It may come as a surprise to some to learn that hemp has been used for thousands of years. The use of this non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana dates back to ancient China. Hemp is still being used today in industries for making medicine, clothing, food, animal feed, paint, biofuel, environmentally friendly plastic, and so much more.

Reversal of Laws
Before the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 and the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, hemp was widely used in the western hemisphere. However, with the criminalization of the plant, a lot of negative press began to spread about it, and slowly the world turned its back on it. However, today it appears we are doing a complete 360-degree turn on our position on hemp. With President Donald Trump’s passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, it is legal once again to grow hemp in the U.S. We cannot only grow hemp in the country again but also sell and transport it across state lines as well as process hemp into products for the public.

Apart from the U.S., many countries across the world have also changed their stance on hemp such as the UK, Canada, Australia, China, Russia, Spain, France, and Austria. There are at least 30 countries across the world with laws that are favorable to the cultivation and processing of hemp.

Hemp and THC
While hemp is now legal in the U.S. on the federal levels, many states are yet to ratify their laws and come up with a way to regulate the plant and license growers. It should go without saying that other strains of cannabis sativa with a higher concentration level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are still illegal. This has led to some confusion. Several people have been arrested for crossing state lines with cannabis when in fact they were transporting hemp.

Under the Farm Bill 2018, hemp cannot contain over 0.3 percent of THC. For those who don’t know, THC is the main compound in the cannabis plant that gives you the feeling of being “high.” Since hemp contains very low levels of THC, it doesn’t have any psychoactive effect. This is one of the reasons why it is preferred for industrial use.

Appearance
Hemp looks just like other strains of the cannabis sativa plant. The only way to differentiate them is through testing for THC levels in a laboratory.

Cultivation
Hemp is one of the most resilient crops known to mankind. It can grow in just about any soil type and does well in different climates. What’s more, it grows very fast and can be planted closely together. Unlike many other plants, hemp increases rather than depletes the nutrients in the soil. Hemp is known as “weed” because of its resilience. It can be grown easily without the need for frequent watering, herbicides or fungicides. Experts have even experimented with using this plant to combat soil pollution.

So, what does all this mean? Well, it is undoubtedly good news for farmers. Many farmers in countries where the cultivation of hemp has been legalized are already raking in huge sums of profit from it. It also means that we can expect more hemp products to pop up in stores in the years to come. The reversal of fortunes of hemp may even presage the same fate for some of its THC-high relatives.