Join Date: Nov 2008
In order to understand the lunacy of cannabis prohibition, one must first understand the usefulness and versatility of the hemp plant. The global pressure for prohibition has always come from the U.S., not least the U.S. textile industry, but it's also the pharmaceutical industry, the alcohol and tobacco industries, the privatised (slave labour) prison and weapons industry etc etc. So many law enforcement departments would loose out on massive 'drug war' funding. The lobbing is mainly coming from corporations who fear (and rightly so)
massive losses in some area of their business by the decriminalisation of cannabis. They lobby the U.S. government and as usual the U.S. government pushes it's weight around the world until everyone follows suit. Then you have a century of conditioning, demonising cannabis, I guarantee you decriminalisation won't sit well with half the population of any country.
The PTB are also fully aware that stoners tend to think for themselves and question everything, cannabis also inspires right brained creativity in people as opposed to the left brain analytical biobot the PTB condition us to be. They don't want a bunch of peace loving hippies sttting around all day playing guitar and making love lol, they want you stressed out on caffeine in a factory all day and swilling down alcohol, stupefying yourself in the evenings.
Read this for a history of cannabis and it becomes clear why cannabis is still illegal.
The Amazing Hemp Plant
(Cannabis sativa L.)
by Karen Railey
Karen is the author of the popular eBook, How to Improve Fading Memory and Thinking Skills with Nutrition.
The hemp plant is not only one of the oldest cultivated plants, it is also one of the most versatile, valuable, and controversial plants known to man. The industrial hemp plant has a long history, which has proven its innate worth and its stalks and seeds can serve as raw material for an exciting array of many diverse products. The plantís Latin name actually means "useful hemp," and it definitely measures up to its name!
WHAT IS CANNABIS SATIVA?
The industrial hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, should not be confused with the marijuana plant, which is its cousin. The appearance, planting patterns, and uses of the two plants are quite different.
Cannabis sativa is an annual belonging to the nettle family. It grows from 5 to 15 feet in height with rich dark-green leaves composed of 5 to 9 serrated, narrow, tapering leaflets that are pointed at the end and measure 2 to 5 inches in length and approximately one-sixth as wide. Hemp is tall, thin plant with most of its leaves concentrated at the top. The plants are planted only inches apart: 900 plants to the square yard. The staminate, or pollen-bearing flowers, and the pistillate or seed-producing flowers are on separate plants.
In contrast to the commercial hemp plant, the marijuana plant is quite dense, leafier, shorter, bushier, and is planted yards apart.
Cannabis sativa will grow almost anywhere, requires little fertilizer, resists pests and crowds out weeds, therefore it is a crop that is relatively easy to grow and does well as an organic crop. The plant grows quickly, requiring only 70 to 110 days to maturity. Due to this fact, industrial hemp is an abundant supplier of its extremely valuable raw materials.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The use of hemp can be traced back to 8000 BC in the Middle East and China where the fiber was used for textiles, the oil for cosmetic purposes and the seeds for food.
From as early as 5 BC to the mid-1800ís hemp fibers were used to manufacture 90% of all shipsí canvas sails, rigging, nets, and caulk because of its strength and resistance to the destructive effects of salt water. Hemp was also used for making paper, twines, carpet thread, carpet yarns, sailcloth, and for homespun and similar grades of woven goods. From the 500ís to the early 1900ís, many of the worlds greatest painters including Veronese, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh, created their masterpieces on hemp canvas.
From the 1500ís to 1700ís hemp and flax were the major fiber crops in Russia and Europe and in 1606 French botanist Louis Hevert planted the first recorded hemp crop in North America in Port Royal, Acadia (present day Nova Scotia), where it became a major crop.
The Pilgrims first brought hemp seeds to America in 1632 and by 1850 hemp was Americaís third largest crop. In fact, early American farmers were required to grow it. Two U.S. Presidents, Washington and Jefferson were hemp farmers when the U.S. was formed and they signed the Bill of Rights. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were first drafted on hemp paper. Hemp was the worldís largest single industry until the mid-1800ís.
Hemp was formally christened Cannabis sativa L. in 1753 by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.
In 1916 the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an urgent warning: "America does not have enough forest land to last to the end of this century, given our vast appetite for paper, building materials, cellulose and other useful wood pulp products." The bulletin containing this warning, bulletin 404, also offered a profitable and sustainable solution: "Grow more hemp! Virtually anything made of wood can also be made with hemp and it has a much higher sustainable yield, whereby we can enjoy a net gain in commercial productivity and an overall growth in our standard of living."
As hemp cultivation flourished in many countries, Britain declared it illegal in 1928.
The 1916 warning given by the Department of Agriculture in the U.S. was not heeded. The hemp plant, though it had the advantage of being easy to grow, was not easy to harvest and process. It was a labor-intensive procedure to separate the fibers from the woody core of the stalks and in the 18th century, more convenient resources such as cotton and imported sisal, jute, and abaca became available. Processes were put into place that facilitated the production of paper from wood and synthetic fibers were developed. This series of events began to undermine hempís importance and status as the top fiber crop.
The existence of industrial hempís botanical cousin, marijuana, which contains high levels of psychoactive substances, further impaired hempís standing. This, coupled with the desire to give a surge to the cotton, logging and synthetic fiber industries resulted in the Harrison Drug Act of 1937, which declared the cultivation of hemp in America illegal unless grown under permit. Unfortunately, the number of permits issued was few and far between and Cannabis sativa fell into the position of niche crop in most of North America.
In 1938 Canada followed suit and banned hemp farming. As most Western countries banned hemp, hemp farming and production continued in Eastern Europe, China, and a few other Asian countries.
Ironically, in February of 1938 just as the Harrison Drug Act of 1937 took effect, an article was published in Popular Mechanics Magazine: "New Billion-Dollar Crop." The article featured a new machine called a decorticator that separated the hemp fiber and pulp at the rate of two to three tons per hour. The article also pointed out the highly exaggerated connection between hemp and marijuana and stated that 5,000 textile products and 25,000 other products ranging from dynamite to cellophane could be produced using the industrial hemp plant.
During World War II, the Canadian and American governments briefly lifted the restrictions on hemp farming to aid the war effort and boost the economy. The U.S. government even produced a film named "Hemp for Victory" designed to encourage American farmers to cultivate hemp. At the end of the war, hemp farming was again banished.
In 1993 Britain legalized hemp farming once again and in 1994 Health Canada issued the first research permit for growing industrial hemp. In 1998 hemp farming was again legalized in Canada. This has already helped many of Canadaís farmers save their farms and added a valuable resource back into Canadaís economy.
To date hemp cultivation continues its illegal status in the United States. Growing under permit is technically allowed, but no permits have been issued for a very long time nor are they being issued at present. American farmers and producers of hemp products are now making efforts to educate people concerning the extensive potential of hemp and to legalize hemp cultivation once again. The reintroduction of hemp farming would certainly aid many U.S. farmers in saving their farms as it has in Canada.
It would also be beneficial to the U.S. economy if hemp cultivation was legalized; the U.S. imports all hemp at this time. In 1999 the gross retail sales of hemp products worldwide are projected to reach $150 million. Domestic cultivation of hemp would not only boost the economy and benefit our environment; it would also reduce our need for petroleum, trees, and imported textiles and clothes.
Recently there has been an encouraging development: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, North Dakota and Missouri have introduced or passed legislation to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in their states.
THE USEFULNESS OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP
Hemp Stalks Ė The Fiber and Pulp
The hemp stalks are dried and broken down into two parts: thread-like fibers called the "bast" and the inside pulp or "hurd." They have some applications in common, yet each one has its own very individual and distinct applications as well.
The long bark fiber from the stalks is cleaned and spun into threads and yarn for cordage, rope, carpets, or knit or woven into a variety of durable high quality textiles which can be used for an endless variety of products including clothing, curtains, upholstery, shoes, backpacks, and towels. The variety of fabrics made from hemp range from those as tough as burlap and denim, to cotton-like fabrics, to those as fine as silk, or as intricate as lace. The original Leviís were made of hemp cloth and today designer Giorgio Armani, as well as other clothing manufacturers, is weaving hemp into clothes. Shoe companies are now using it in the manufacture of shoes. Within the last few years many cottage industries, offering an amazing array of hemp products, have sprung up.
Hemp fabrics have added beneficial qualities of being stronger, more insulative, more absorbent and more durable than cotton and they donít stretch out of shape. Natural organic hemp fiber "breathes" and is biodegradable. It is remarkable that hemp will produce 1500 pounds of fiber per acre, whereas cotton will produce only 500 pounds per acre and it is estimated that half of all agricultural chemicals used in the US are employed in the growing of cotton.
The inner core of the stalk or hurd contains cellulose and can be made into tree-free, dioxin free paper. Paper made of hemp is longer lasting than that made from trees and because it is acid free, does not crack, yellow or otherwise deteriorate. In turn, the paper may be used for any product that wood pulp paper is used to manufacture including diapers, newsprint, cardboard, filters, packing, non-woven and absorbent paper products. The long fibers from the stalks are also used to make paper alone or in combination with the pulp. The resulting paper utilizing the fiber is rougher, but stronger than the paper made from the hurd alone.
Furthermore, hemp paper can be bleached with environmentally safe hydrogen peroxide instead of the chlorine bleach used in processing wood pulp paper and hemp paper requires only a fraction of the chemicals as does paper produced from wood. Over a 20-year period, one acre of hemp will produce as much pulp as 4.1 acres of forestland. This is an extremely important point because today only 4% of Americaís old-growth forest remains standing! Yet another bonus: hemp paper has the capacity of being recycled 7 times as opposed to the 3 times for wood pulp paper.
Charcoal, methanol, methane, and gasoline, can be manufactured utilizing the hemp hurds. Fuels made of plants using a distillation process called "pyrolysis" are called biomass fuels. Biomass fuels are clean and virtually free from metals and sulfur, so will not produce the level of air pollution fossil fuels do. Equally as important, burning biomass fuels will not increase the level of carbon dioxide in the Earthís atmosphere.
Hemp hurds are also used in the manufacture of non-toxic inks, paints, stains, varnishes, lubricants, and sealants, as well as industrial fabrication materials and construction materials such as insulation, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard. The hemi-cellulose from this part of the plant is utilized in the manufacture of plastics such as cellophane and phenol.
The use of hemp in building construction is not new. In Europe hemp has been used for manufacturing building materials and in construction for many years. French archeologists made and intriguing find when they discovered old bridges that were built with a process that mineralizes hemp stalks into a long lasting "cement." The process requires no synthetic chemicals and the end product, which is called Isochanvre, is gaining popularity in France. It is used as a filler in building construction and as drywall. It is strong, durable, and acts as an insulator of heat and noise.
In the 1930ís Henry Ford constructed an entire automobile body from hemp and presently auto manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes are beginning to incorporate hemp into car bodies, door panels and dashboards.
Hemp-core chips are useable as horse-stable bedding and, when mixed with manure, make good compost.
The leaves and roots of the plant also deserve mention. The hemp plants drop their leaves when they are mature, which reintroduces minerals and nitrogen back to the soil. Even hempís deep roots offer an important contribution; they anchor and aerate the soil to control erosion and mudslides. When hemp is used as a rotation crop, the crops that follow it are stronger and healthier.
Hemp Oil and Seeds
Hemp seeds were not allowed to be imported into the U.S., unless they were steam sterilized, until fairly recently. The reason for this was that hemp cultivation is effectively illegal in America, and steam sterilization assured that the seeds could not germinate. A newly developed process of hulling the seeds has been perfected making the hulled, raw, unsterilized seeds available in the U.S. This is good news because this prevents germination, yet preserves the nutritional content of the hemp seeds.
One of the questions often asked concerning Cannabis sativa is whether it contains any psychoactive substances. New plant varieties contain an extremely small percentage (0.1%) of THC (tetrahydro cannabinol) in the sticky resin produced by the flowering tops of the female plants before the seeds mature. However, the strains of hemp grown for commercial purposes have an extremely low resin content and after the seeds are hulled and cleaned for use in various products, there is virtually no THC remaining. Certainly not enough to perpetuate any psychoactivity.
There is one caveat worth mentioning. Due to the extreme sensitivity of the urine drug test for marijuana, it is possible for the test to show positive after one has eaten hemp seeds or taken the oil. This is more likely to happen if unhulled seeds or products made from unhulled seeds were ingested as some resin could stick to the seed hull. It is also interesting to note that a drug test may read positive for opium if one ingests a poppy seed bagel or muffin before testing.
Hemp nuts (seeds) can be pressed for the oil, which has a wide variety of cosmetic uses in salves, lotions, soaps; massage oils, hair care products, and lip balm. These have proven quite beneficial for the skin and hair. The oil is also used as a base for printing inks, paints, varnishes, and detergents and can also be used in the production of non-toxic diesel fuels.
Hemp oil contains superior nutritional and therapeutic components and is an extremely healthful addition to oneís diet. Hemp seed oil is more than 75% EFAís (essential fatty acids) in a well-balanced 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Like the seeds, it also contains GLA (Gamma-linolenic Acid). In his book, Fats that Heal Fats that Kill, Udo Erasmus states that "hemp seed oil can be used over the long term to maintain a healthy EFA balance without leading to either EFA deficiency or imbalance."
Fatty Acid Profile for Hemp Oil
Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic) 19.0%
Omega-6 (Linoleic) 57.0%
Omega-9 (Oleic) 12.0%
Gamma-linolenic (GLA) 1.7%
Stearic Acid 2.0%
Hemp oil also contains the carotenes and Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) that are naturally present in the seed.
Hemp seed is the richest source of EFAís in the plant kingdom and contains a relatively low percentage of saturated fats. The EFAís in the oil and seeds promote cellular growth, healthy skin, hair, and eyes, aid in immune response, disease prevention, weight control, and even in cognitive functions. The human brain is 60% fat; therefore the EFAís are critically important to its proper function and good health. EFAís are also the raw material the body needs to produce hormones, the bodyís communication network for cellular activity.
Hemp oil supports the bodyís detoxification process due to the fact that the LA (linoleic acid) and ALA (Alpha- linolenic Acid) have the ability to carry toxic substances to the surface of the skin, intestinal tract, kidneys, and lungs where they can be eliminated from the body.
EFA deficiencies can lead to a myriad of health problems including impairment of vision and neurological function, growth retardation, motor incoordination, tingling sensations in arms and legs, behavioral changes, high triglycerides, hypertension, sticky blood platelets, tissue inflammation, edema, dry skin, loss of hair, skin eruptions, liver and/or kidney degeneration, drying up of glands, susceptibility to infections, sterility in males, miscarriage in females, PMS, hormonal imbalance, and impaired wound healing and cell growth.
There are various studies that indicate many common conditions and illnesses are related to fatty acid deficiencies and that dietary supplementation of EFAís, particularly if included with a healthful, whole foods diet, will often prevent, improve, or cure these illnesses. These include atopic eczema and psoriasis, acne, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases such as chronic bladder infection, ulcerative colitis and Chrohnís disease, osteoporosis, PMS and menopause. Hemp oil has also been used to treat nutritional deficiencies exacerbated by tuberculosis (Czechoslovakia Tubercular Nutritional Study, 1955).
Dysfunctional fatty acid metabolism is implicated in multiple sclerosis and some studies indicate that supplementation with EFAís or GLA will improve the condition. EFA supplementation would also be a beneficial adjunct for those suffering with cancer, diabetes, chronic depression, postpartum depression, attention deficit disorder and schizophrenic psychosis. Because hemp oil contains both EFAís in balance and also provides two of the EFA metabolites, it may be more beneficial than other oils for those with these conditions or those who have problems assimilating EFAís.
Hemp oil can be integrated into the diet in many ways: use in the preparation of salad dressings, marinades, dips, spreads, add to smoothies, drizzle on any food such as potatoes and cooked grains, or simply take by the spoonful as an adjunct to a healthy diet. Hemp oil has a very pleasant, nutty taste similar to sunflower oil.
It is important to purchase hemp oil that is organic, made from non-sterilized seeds, pressed at cool temperatures and not chemically extracted (hexane), so the vital and delicate nutrients are intact. The oil should be in opaque, dark colored containers in a refrigerated section of the store.
After the removal of the oil from the hemp seed another useful raw material called the meal or seed cake is left behind. This meal is high in protein, about 30% if hulled hemp seeds are used and 50% if un-hulled seeds are used. The meal can be ground into flour and used to replace up to 20% of other flours in baked goods. Hemp meal is also used by microbreweries as an ingredient in the mash and adds flavor and body to beer.
Good results have been realized with the use of hemp meal in animal feed for horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, catfish, and chickens. The mash still contains nutrients such as the amino acids, which are present in the whole seeds. Hemp seeds have long been used as bird feed.
Botanically, hemp seeds are tiny nuts that develop on the female flowers of the hemp plants. As they mature in late summer, they develop a thin, crunchy hull, gray or brownish in color with a fine, whitish, marbled pattern and a smooth shiny surface. These nut-like fruits are nearly egg-shaped in outline and flattened at the margins. The fibrous husk protects the nutrient dense whitish embryo inside. When hulled, the hemp seeds are slightly larger than sesame seeds. The hull of the seed consists mainly of dietary fiber, which is indigestible, and also contains small amount of chlorophyll. It is the meat or embryo that contains the powerful nutrients that are so beneficial.
The nutritional content of the hemp seed is impressive, offering 30% complete and highly digestible protein and containing over 36% essential fatty acids, which is 16% more than flaxseed. It is the best source of Omega 3, Linolenic acid and Omega 6, Linoleic acid, as well as GLA, Gamma Linoleic acid (approximately 3%). Hemp seed contains protein, lipids, choline, inositol, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phospholipids, phytosterols, and all eight essential amino acids. The amino acid profile is superior to soybean, human milk, and cowís milk.
The complete protein in the hemp seed not only provides all the essential amino acids required to maintain health, it is 65% globulin edestin, contains albumin, and it is remarkably similar to the protein found in human blood plasma.
Nutritional Analysis of Hemp Seed / 100g
Protein 33.0 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 36.0 g
Carbohydrate 12.0 g
Cholesterol .0 g
Total Dietary Fiber 6.0 g
Total Sugars 2.0 g
Vitamin A (B-Carotene) 4.0 IU
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 1.4 mg
Riboflavin (Vit. B2 .3 mg
Vitamin B6 .1 mg
Vitamin C 1.0 mg
Vitamin E (d-A-tocopherol) 9.0 IU
Sodium 9.0 mg
Calcium 74.0 mg
Iron 4.7 mg
Fatty Acid Analysis
Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Oleic 18:1 8.5-16%
Linoleic 18:2 53-60%
Gamma Linoleic acid 18:3 1-4 %
Stearidonic acid 18:4 0.4-2%
Eicosaenoic acid 20:1 0.5%
Total unsaturated fatty acids 89-91%
Saturated Fatty Acids
Palmitic acid 16:1 6-9%
Stearic acid 18:0 2-3.5%
Arachidic acid 20:0 1-3%
Behenic acid 22:0 <0.3%
Total saturated fatty acids 9-11%
Amino Acid Assay / per gm
Glutamic Acid + Glutamine 47.95 mg
Aspartic Acid + Asparagine 27.28 mg
Arginine 25.90 mg
Glycine 13.36 mg
Alanine 13.23 mg
Serine 11.85 mg
Proline 10.06 mg
*Leucine 9.78 mg
Tyrosine 7.99 mg
*Lysine 5.92 mg
*Threonine 5.20 mg
*Phenylalanine 4.82 mg
*Valine 4.13 mg
*Methionine 3.58 mg
Histidine 3.44 mg
*Isoleucine 2.07 mg
Cystine + Cysteine 1.65 mg
Phosphoserine 1.24 mg
Cystathionine 1.24 mg
*Tryptophan 0.83 mg
Ethanolamine 0.55 mg
* = Essential Amino Acid
Hemp nuts have many delightful applications in the culinary field. They can be substituted for dairy, soy or rice protein in the production of nondairy beverages, frozen desserts, tofu, and cheeses. The seeds have a delicious nutty flavor and may be eaten whole and raw as a snack with or without added seasonings. Toasting lightly enhances the delicious nutty flavor of the seeds, but eating them raw will preserve all the nutrients. Hemp seeds can be sprinkled on salads, vegetables, pasta, or added to smoothies, granola, baked goods, soups, sauces, dips, seed cheeses, nut milks, and nut balls. Another interesting use for the seeds is to make them into nut butter in a Champion juicer. Nut butter may also be made in a blender or Vita Mix, but this method will require that extra oil be added to make the nut butter spreadable. Nut butters can be made with or without added seasonings.
As we have seen, hemp seeds and/or oil contain important nutrients that are vital to human health and well being and the plant provides many materials for clothing, shelter, and fuels. Consequently, it is important to support the use of hemp products; it is highly beneficial for health, the environment and the economy. Hemp is truly an amazing plant!