COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS (Q&A)
Many stigmas and misconceptions of industrial hemp have long hindered an industry from re-emerging. We've done our best to clarify some of the most common misunderstandings we've heard about hemp below. If you have any additional questions not shown below, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to answer!
IS HEMP OIL THE SAME AS HEMP EXTRACT (CBD)?
Hemp oil refers to cold-pressed food grade oil from the hemp seed, or industrial oil for polish or lubricants. Hemp extract, or CBD (cannabidiol) is the term for oil that has been extracted from the hemp flower or whole hemp plant using a method, such as CO2 or solvents. Both hemp oil and hemp extracts are currently being researched for health benefits, however the hemp extracts (CBD) is what has shown to aid or provide relief to various ailments. The phrase "hemp oil" is sometimes used to refer to hemp extract or CBD, and tends to cause confusion amongst the market.
Hemp extract or CBD has also been misinterpreted as medical marijuana, which is false. Hemp extracts are from industrial hemp varieties with high concentration of CBD and other cannabinoids, but contain no THC and will result in no psychoactive effect such as medical marijuana supplements or products. See more below.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP, MEDICAL MARIJUANA, AND CANNABIS?
Although industrial hemp, medical marijuana, and recreational marijuana are all members of the cannabis family, hemp is distinguished from other cannabis species by its extremely low THC content. While medical and recreational cannabis often contain THC levels upwards of 25%, hemp varieties contain less than 1%. Hemp is also cultivated in very different ways from medical and recreational marijuana, mostly at commercial scale for industrial purposes ranging from health food to building materials.
IS HEMP THE MALE CANNBIS/MARIJUANA PLANT?
No. Just like all cannabis species, hemp plants can be male or female (or both, in monoecious species). It is the female plants that are grown to full maturity and harvested at the end of the season. Male plants die off shortly after they have completed pollination. Industrial hemp grown for grain requires the male plants to produce seed.
CAN YOU GET "HIGH" IF YOU SMOKE HEMP?
No way! Because hemp varieties contain such low amounts of THC, the human body processes it faster than it can be absorbed. As a result, there is no way a person can get high on hemp. None. Don’t bother trying!
CAN HEMP FOODS CAUSE A FAILED DRUG TEST?
Hemp foods don’t contain any more THC than the plants they come from, so it is impossible to fail a drug test from ingesting them, even in large quantities. Hemp is a superfood that will provide your body with all the essential omegas necessary for a healthy diet. Eat all you want! Keep in mind that there are other food products that can make you fail a drug test. For example, eating too many poppy seeds can make you fail a test for opiates!
NOTE: Hemp extracts (CBD) can cause a failed drug test for cannabinoids - but not THC. If you are going to be subject to any kind of drug test and are actively using hemp extracts (CBD) please keep this in mind. This is not the case for hemp foods or industrial products of any kind.
WHAT DOES HEMP MAKE BESIDES ROPE?
Although the value of hemp fiber has been recognized for centuries, other parts of the plant have become valuable in the modern era: seeds, core, and flowers. Today, many thousands of uses for the plant are well known, and what was once seen as plant waste is now seen as a valueable commodity. Hemp can be made into thousands of sustainable, renewable products ranging from construction to biomass. Click here to learn more about hemp markets.
WONT PEOPLE HIDE ILLEGAL CANNABIS PLANTS IN THEIR HEMP FIELDS?
Pollen from industrial hemp can actually ruin the THC quantity and quality in marijuana. Experienced cannabis growers know this and actually see hemp as a threat, not as a camouflage crop. In Kentucky, all hemp crops are GPS located for law enforcement to reference, which eases addresses potential confusion during "helicopter sweeps."
WILL LEGALIZING INDUSTRIAL HEMP RUIN THE MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL CANNABIS INDUSTRIES IN STATES WHERE IT IS LEGAL?
While it is true that hemp pollen travels long distances and can threaten the integrity of medical and recreational cannabis plants, hemp need not ruin the industry. An organized infrastructure can be developed to keep different cannabis grows properly separated. With cooperation, different cannabis industries can flourish simultaneously.
IS BUYING, SELLING, OR TRANSPORTING HEMP LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES?
This one is a bit tricky. Just like all cannabis varieties, hemp is still illegal at the federal level. It is completely legal, however, to buy hemp products in their final form (e.g., soap, clothes, health food products, etc.). So, dealing in raw hemp is illegal, but dealing in hemp products is legal. As a result, most hemp products sold in America are made from foreign hemp. Only when Congress legalizes hemp will American farmers be able to grow hemp for American consumers!
IS HEMP RESEARCH A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY?
Right now, research and development is the only way to grow industrial hemp in the United States. The Farm Bill permitted states five years to provide the economic viability of hemp crops through pilot programs, and in three years there's been a significant amount of progress. However, research is crucial for the success of the re-emerging hemp industry. We can’t just dust off some old books from last century and pick up where they left off (in most cases!) Modern hemp research will provide invaluable insight into agronomy, cultivation, harvesting, and processing, all necessary precursors to building the essential infrastructure for a modern hemp industry.
The research and development that takes place under the Farm Bill will ultimately determine its legalization! Even when it is finally free to grow amongst states, research will always be necessary to ensure successful, continuous development.
CAN HEMP REALLY SAVE THE WORLD?
While hemp provides clean, sustainable alternatives to many products and practices that are currently devastating our planet, it cannot solve all the world’s problems. Industrial hemp is a valuable crop for American farmers and it can greatly benefit our economy and our environment. It’s good to be enthusiastic about hemp, but don’t burden the plant with responsibility for saving the planet! Exaggerated claims tend to do the industry as much a disservice as the negative stigmas or misconceptions.
As all forms of cannabis spend more time in the spotlight these days, it is vital that the general understanding of each type is improved. We hope that clearing up these misconceptions about hemp can help elevate the conversation about hemp and increase support for its legalization at all levels.