Debunking the Top 4 Hemp Myths
Hemp has been a widely used crop for thousands of years, yet politics and propaganda have turned it into one of the most controversial and misunderstood plants on the planet. A quick Google search about hemp will yield you loads of conflicting information, so we’ve decided it’s time to put the rumors to rest and set some of the biggest hemp myths straight.
Myth: Hemp is the male cannabis plant. Marijuana is the female plant.
Hemp and marijuana both come from the Cannabis Sativa plant, and one common misconception is that hemp is the male plant and marijuana is the female version. Both plants have the ability to be either male or female, but hemp is generally cut down and processed before it has the chance to flower and produce the smokable buds found on marijuana plants. The plant’s sex has more to do with how it’s bred and engineered as opposed to whether it’s intended for industrial or medical use.
Myth: Hemp gets you “high”
As we mentioned above, hemp does come from the same cannabis plant as marijuana, but the breeding and cultivation process changes the plant’s chemical composition. Because of this, you can smoke all the industrial hemp you want but the virtually nonexistent THC content means you’re not going to feel any psychoactive effects. Hemp usually contains less than 1% THC, a big difference from marijuana plants that are bred to contain as much as 25% THC.
Myth: You can fail a drug test from consuming hemp foods
Hemp seeds have been a health food staple for years. They’re a complete source of protein and packed with nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re the perfect seed to throw on a salad or in a smoothie for some extra nutritional benefits, and they’re even used to create products like hemp seed oil (excellent for skincare) and hemp milk (a delicious dairy-free milk substitute).
Like the rest of the hemp plant, hemp seeds do not contain THC, so you don’t have to worry about failing a drug test if you eat them. This has been a common misconception about hemp seeds, especially because other plant seeds, such as poppy seeds, can cause you to test positive for opiates.
Now that you know it’s safe (and healthy!) to eat hemp seeds, here are some recipes to try:
Myth: Hemp is only used to make textiles
Hemp has been used to create clothing and textiles for thousands of years, from the sails of the ships that landed in the U.S. to the jeans sold by Levi Strauss & Co. before prohibition.
Hemp is excellent for this purpose; it’s more durable and longer-lasting than cotton and requires about half the water usage, so it produces a smaller carbon footprint overall. Hemp is also an excellent bioaccumulator, which means it removes toxins from the soil and helps keep the land healthy and pure.
With that knowledge, why wouldn’t we want to use hemp any chance we can? The good news is that textiles are far from the only thing that can be made with hemp. The high cellulose content in the plants is great for creating paper, rope, canvas, and bioplastics, which can be used in place of products made with synthetic materials and chemicals.
Hemp is not going to solve all the world’s problems, but it’s an incredibly beneficial crop for manufacturing as well as the environment. It’s going to take some time for hemp to rebuild its reputation after decades of prohibition, but with the right knowledge we can all help bring it back to its full potential.