American industrialists led by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst (who owned vast timberlands) and DuPont executives, who’d begun processing petroleum and wood for plastics, became disgruntled by the way hemp cut into their market shares. A 1994 Vegetarian Times article2 describes the group’s devastatingly successful tactics for twisting the public’s perception of hemp:
The environment in which hemp and marijuana are grown is strikingly different. Hemp is grown closely together (as close as 4 inches apart) and are typically grown in large multi-acre plots. It can also grow in variety of climates and its growth cycle is 108-120 days. Unlike hemp, marijuana requires a carefully controlled, warm, and humid atmostphere for proper growth. Its growth cycle only 60-90 days. Medical cannabis also cannot be grown too close to each other. They are typically grown 6 feet apart. If, somehow, marijuana grows among (or close to) a hemp field, the hemp’s pollen would immediateately ruin the marijuana crop, diluting marijuana’s psychoactivity.
Unlike other Cannabis sativa varieties and hybrids, which are mostly grown for their chemically potent flowers (or 'buds'), hemp is also legally distinguished from marijuana in the US as containing less than 0.3% of the cannabinoid chemical THC — considered to be the most intoxicating, psychoactive component in cannabis plants, as well as a treatment option for certain serious illnesses.
Hemp is grown in temperate zones as an annual cultivated from seed and can reach a height of up to 5 metres (16 feet). Crops grow best in sandy loam with good drainage and require average monthly rainfall of at least 65 mm (2.5 inches) throughout the growing season. Crops cultivated for fibre are densely sowed and produce plants averaging 2–3 metres (6–10 feet) tall with almost no branching. Plants grown for oilseed are planted farther apart and are shorter and many-branched. The slender stalks are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves are compound with palmate shape, and the flowers are small and greenish yellow. Seed-producing flowers form elongate, spikelike clusters growing on the pistillate, or female, plants. Pollen-producing flowers form many-branched clusters on staminate, or male, plants. Maximum yield and quality are obtained by harvesting soon after the plants reach maturity, indicated by the full blossoms and freely shedding pollen of the male plants. Although sometimes pulled up by hand, plants are more often cut off about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the ground.
Hemp, or industrial hemp (from Old English hænep), typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
The seeds are sown from mid-April to mid-May with grain drills to 4–6 cm sowing depth. Hemp needs less fertilizer than corn does. A total of 60–150 kg of nitrogen, 40–140 kg phosphorus (P2O5) and 75–200 kg of potassium  per acre for hemp fiber made before sowing and again later, maybe three to four weeks. When practiced, especially in France double use of fiber and seed fertilization with nitrogen doses up to 100 kg / ha rather low. Organic fertilizers such as manure can utilize industrial hemp well. Neither weeds nor crop protection measures are necessary.
The earliest recorded uses date from the 3rd millennium BC. Since the early 20th century, cannabis has been subject to legal restrictions. The possession, use, and sale of cannabis is illegal in most countries of the world. Medical cannabis refers to the physician-recommended use of cannabis, which takes place in Canada, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and 31 U.S. states. In September 2018 cannabis was legalized in South Africa while Canada legalized recreational use of cannabis in October 2018.
Tia has been Live Science's associate editor since 2017. Prior to that, Tia was a senior writer for the site, covering physics, archaeology and all things strange. Tia's work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Tia grew up in Texas and has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz. When she's not editing stories, Tia enjoys reading dystopian fiction and hiking.
In Canada, the methodology used for analyses and sample collection for THC analysis of hemp plantings is standardized (at the Health Canada/Therapeutics Program/Hemp web site at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb-dgps/therapeut/htmleng/hemp.html, see “Industrial Hemp Technical Manual” for procedures on sampling plant materials and chemical procedures for determining THC levels). The regulations require that one of the dozen independent laboratories licensed for the purpose conduct the analyses and report the results to Health Canada. Sample collection is also normally carried out by an independent authorized firm. The Canadian system of monitoring THC content has rigidly limited hemp cultivation to cultivars that consistently develop THC levels below 0.3%.
Hemp can be used as a "mop crop" to clear impurities out of wastewater, such as sewage effluent, excessive phosphorus from chicken litter, or other unwanted substances or chemicals. Additionally, hemp is being used to clean contaminants at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site, by way of a process which is known as phytoremediation—the process of clearing radioisotopes and a variety of other toxins from the soil, water, and air.
^ Jump up to: a b Resstel LB, Tavares RF, Lisboa SF, Joca SR, Corrêa FM, Guimarães FS (January 2009). "5-HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats". British Journal of Pharmacology. 156 (1): 181–8. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2008.00046.x. PMC 2697769. PMID 19133999.
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