While the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 had just been signed into law, the United States Department of Agriculture lifted the tax on hemp cultivation during WW II. Before WW II, the U.S. Navy used Jute and Manila Hemp from the Philippines and Indonesia for the cordage on their ships. During the war, Japan cut off those supply lines. America was forced to turn inward and revitalize the cultivation of Hemp on U.S. soils.
Hemp is the common term for a variety of plants in the Cannabis family. This beneficial and versatile plant can be turned into fibers, oil, wax, resin, cloth, fuel, and a wide range of other useful products. Hemp grows all over the world, as it is a very resilient plant which can grow in a variety of environmental conditions. The main concern that people have with edible hemp products, is that it comes from a cannabis plant. However, hemp seeds that are sold for consumption have less than 0.5% THC and are safe to eat.
Hemp crops are tall, have thick foliage, and can be planted densely, and thus can be grown as a smother crop to kill tough weeds. Using hemp this way can help farmers avoid the use of herbicides, gain organic certification, and gain the benefits of crop rotation. However, due to the plant's rapid and dense growth characteristics, some jurisdictions consider hemp a prohibited and noxious weed, much like Scotch Broom.
Hemp is possibly one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. An archeological site in the Oki Islands near Japan contained cannabis achenes from about 8000 BC, probably signifying use of the plant. Hemp use archaeologically dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on Yangshao culture pottery dating from the 5th millennium BC. The Chinese later used hemp to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper. The classical Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 480 BC) reported that the inhabitants of Scythia would often inhale the vapors of hemp-seed smoke, both as ritual and for their own pleasurable recreation.
In Japan, hemp was historically used as paper and a fiber crop. There is archaeological evidence cannabis was used for clothing and the seeds were eaten in Japan back to the Jōmon period (10,000 to 300 BC). Many Kimono designs portray hemp, or asa (Japanese: 麻), as a beautiful plant. In 1948, marijuana was restricted as a narcotic drug. The ban on marijuana imposed by the United States authorities was alien to Japanese culture, as the drug had never been widely used in Japan before. Though these laws against marijuana are some of the world's strictest, allowing five years imprisonment for possession of the drug, they exempt hemp growers, whose crop is used to make robes for Buddhist monks and loincloths for Sumo wrestlers. Because marijuana use in Japan has doubled in the past decade, these exemptions have recently been called into question.
George Washington also imported the Indian Hemp plant from Asia, which was used for fiber and, by some growers, for intoxicating resin production. In a letter to William Pearce who managed the plants for him Washington says, "What was done with the Indian Hemp plant from last summer? It ought, all of it, to be sown again; that not only a stock of seed sufficient for my own purposes might have been raised, but to have disseminated seed to others; as it is more valuable than common hemp."
Hemp seeds are easily digested by the body and is one of the most nutritious foods available in nature. They contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and proteins. Hemp seeds are such foods which can sustain our dietary needs, even if you don't consume any other healthy food. There are several hemp seeds health benefits, some of which are listed below.
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Air-dried stem yields in Ontario have from 1998 and onward ranged from 2.6–14.0 tonnes of dry, retted stalks per hectare (1–5.5 t/ac) at 12% moisture. Yields in Kent County, have averaged 8.75 t/ha (3.5 t/ac). Northern Ontario crops averaged 6.1 t/ha (2.5 t/ac) in 1998. Statistic for the European Union for 2008 to 2010 say that the average yield of hemp straw has varied between 6.3 and 7.3 ton per ha. Only a part of that is bast fiber. Around one tonne of bast fiber and 2–3 tonnes of core material can be decorticated from 3–4 tonnes of good-quality, dry-retted straw. For an annual yield of this level is it in Ontario recommended to add nitrogen (N):70–110 kg/ha, phosphate (P2O5): up to 80 kg/ha and potash (K2O): 40–90 kg/ha. The average yield of dry hemp stalks in Europe was 6 ton/ha (2.4 ton/ac) in 2001 and 2002.
Shelled hemp seeds are becoming a popular dietary supplement because of their high protein content and healthful fatty acids. Hemp seeds come from the same plants, Cannabis sativa or C. indica, that produce marijuana, although the plants are cultivated and processed differently so that hemp seeds contain very low levels of psychoactive cannabinols such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Shelled hemp seeds are generally safe, but some people may experience some undesired side effects.
The recommended minimum daily intake of Shelled Hemp Seeds is a 42 grams (4 heaping tablespoons) serving. Larger individuals or those suffering with chronic health conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardio vascular disease, acne, eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, circulation problems, intestinal problems, constipation, obesity or prostate problems (to name a few) may want to consider taking 55 grams (5 to 6 heaping tablespoons) a day.
As of December 2018, Hemp is federally legal to grow again in the United States. The government passed the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, part of the 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Donald Trump on 20 December 2018. This bill changed hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural commodity, legalizing hemp federally, which made it easier for farmers to get production licenses, get loans to grow hemp, and allowed them to get federal crop insurance. Some states still consider it illegal to grow hemp, but 41 states have begun the process to make hemp legal to grow at the state level, as of 2019.
These seeds rank high in plant-based protein as it contains 25% of high-quality protein, which makes it superior to other plant-based superfoods like quinoa, flax, and chia seeds. Furthermore, it is composed of a large number of edible oils and a variety of essential fats in the body, including omega 3 and a rare form of omega-6 called GLA (gamma linoleic acid). As per the USDA National Nutrient Database, these small seeds contain high levels of zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and fiber. It also contains vitamin E, copper, manganese, and moderate levels of carbohydrates and fats.