For centuries, the hemp plant was an integral part of the American agricultural economy. That all changed in 1937 with the passing of the Marihuana Tax Act. Now, over 80 years later, hemp is back on the market in full force.
Since the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized industrial hemp, the industry has exploded in the United States. But what exactly is industrial hemp? How is it different from weed, and what do we use it for?
Where Does Hemp Come From?
Anthropologists believe that hemp originated somewhere in eastern Asia, likely in the region we now call Mongolia and Central China. Ancient civilizations began cultivating the plant in this area as far back as the Neolithic Revolution.
Hemp served many purposes for these early cultures. They used hulled hemp seeds as a dietary staple, the plant’s stringy bast fibers made the thread for some of the earliest textiles and clothing, and they even took advantage of the plant’s psychoactive properties by incorporating them into medicinal practices.
Hemp soon spread south to the Indian subcontinent, where it took on spiritual significance among Neolithic Indian civilizations. Eventually, nomadic Scythians would spread hemp to Europe, where colonizers using hemp-based textiles to power sailboats would go on to spread the plant to the Americas.
Hemp vs Cannabis
So what’s the difference between hemp and cannabis? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Think of it like squares and rectangles. Hemp is a strain of cannabis, which means all hemp is cannabis. However, not all cannabis is hemp.
The United States defines hemp as cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC per dry weight. Other nations with robust hemp industries may have different regulations determining what is and isn’t hemp, but they all typically revolve around THC percentages.
Can Hemp Get You High?
Delta 9 THC is the primary cannabinoid known to produce the intoxication associated with getting high on weed. Since, by definition, hemp can only contain trace amounts of delta 9 THC, consuming it almost definitely won’t get you high.
Theoretically, a cannabis plant could contain a large amount of delta 8 THC and still be classified as hemp. Consuming delta 8 THC does result in intoxication; however, cannabis plants don’t naturally produce it in large enough quantities to have any effect. That being said, delta 8 extracts can be derived from hemp. So, technically, hemp can get you high—but not in its natural state.
Can You Smoke Industrial Hemp?
Smoking industrial hemp flower won’t get you high, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
We grow hemp for a variety of reasons. Like ancient cultures, we still weave its bast fibers into textiles and use the seeds for food. Thanks to new technological developments, we can also use hemp as a sustainable building material and an alternative fuel source that could help replace carbon-based fossil fuels.
Additionally, American farmers grow hemp for its CBD content. While this cannabinoid may not get you high like THC, preliminary research suggests CBD may have tons of potential health benefits. One of the most efficient and natural ways to consume the CBD in hemp is by smoking or vaping CBD-rich hemp flower.
Benefits Of Hemp
Many scientific studies suggest that hemp-derived CBD has several therapeutic applications. Its ability to combat seizures in people with certain conditions like Dravet’s syndrome is so well documented that even the FDA has approved its use for this purpose.
The cannabinoid could also help with people’s mental health. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress, reducing both behavioral and physiological (e.g., heart rate) measures of stress and anxiety. In addition, CBD has shown efficacy in small human laboratory and clinical trials. CBD reduced anxiety in patients with social anxiety subjected to a stressful public speaking task.
Studies also suggest that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could make it useful in relieving traditionally hard-to-treat pain.
Research into CBD’s medicinal properties is still in its relative infancy, and while the studies we have are incredibly promising, we do need more clinical trials to confirm the compound’s efficacy.
Benefits Of Smoking Hemp Flower
There are tons of ways to consume CBD, so why smoke it?
It comes down to bioavailability. When we consume CBD orally in a gummy or capsule, only a small percentage of that CBD makes it to our bloodstream, where it can have any effect. Using an inhalation method like smoking makes the CBD significantly more effective.
Traditional smoking can irritate the throat and exposes consumers to potentially toxic particulates. Fortunately, by using a heat-not-burn product like the Elon cannabinoid delivery device, users can circumvent the combustion process. This results in a healthier experience that still has the same levels of satisfaction and bioavailability as conventional smoking. Order an Elon Starter Kit today and experience the benefits of hemp for yourself.