The Benefits of Cannabis

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Oh cannabis, how versatile a plant! Cannabis exists in three
forms: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis.
It is cannabis Ruderalis that is commonly referred to
as industrial hemp. Although many misconceive hemp as an
equivalent to marijuana, it actually has such a low amount
of the psychoactive ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol, or
THC, that it does not produce the effects of either cannabis
Sativa or cannabis Indica. Cannabis Ruderalis, or industrial
hemp, is not a drug, but it is surely the forgotten strain in
the wonders of the cannabis plant.
Industrial hemp is highly versatile; it has over 25,000
uses including building materials, fabrics, paper, textiles,
rope, paint, varnishes, fuel, food & protein, oil and biomass
energy. Hemp is the only known annually renewable
and natural resource that is capable of providing the
majority of the world’s needs for transportation, industrial
and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing
pollution, rebuilding the soil and cleaning the atmosphere.
Hemp can be grown in a wide variety of climates and is
commonly used to rebuild the soil and prevent mudslides
and erosion. Due to returning a high yield of nitrogen to
the soil, hemp is commonly harvested in poor soil conditions
to nurture it so food can grow on it in years to come.
Speaking of food, hemp seed is the single most nutritious
food source humans need. It provides protein, fiber, minerals,
antioxidants, fatty amino acids, gamma linolenic
acids and stearidonic acids which are all essential to our
heath, specifically our immune system. Hemp seed can
reduce heart problems, cholesterol, help in the treatment
of osteoporosis, arthritis as well as breast, colon and
prostate cancer. Talk about hemp for health.
Hemp can also be grown in a denser and at a much
faster rate than cotton or trees, making it a more sustainable
and renewable alternative for paper, building materials
and clothing. Hemp grows so densely that it leaves no
room for insects to thrive in. This also leaves out the possibility
for other weeds to grow, including other strains of
cannabis, a nonsensical concern most drug warriors
uphold. This means there is no need for pesticides or herbicides
that further harm our Earth. Hemp has a high turn
around rate, taking about four months to complete a harvest;
so multiple yields can be produced in one year.
Hemp is also highly recyclable, lasting on average 100
years. Thus far, fifteen states, including Illinois, have hemp
legislation in place; although it is still outlawed federally
due to our government being unwilling to legally distinguish
marijuana from hemp.
Industrial hemp can also help with our current energy
crisis. It can replace up to 90 percent of all fossil fuels and
is up to four times more sustainable and renewable than
other forms of biomass that comes from plants. In four
months just one acre of hemp can provide up to ten tons of
biomass. Hemp can replace plastics and hemp oil can be
used to run your vehicle as well. In fact, hemp is the only
biomass source that has the potential to make the United
States energy independent.
The government is quite aware of the benefits of hemp;
our first hemp law was established in 1619, mandating all
American farmers to grow hemp. In fact, one was allowed to
pay their taxes with hemp from the early 1600’s to the early
1800’s. This ended when our fear of a shortage of hemp production
diminished due to having over 8,000 hemp plantations
in the United States by 1850. During World War II our
government once again called on American farmers to grow
hemp in an effort to help our country’s independence during
the war. Hemp helped sustain the U.S. army, navy and
our own industry needs. Farmers were given a tax stamp to
grow hemp and were deemed as patriotic in helping their
country in times of need. After the war ended and Japan no
longer had control over the international trade of hemp, so
did the growth of hemp in America.
Although we are spending our money to import hemp,
mainly from Canada, it would be quite the turnaround if
American farmers were able to tap into the number one cash
crop in the world. Money would be saved by not having to
import hemp and the hemp grown in the U.S. would be highly
profitable for a variety of needs. Legalizing hemp growth in
the U.S. is a struggle, as oil companies, cotton growers, loggers,
the FDA, herbicide and pesticide producers, paper and
housing companies and Canada all benefit a great deal from
hemp prohibition. Currently the U.S. is the only industrialized
nation that does not allow the growth of hemp. We must take
a stand against the economic and political tactics that are used
to uphold hemp prohibition. We must educate those about
industrial hemp and all the benefits it has for our planet and
for our sustainability. There are numerous reasons cannabis
remains the number one cash crop in the world, if only Americans
had the opportunity to take advantage of such a gain.

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