannabinoids in the plant to be probably the single most healing plant on earth.
Technically, industrial hemp, which includes hemp seeds and oils, has less than 0.3 percent THC, while cannabis that is considered marijuana contains over 0.3 percent THC, usually considerably more.
Pure CBD (cannabidiol), the non-THC extract that has seen considerable success with children suffering from chronic seizures and other neurological conditions, can be considered a product of industrial hemp. CBD was featured on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Here’s a short version of that presenatation.
States that do not allow medical marijuana abide by the federal law’s ban on growing even industrial hemp. This excludes many from the benefits of CBD, usually for their neurologically afflicted children.
It also excludes many others from an extremely nutritious healthy food, hemp seeds or oils. Hemp seeds and oils provide a complete protein as amino acids, making it easier to assimilate than animal proteins, which demand powerful enzymes produced by the pancreas to begin breaking them down into assimilable amino acids.
Most health experts consider the balance 3:1 (three to one) of omega-6 to omega-3 oils almost perfect and includes omega-9 to round out a complete fatty acid profile. As plant based foods they are high in fiber. You can buy hemp seeds from most health food stores. But they would be a lot less expensive if hemp seeds were home grown in the USA instead of imported from Canada.
The nutrition from hemp seeds is so complete that if it were not illegal, people could thrive on growing and consuming their own to survive a commercial food supply collapse. But we have those laws against growing it combined with too much ignorance of hemp’s food survival potential.
Those laws started accumulating after the turn of the 20th century and were further fueled by marijuana fears and corporate greed in the 1930s to ensure tree produced paper, synthetic fibers, and petrochemical plastics and fuels remained dominant. The 1970 Banned Substance Act was the final legal nail in the coffin of hemp cultivation.
During the American colonial and early republic periods hemp growth was required by law. The United States Constitution was written on hemp paper. Due to the Japanese take-over of Southeast Asia and the Philippines, import hemp fiber shortages loomed for manufacturing rope and canvas during WWII.
Then the government was forced to endorse and promote hemp agriculture with a film called “Hemp for Victory,” which turns out to be historically, agriculturally, and industrially highly informative.
After the war, documents for producing hemp and this film were removed or hidden in an attempt to discourage the population from learning the truth about hemp. It was reportedly recovered in the 1980s by industrial hemp activists.
In a Cannabis Summit interview, Blankenbaker explained how the hemp for nutritional edible seeds uses hemp plant strains that are not as tall as fiber stalk plants to access seeds without removing the plants, while the taller plants displayed in the video above have different levels of stalk fiber materials that can be used for other industrial applications.
The extent of hemp fiber industrial applications, if growing is ever legalized, is amazing:
- Hemp plants are hardy and can manage without herbicides and phosphate fertilizers. They actually benefit the soil and make a perfect rotational crop. From seed to harvest can be less than a full year.
- In 1941, Henry Ford built and tested his “vegetable car” prototype from hemp and other plant fibers. It was very durable and ran on bio-diesel fuel that doesn’t pollute nearly as much as petrochemical fuels. His intent was legalize hemp and help farmers benefit financially.
- Today practically every type of plastic can be made from hemp. It’s biodegradable and non-toxic. Landfills and oceans need not be ecologically overburdened with plastic waste.
- Paper from hemp could displace the highly destructive and environmentally toxic wood pulp produced paper. One acre of hemp can produce more oxygen from CO2 and methane than 25 acres of forest, from where trees are cut down that take years to replace. Hemp can be fully grown in a year or less.
- Synthetic textile, (Rayon, etc.) manufacturing produces a lot of pollution. And the clothes that are produced release toxins from that process to the people who wear them. Hemp clothing would be a safer solution for consumers and the environment.
- Blankenbaker was very enthusiastic in his Cannabis Summit interview about the proven potential hemp has for residential and commercial building materials. Stronger and lighter than concrete, Hempcrete also provides its own internal insulation and is naturally fungus or mold resistant. Builders love working with it.
George Blankebaker, who offers a free hemp seed nutrition e-book to Cannabis Summit visitors, mentions the importance of having a widespread economic base to nurture industrial hemp’s acceptance.
This is impossible as long as growing industrial hemp is illegal. Blankenbaker is working on both the agricultural and legal acceptance with Inidana’s Purdue University’s hemp agricultural research. Kentucky has won that research right as well.
Why research has to be done to prove legal merit for something that has been done for centuries and is currently being done successfully elsewhere is questionable. Who benefits from slowing down the health and environmental benefits of restoring hemp agriculture and industry?
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