Israel, another example, has led the way with ground-breaking research into cannabis cultivation. The country recently recognized medical marijuana as an official part of the nation’s branch of agriculture. Israel is already one of the world’s leading exporters of medical-grade cannabis. Recognizing marijuana cultivation as an official branch of the country’s agriculture will open up even more funds to support Israeli cannabis farmers.

Hemp allows farmers to build a livelihood from a crop that’s both good for the environment and the growers themselves. Hemp puts back nitrogen into the soil. Cotton, on the other hand, can deplete the land’s nutrients, especially if not rotated with other crops. Unlike cotton which produces shorter fibers, hemp, though brittle when dry, thrives when it’s wet, explains Derek Thomas, co-founder of Hemp Blue, a LA-based startup producing hemp-based jeans, jackets, and shirts. The long, wet fibers don’t break, but actually grow in strength, he says. Hemp’s longer, wet fibers have greater durability than cotton, which has short fibers that need to be spun and woven.
Hemp is a bast fiber crop, i.e. the most desirable (“long”) fibers are found in the phloem-associated tissues external to the phloem, just under the “bark.” The traditional and still major first step in fiber extraction is to ret (“rot”) away the softer parts of the plant, by exposing the cut stems to microbial decay in the field (“dew retting,” shown in Figs. 46 and 47) or submerged in water (“water retting, ” shown in Fig. 13). The result is to slough off the outer parts of the stem and to loosen the inner woody core (the “hurds”) from the phloem fibers (Fig. 14). Water retting has been largely abandoned in countries where labor is expensive or environmental regulations exist. Water retting, typically by soaking the stalks in ditches, can lead to a high level of pollution. Most hemp fiber used in textiles today is water retted in China and Hungary. Retting in tanks rather than in open bodies of water is a way of controlling the effluents while taking advantage of the high-quality fiber that is produced. Unlike flax, hemp long fiber requires water retting for preparation of high-quality spinnable fibers for production of fine textiles. Improved microorganisms or enzymes could augment or replace traditional water retting. Steam explosion is another potential technology that has been experimentally applied to hemp (Garcia-Jaldon et al. 1998). Decorticated material (i.e. separated at least into crude fiber) is the raw material, and this is subjected to steam under pressure and increased temperature which “explodes” (separates) the fibers so that one has a more refined (thinner) hemp fiber that currently is only available from water retting. Even when one has suitably separated long fiber, specialized harvesting, processing, spinning and weaving equipment are required for preparing fine hemp textiles. The refinement of equipment and new technologies are viewed as offering the possibility of making fine textile production practical in western Europe and North America, but at present China controls this market, and probably will remain dominant for the foreseeable future.
In the United States, non-FDA approved CBD products are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.[63] This means that production, distribution, and possession of non-FDA approved CBD products is illegal under federal law. In addition, in 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration added "marijuana extracts" to the list of Schedule I drugs, which it defined as "an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant."[64] Previously, CBD had simply been considered "marijuana", which is a Schedule I drug.[63][65]

The gateway effect may appear due to social factors involved in using any illegal drug. Because of the illegal status of cannabis, its consumers are likely to find themselves in situations allowing them to acquaint with individuals using or selling other illegal drugs.[256][257] Utilizing this argument some studies have shown that alcohol and tobacco may additionally be regarded as gateway drugs;[258] however, a more parsimonious explanation could be that cannabis is simply more readily available (and at an earlier age) than illegal hard drugs. In turn alcohol and tobacco are easier to obtain at an earlier point than is cannabis (though the reverse may be true in some areas), thus leading to the "gateway sequence" in those individuals since they are most likely to experiment with any drug offered.[249]


In November 2015, Uttarakhand became the first state of India to legalize the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes.[223] Usage within the Hindu and Buddhist cultures of the Indian subcontinent is common, with many street vendors in India openly selling products infused with cannabis, and traditional medical practitioners in Sri Lanka selling products infused with cannabis for recreational purposes and well as for religious celebrations.[224] It was criminalized in the Indian subcontinent by the Dutch and then the British. India and Sri Lanka have allowed cannabis to be taken in the context of traditional culture for recreational/celebratory purposes and also for medicinal purposes.[224]
The US Office of National Drug control Policy issued a statement on industrial hemp in 1997 (www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/policy/hemp%5Fold.html) which included the following: “Our primary concern about the legalization of the cultivation of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is the message it would send to the public at large, especially to our youth at a time when adolescent drug use is rising rapidly... The second major concern is that legalizing hemp production may mean the de facto legalization of marijuana cultivation. Industrial hemp and marijuana are the product of the same plant, Cannabis sativa... Supporters of the hemp legalization effort claim hemp cultivation could be profitable for US farmers. However, according to the USDA and the US Department of Commerce, the profitability of industrial hemp is highly uncertain and probably unlikely. Hemp is a novelty product with limited sustainable development value even in a novelty market... For every proposed use of industrial hemp, there already exists an available product, or raw material, which is cheaper to manufacture and provides better market results.... Countries with low labor costs such as the Philippines and China have a competitive advantage over any US hemp producer.”
Selective breeding of cannabis plants has expanded and diversified as commercial and therapeutic markets develop. Some growers in the U.S. succeeded in lowering the proportion of CBD-to-THC to accommodate customers who preferred varietals that were more mind-altering due to the higher THC and lower CBD content.[58] Hemp is classified as any part of the cannabis plant containing no more than 0.3% THC in dry weight form (not liquid or extracted form).[59]

An in vitro study of the effect of CBD on programmed cell death in breast cancer cell lines found that CBD induced programmed cell death, independent of the CB1, CB2, or vanilloid receptors. CBD inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines, inducing apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner while having little effect on nontumorigenic mammary cells.[18] Other studies have also shown the antitumor effect of cannabinoids (i.e., CBD and THC) in preclinical models of breast cancer.[19,20]
Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for making rope and sail canvas. In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing or, as indicated in Mount Vernon records, used in repairing the large seine nets Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac.
With respect to fiber, a “composite” is often defined as a material consisting of 30%–70% fiber and 70%–30% matrix (Bolton 1995). However, in North America particleboards and fiberboards, which generally contain less than 10% adhesive or matrix, are sometimes referred to as composites. This section addresses plastic-type composites. In plastics, fibers are introduced to improve physical properties such as stiffness, impact resistance, bending and tensile strength. Man-made fibers of glass, kevlar and carbon are most commonly used today, but plant fibers offer considerable cost savings along with comparable strength properties.

Ten years ago hemp cultivation was illegal in Germany, England, Canada, Australia, and other countries. Essential to overcoming governmental reluctance in each country was the presentation of an image that was business-oriented, and conservative. The merits of environmentalism have acquired some political support, but unless there is a reasonable possibility that hemp cultivation is perceived as potentially economically viable, there is limited prospect of having anti-hemp laws changed. Strong support from business and farm groups is indispensable; support from pro-marijuana interests and what are perceived of as fringe groups is generally counterproductive. It is a combination of prospective economic benefit coupled with assurance that hemp cultivation will not detrimentally affect the enforcement of marijuana legislation that has led most industrially advanced countries to reverse prohibitions against growing hemp. Should the US permit commercial hemp cultivation to resume, it will likely be for the same reasons.


In a new short film produced by Patagonia, Harvesting Liberty, Michael Lewis, a veteran and hemp grower in Kentucky, shares his encounter with the DEA. In 2014, after the passage of the Farm Bill, Lewis was keen to plant hemp in Kentucky. “[But] the DEA didn’t agree that we had a right to plant the crop. They said they would arrest us,” he says in the film. The matter ended up in the Louisville court, where a judge sided with the farmers. “[We] took our seeds up, got them registered and certified, and threw them into the ground before anyone could change their mind,” Lewis says.

Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel.[5] The bast fibers can be used to make textiles that are 100% hemp, but they are commonly blended with other fibers, such as flax, cotton or silk, as well as virgin and recycled polyester, to make woven fabrics for apparel and furnishings. The inner two fibers of the plant are more woody and typically have industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. When oxidized (often erroneously referred to as "drying"), hemp oil from the seeds becomes solid and can be used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds have been used in bird feed mix as well.[13] A survey in 2003 showed that more than 95% of hemp seed sold in the European Union was used in animal and bird feed.[14]

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