It’s detractors would have you believe that the plant or it’s use is at it’s worst akin to being in league with the devil himself. Among the many things it is said to have caused is Rape, Murder, Child Abuse, Mental Illness, among a slew of medical ailments.
It’s proponents are generally falling into one of three camps. Industrial Hemp, Medical Marijuana, and Recreational Marijuana. While each of the groups would like to see the other succeed in their actions many times they oppose each other when they shouldn’t be.
The problem comes from a single chemical found in the Cannabis Plant THC. THC is the active psychoactive chemical associated with the high that people get from ingesting or smoking the plant or it’s extracts. THC is a drug that has been made synthetically pure in a pill or liquid form, is FDA approved, and is available from the pharmacy for certain medical conditions. The DEA doesn’t even really track how much THC is made or used in the US, it’s a low schedule drug. However when it comes to the plant well it’s a totally different situation.
So what’s the problem. Hemp proponents would have you believe that Cannabis with a THC content below a certain percentage is “Hemp” and not Marijuana. They believe that by reducing the THC content of the plant to a point that it isn’t desirable for medical or recreational purposes that they will be able to grow the plant and use if for it’s industrial purposes. They hope that this will allow the mass cultivation of Cannabis across the United States and world.
While it’s true that Cannabis can be breed to have a low THC content, it’s the fiber and other parts of the plant including the tops that contain the multi-level value that farmers need to succeed with the crop. Fiber content can be breed into the plant just as THC can be breed out, but no one knows if the fiber is being affected by the concentration on THC content. Look at it this way, Breeders of plants for cultivation do not look at the chemical makeup of the plant they look at what it is their customers want. In the case of Cannabis there are customers for all parts of the plant from it’s fiber to it’s various Cannabinoids.
Cannabis is a unique plant. You can grow Cannabis in a manner similar to how industrial Cannabis is grown and produce not only high quality fiber, hurds, but also the top itself for medical and recreational purposes. Looking at a field of Cannabis you can not determine if it is low THC Cannabis or High THC Cannabis. It’s simply not possible. So the THC content of the field only is important to law enforcement. This would be absurd if applied to other crops. There is no evidence that the THC content of Cannabis produces anything better than any other variety of Cannabis.
There is no reason to breed out the THC from Cannabis for the crop to be successful. Actually the cultivation of large quantities of low THC Cannabis near medical or recreational Cannabis will result in crossbreeding. This crossbreeding will result in seed stock of each grower that has a THC content different from that of it’s original plants and presents all kinds of problems.
There is no reason, other than political, to regulate the amount of THC that can be produced by a Cannabis plant to determine it’s use. Cannabis is Cannabis, while there might be varietal differences just as there is with all other crops and plants, doesn’t change the fact that it is still Cannabis.
For government to set an arbitrary limit on the THC content for it to be “Industrial Hemp” is insanity at it’s finest. For proponents of the use of Cannabis for it’s industrial applications to allow this is even more insane. It’s not known how THC interacts with the fiber quality, quantity and other factors of the plants ability to survive diseases. For THC to be used as something that needs to be controlled is simply not going to work in the long run.
It’s time for Industrial Cannabis people to stop hiding behind the word Hemp and make any attempt to discriminate themselves into legalization. I say this from being an Industrial Hemp Advocate. For years I focused on it’s industrial applications. When pushed I said it’s possible to breed out THC and that many countries had, but it wasn’t necessary. It gave me an opportunity but the opportunity has been used and worked. I personally talked more about Industrial use than even Medical use. Now, Cannabis is Cannabis, is Cannabis you simply can’t have one without the other as they are so inter-related that the more we discover the more we may regret allowing low THC Cannabis to be something different than the Medical and Recreationally used Cannabis.