BY SIMON ARENDT
Over the last
a resurgence rarely seen
for any agricultural crop.
In the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp
was legally removed from inclusion
in the definition of marijuana and
is no longer considered a Schedule
1 controlled substance by the DEA.
Although America had been growing
hemp since its earliest days—minus a
controversial ban in the US starting
in 1937—it was only in 2018 that we
regained the right to legally grow
this versatile, powerful, and helpful
For the purpose of this article,
we’ll use the word cannabis instead
of marijuana—a term with a controversial
history, while the name cannabis
comes from the plant’s origin
Early American farmers, including
our neighbors across the Potomac
in Virginia, were encouraged
and in some cases required to grow
hemp to contribute to local supply
chains. Hemp was grown and used
in the manufacturing of important
products like rope, sails, flags,
paper and more. But the prolific use
of hemp predates colonial times;
translations of ancient Chinese texts
mention various hemp products,
while many other civilizations have
continued to cultivate hemp over the
To give the full story of
hemp today would entail an
incredibly complex, scientific,
and legal discussion, one that
is rapidly evolving as ongoing
interest and research into
hemp and cannabis expand.
To keep things simple, we can start
with some basics. Hemp is a variety
of cannabis, a genus of flowering
plants. One of the active compounds
in cannabis that produces a psychotropic
“high” is THC. One of the
active compounds found in hemp is
called CBD. It is not psychotropic and
has been approved as a food additive
and supplement in some states. THC
and CBD are the most well known
cannabinoids, aka chemical building
blocks, found in cannabis and hemp.
CBD oil has broken onto the
popular scene within the last decade
for its touted health benefits when
consumed or applied to the skin.
Today CBD can be found in tinctures,
topical creams, health foods,
nutritional supplements, and snacks.
Here’s a good, nonscientific way to
remember the difference between
cannabis and hemp: THC from cannabis
will get you high, hemp products
do everything else!
World’s most versatile plant?
Hemp has two main varieties: one
is harvested mainly for its cellulose,
fiber and seed, while the other is
grown for its oil and flower content.
Hemp flowers don’t resemble the
48 plenty I Summer growing 2020