According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), "the amount of THC present in a cannabis sample is generally used as a measure of cannabis potency." The three main forms of cannabis products are the flower, resin (hashish), and oil (hash oil). The UNODC states that cannabis often contains 5% THC content, resin "can contain up to 20% THC content", and that "Cannabis oil may contain more than 60% THC content."
It has been contended that hemp is notably superior to most crops in terms of biomass production, but van der Werf (1994b) noted that the annual dry matter yield of hemp (rarely approaching 20 t/ha) is not exceptional compared to maize, beet, or potato. Nevertheless, hemp has been rated on a variety of criteria as one of the best crops available to produce energy in Europe (Biewinga and van der Bijl 1996). Hemp, especially the hurds, can be burned as is or processed into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline through pyrolysis (destructive distillation). As with maize, hemp can also be used to create ethanol. However, hemp for such biomass purposes is a doubtful venture in North America. Conversion of hemp biomass into fuel or alcohol is impractical on this continent, where there are abundant supplies of wood, and energy can be produced relatively cheaply from a variety of sources. Mallik et al. (1990) studied the possibility of using hemp for “biogas” (i.e. methane) production, and concluded that it was unsuitable for this purpose. Pinfold Consulting (1998) concluded that while there may be some potential for hemp biomass fuel near areas where hemp is cultivated, “a fuel ethanol industry is not expected to develop based on hemp.”
One of the reasons hemp fiber has been valued is because of its length. The primary bast fibers in the bark are 5–40 mm long, and are amalgamated in fiber bundles which can be 1–5 m long (secondary bast fibers are about 2 mm long). The woody core fibers are short—about 0.55 mm—and like hardwood fibers are cemented together with considerable lignin. The core fibers are generally considered too short for high grade paper applications (a length of 3 mm is considered ideal), and too much lignin is present. While the long bast fibers have been used to make paper almost for 2 millennia, the woody core fibers have rarely been so used. Nevertheless it has been suggested that the core fibers could be used for paper making, providing appropriate technology was developed (de Groot et al. 1998). In any event, the core fibers, have found a variety of uses, as detailed below. The long, lignin-poor bast fibers also have considerable potential to be used in many non-paper, non-textile applications, as noted below.
Medical marijuana can soothe nausea and increase appetite, quiet pain, soothe anxiety and even reduce epileptic seizures. Other research on the healing effects of cannabis is being examined. For example, research suggests that THC may be able to improve memory according to a 2016 study on mice. More than half of the United States has legalized marijuana for medical use.
Nevertheless, every bit of this ancient plant is useful and valuable, and not just for rope, but for textiles, auto parts, cosmetics, dynamite, supplements, food, and medicine. In ancient China, hemp seed was regarded as food for the lower classes, and in Europe, a peanut butter-like spread was made from the seeds, in both cases with the hulls intact.
So-called “pure hybrids,” while oxymoronic in name, indicate marijuana strains that are believed to offer a perfect blend or balance of sativa’s energizing and indica’s sedating effects. Other hybrid strains of cannabis tend to place the emphasis on one end of the spectrum or the other. These are called “sativa-dominant” or “indica-dominant,” accordingly.
The way I see it, the marriage of China’s position as the world’s supplier of hemp -- and its burgeoning semiconductor industry -- could be the key to China’s hegemony over the microchip industry. Semiconductors are traditionally made using silicon. Graphene semiconductors, however, could one day lead to computers that are a thousand times faster, consume significantly less power and are smaller than silicon semiconductors used in computer transistors. In application, graphene’s dwindling supply and costly manufacturing issues would still exist. Putting this all together, Mitlin’s research has sparked interest in the potential for hemp to create the next-generation semiconductor.
Preclinical research suggests that emetic circuitry is tonically controlled by endocannabinoids. The antiemetic action of cannabinoids is believed to be mediated via interaction with the 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (5-HT3) receptor. CB1 receptors and 5-HT3 receptors are colocalized on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurons, where they have opposite effects on GABA release. There also may be direct inhibition of 5-HT3 gated ion currents through non–CB1 receptor pathways. CB1 receptor antagonists have been shown to elicit emesis in the least shrew that is reversed by cannabinoid agonists. The involvement of CB1 receptor in emesis prevention has been shown by the ability of CB1 antagonists to reverse the effects of THC and other synthetic cannabinoid CB1 agonists in suppressing vomiting caused by cisplatin in the house musk shrew and lithium chloride in the least shrew. In the latter model, CBD was also shown to be efficacious.[37,38]
But there’s a big difference between the two. Hemp seed oil has been pressed from hemp seed, and it’s great for a lot of things – it’s good for you, tastes great, and can be used in soap, paint – even as biodiesel fuel. However, hemp seed oil does not contain any concentration of cannabinoids at all, including CBD. So by all means, stock up at your local natural food store. Just don’t expect to reap the benefits of a true CBD oil when you cook with hemp seed oil.
Cannabis lowers the pressure in the eye that causes optic nerve damage leading to glaucoma. Research has shown conclusively that marijuana users experience lower internal eye pressure while the body metabolizes THC. However, the psychoactive side effects of using THC to treat glaucoma make cannabis a nonviable medication for most people with the disease.
On the other hand, marijuana-derived CBD and anything else derived from a cannabis plant was still classified by the DEA as a Schedule I drug (defined as a drug with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse") until October 2018. In 2016, the DEA stated that all extracts containing more than one cannabinoid would remain classified as Schedule I. However, the approval of Epidiolex had an influence in changing this, and prescription CBD drugs with a THC content of below 0.1% have now been reclassified as Schedule 5, the lowest rating.
A mixture of fiberglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used since 2002 to make composite panels for automobiles. The choice of which bast fiber to use is primarily based on cost and availability. Various car makers are beginning to use hemp in their cars, including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Iveco, Lotus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen and Volvo. For example, the Lotus Eco Elise and the Mercedes C-Class both contain hemp (up to 20 kg in each car in the case of the latter).
Finding cultivars suited to local conditions is a key to success. Hemp prefers warm growing conditions, and the best European fiber strains are photoperiodically adapted to flowering in southern Europe, which provides seasons of at least 4 months for fiber, and 5.5 months for seed production. Asian land races are similarly adapted to long seasons. In Canada, many of the available cultivars flower too late in the season for fiber production, and the same may be predicted for the northern US. Fiber production should also be governed by availability of moisture throughout the season, and the need for high humidity in the late summer and fall for retting, so that large areas of the interior and west of North America are not adapted to growing fiber hemp. The US Corn Belt has traditionally been considered to be best for fiber hemp. There are very few cultivars dedicated to oilseed production (such as ‘Finola’ and ‘Anka’) or that at least are known to produce good oilseed crops (such as ‘Fasamo’ and ‘Uniko-B’). Oilseed production was a specialty of the USSR, and there is some likelihood that northern regions of North America may find short-season, short-stature oilseed cultivars ideal.
One of the most significant developments for the North American hemp industry was investment in hemp products by Anita and Gordon Roddick, founders of The Body Shop, a well known international chain of hair and body care retailers. This was a rather courageous and principled move that required overcoming American legal obstacles related to THC content. The Body Shop now markets an impressive array of hemp nutraceutical cosmetics (Fig. 39), and this has given the industry considerable credibility. The Body Shop has reported gross sales of about a billion dollars annually, and that about 4% of sales in 2000 were hemp products.