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Hemp and Marijuana
Facts an’ T’ings
“I don’t know if hemp is gonna save the world but i’ll tell you this, it is the only thing that can..”
JACK HERER, American Cannabis Activist/Author (1939–2010)
Here’s a fact: Hemp and Marijuana both come from the same plant; its scientific name is ‘Cannabis Sativa’. For thousands of years hemp was used to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles. U.S. Presidents and founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, used hemp products, and were hemp advocates. Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp. It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law!
In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs. So what happened?
In 1937, Hemp was banned in the United States NOT because it was a harmful drug. It was banned because it was a competitive threat to the wood products industry and newly developed synthetic fibers that were patentable, and therefore more profitable than hemp. Corporations that profited from the demise of hemp propagated a smear campaign against hemp by claiming that marijuana use was a major drug problem (it was not) and that marijuana use caused people to become extremely violent—another falsehood. Unfortunately, these false claims went unchallenged and Congress outlawed hemp in 1937.
On the eve of marijuana prohibition in the U.S., two articles about hemp appeared in major U.S. magazines; ‘The Most Profitable And Desireable Crop That Can Be Grown’ from: Mechanical Engineering, February 26, 1937, and ‘New Billion Dollar Crop’ From: Popular Mechanics, February 1938.
These articles reveal that hemp was on the verge of becoming a super crop because of new hemp processing technologies that were recently developed. Unfortunately, the potential of hemp was never reaped because of marijuana prohibition.
Here are a few facts an’ t’ings about the environmental, economic and health benefits of Hemp.
- Hemp fiber is the strongest natural fiber in the world… period.
- Hemp naturally repels weed growth and is resistant to bugs. Hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides.
- All hemp products are completely biodegradable, recyclable, and hemp is a reusable resource in every aspect: pulp, fiber, protein, cellulose, oil, or biomass.
- Building materials that substitute for wood can be made from hemp. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp-derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!
- Hemp replaces trees as the source of raw material for wood and paper, thereby conserving forests. Trees take years to grow, while a crop of hemp can be grown in a few months. Only one acre of hemp can produce as much paper annually as 4 acres of trees.
- Hemp Seeds contain all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
With the legalization of Marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia, the spotlight has turned brighter than ever on the cannabis plant. Even after all this time, misconceptions continue to abound about its properties and effects. Yes… Marijuana has long had a stigma linked to it. Most people don’t look at it as a possible treatment for diseases but rather as a way to ‘get high’.
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in
this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
CARL SAGAN, Academic, Astronomer, Scientist (1934–1996)
Medical marijuana has been legalized in 23 states, including the District of Columbia and Guam. Researchers have shown many of its benefits, yet federal law still prohibits Marijuana as a medical treatment. In this special ROCK feature, we highlight some of the positive aspects of the medical benefits of Marijuana based on research and scientific evidence.
- Marijuana slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2006 study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute. THC, the active ingredient present in Marijuana, slows the formation of amyloid plaques which kill the brain cells, ultimately leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Marijuana reduces pain and inflammation linked to Athritis. It also improves quality of sleep.
- A study in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics found that Cannabidiol found in Marijuana, has the ability to stop cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1.
- According to the National Eye Institute, Marijuana can be used to treat Glaucoma, a condition that increases pressure inside the eyeball which can ultimately lead to vision loss.
- Researchers in Israel found that smoking Marijuana appeared to reduce tremor and pain and improve sleep among patients with Parkinson’s disease.
- Marijuana helps veterans suffering from PTSD. The naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help control the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain.
- A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2012 found that Marijuana improved lung functions and increased lung capacity.
- Marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties that assist in pain relief.
- Marijuana significantly reduces muscle spasms caused by Multiple Sclerosis
- Marijuana helps ease the symptoms of Crohn’s disease as it stops nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.