Celebrating National Hemp Month

July 22, 2020

In addition to Independence Day, July is the time of year that celebrates National Hemp Month. This substance is often misunderstood and confused with marijuana. As such, in honor of National Hemp Month, we’ll be discussing hemp, its history, and its uses.

What is Hemp?

The Cannabis sativa plant, also referred to as “hemp,” is the same species of plant that is known as marijuana. However, hemp and marijuana are not the same, as each is from a different variety of the plant.

According to Tom Melton, deputy director of North Carolina State Extension, the difference between the two “is that hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 % (by dry weight) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance found in marijuana.” Marijuana usually contains 5-20% of THC. A cannabis plant with more than 0.3% THC is marijuana, whereas a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% is hemp.

Hemp yields an eco-friendly and all natural fiber that can be created into paper, clothing, rope, extracts, seed oil, and hempcrete (a hemp equivalent of concrete). Additionally, hemp also provides a source of CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol. CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant and is the second most prevailing active ingredient found in cannabis.

The FDA and Hemp

CBD is used for medicinal purposes within the health and wellness industry for challenges like mental disorders, aches, and pains, but not all of these claims have been verified nor approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA has approved three cannabis-related drug products and one cannabis-derived product, making them only available as prescriptions under a licensed physician. The FDA has approved Marinol, Syndros, Cesamet, and Epidiolex.

Marinol and Syndros contain a synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol called dronabinol. It treats weight loss in AIDS patients.

Cesamet is made up of the active ingredient nabilone, which is synthetic and has a chemical structure like THC. It’s used to treat nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy who have already tried similar drugs that failed to be effective for them.

Epidiolex consists of a purified version of CBD. It’s used for the treatment of seizures linked to Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

How to Celebrate National Hemp Month

Because legal progress is modifying how people access and view hemp, this month offers an opportunity to learn more on the subject and to discover how it benefits both the environment and people.

Ways to celebrate:

  • Learn about the history of hemp (many US Presidents grew the plant on their estates).
  • Consider the differences between hemp and marijuana.
  • Learn about the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • Learn about the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Final Thoughts

Although there is still much national debate over marijuana, hemp, CBD, and the blurred line that is drawn by those debating, it’s always best to follow the law and to legally fight laws that you seek to change. Additionally, if you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder from the use of marijuana or other related products containing high concentrations of THC, please reach out for help. You’re never alone.

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