By Chris Kilham
Hemp is a low THC variety of the plant Cannabis sativa, which is also known as marijuana. While marijuana is psychoactive and imparts a high, hemp does not do so. You cannot get high using hemp in any manner, regardless of the quantity.
Hemp is a crop that has been grown since antiquity, and the fiber made from hemp cloth is a major component of the U.S. Constitution, the original United States flags, and virtually all sail cloth up until the last fifty years or so. Henry Ford once built a car, the body of which was made largely of hemp plastic, which was as strong as steel.
During World War II, the United States had a nationwide program and government-sponsored black and white film entitled “Hemp for Victory,” which implored all American farmers to grow hemp as a crop to supply the U.S. military with badly needed rope, cordage and cloth. To an extent, hemp made a great contribution to the Allied war effort in World War II.
Hemp provides high quality fiber for the purposes of cord and cloth, and makes an excellent source of biomass for ethanol production. Hemp clothing is almost impossible to wear out, and hemp paper is remarkably strong and durable. Hemp does not require pesticides to thrive, making it an excellent crop from an environmental standpoint. Though the plant’s cultivation is not allowed in the U.S., it is cultivated in China, Canada, Chile and North Korea on a commercial scale, and so hemp products are available on the world market.