Hemp and marijuana are not one in the same, and it is important to clarify this for people who may be unsure. You can’t smoke hemp. Well, you can, but there will be no effects because it does not contain THC.
Hemp has been a popular plant for centuries. In 1619, hemp was such a valuable resource that the Virginia Assembly actually passed legislation making it illegal NOT to grow it.
Early on, hemp was most often used for naval purposes. Not only did we grow hemp in this country but we also imported a ton of it. In fact, in early 1770 records tell us that we imported 400 tons from Great Britain. In 1800, it was 3,400 tons and then about 5,000 tons each year between 1820 and 1840.
Hemp was even used as legal tender from 1631 through the early 1800s, and you could even pay your taxes with hemp. Thomas Jefferson told farmers that they should choose hemp over tobacco as a prime money-making crop. In the 1930s, Popular Science Magazine called hemp “The New Billion Dollar Crop.”
Sadly, the steel, timber and oil companies had a corner on the economic power in the nation and felt threatened by the practicality and versatility of this easy-to-grow, highly sustainable crop. Together, they conjured up a plan to make sure that hemp would never interfere with their race to riches, and they crafted a devious plan to demonize hemp along with marijuana, even though the two are not one in the same.
In 1937 the government succumbed to the pressure from these big businesses and passed the Marijuana Tax Act which placed a prohibitive tax on hemp products. This, in turn, collapsed the industry and denied Americans one of the most valuable crops on the planet.
America is the only industrialized nation that does NOT grow hemp.
Hemp is still demonized by the federal government along with its THC-containing cousin despite hemp’s amazing and lengthy list of positive attributes. However, the U.S. farm bill did allow states to conduct hemp research and pilot studies on the crop and to grow it industrially, and this is reason to be guardedly optimistic about its future. Currently, 15 states allow such industrial growth.
Why is hemp so great? Not only is hemp a superfood but it is also a super survival tool. Here are just a few reasons why hemp is an invaluable must-have when it comes to living prepared:
1. Food. Both hemp seeds and hemp oil have a perfect ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp is also one of the few complete proteins found in plants. It contains enough of each of the nine essential amino acids and is an amazing source of sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which are necessary for cellular detoxification and muscle growth and repair. In a food emergency, you could survive on hemp seeds alone! Hulled hemp seeds are also known as hemp hearts and can be purchased in bulk and stored for up to 14 months on a shelf and much longer in a sealed container in the freezer. Hemp oil can be kept in a cool and dark location or once opened, in the fridge.
2. As an oil. Hemp oil is extremely healthy and can be used not only in your diet but also on your skin, as a varnish and lubricant and as a substitution for fish oil.
3. Fuel. Hemp oil is an excellent and environmentally friendly fuel source. At one time, hempseed oil was a popular option for lantern fuel. Our ancestors lit their homes by oil lights filled with hemp oil. In addition, it was also used to make soaps, detergents and for personal washing.
4. Twine and fiber. Hemp fiber is often referred to as a premier plant fiber, and it is amazingly strong and versatile. Sailors as far back as the Phoenicians depended on the fiber to secure their sails. Nomadic people from Asia known as the Scythians were some of the first people to domesticate horses and they used saddles made from woven hemp rope. Because of its strength, hemp rope bracelets are common among hikers and survivalists.
5. Shelter. Hemp can also be a building material. When dried hemp stems are mixed with lime and water, the mixture can be poured into wall forms. When hard, it is like concrete with a very high insulation value. Hemp insulates better than any other, material including wood or cotton. It can also be made into fiberboard, lightweight cement, wallboard, cement roofing tiles or other building materials
The sad news is that United States suppliers are forced to import hemp products from other countries, which keeps the cost of this amazing resource quite high.
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