Speaking of Hemp

Cannabis is one of the oldest domestic plants in the history of mankind. It has been utilized for more than 10,000 years. The evidence goes back to the Stone Age.

Nathaniel Branden, a psychotherapist once said, the first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.

The change we will talk about in this post is how we perceive Cannabis.

The recollection of the word Cannabis is mainly associated with weed, bhang, ganja, marijuana, and the image of people smoking it. This perception, mixed with the marketing campaign to make it infamous, has created a taboo around it. Smoking cannabis can make you euphoric and lazy; that’s true, but so do lazy Sunday Instagram posts. On a larger scale, we are yet to explore the unlimited potential of Cannabis. Cannabis is the answer to our need for a sustainable world. Moreover, it will arm us in the fight against climate change and be helpful in our day-to-day wellbeing..

We have entirely missed out upon knowing about the industrial and medicinal usages of Cannabis (Hemp).

The plant cannabis has mainly three species: Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Cannabis Indica is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, hence the name Indica. Cannabis Sativa is popularly known as Hemp. Industrial Hemp is a Cannabis Sativa plant with THC of less than 0.3%. The THC limit of 0.3% is not universal. It depends on the local regulators. In India, the state of Uttrakhand has imposed a THC limit of 0.3% on industrial Hemp plants. While the Madhya Pradesh government proposed industrial Hemp legalization, the THC limit was at 1.5%.

What is THC? It’s an interesting character. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis plants responsible for euphoria or getting people high. Since Industrial Hemp contains a lesser amount of THC, it can’t get people high. At the same time, so many day-to-day products that are absolutely environment friendly can come from industrial Hemp.

Hemp is not new to us. We as a generation have failed to realize the potential of this god plant. Cannabis is one of the oldest domestic plants in the history of humanity. The evidence of its utilization goes back to the Stone Age. Researchers have found evidence of domestication going back to 12000 years ago.

Atharvaveda mentions Bhang (Cannabis) as one of the five most sacred plants for humankind. Hempcrete, a combination of Hemp hurds (inner bark of plant’s stem) with lime or clay, was used to build Ellora caves in Maharashtra, India. It has helped in the preservation of ancient artwork for centuries. For Indians, Bhang / Cannabis has an even deeper connection because of its roots in spirituality. Bhang, Dhatura, and Bellpatra is a ritual offering to Lord Shiva as ritual offerings. One can easily find government-authorized bhang shops in various cities of India like Noida, Varanasi, Puskar, etc.

Not just in ancient history, Cannabis was very much part of modern history as well. In 1941, Henry Ford made a car using Hemp fiber that ran on hemp fuel; this shows how remarkable Hemp can be.

This beautiful thing (Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport) features composite doors that use an organic fiber mix mainly derived from Hemp and flax that take the place of traditional carbon fiber.

Apart from the benefits mentioned above, Cannabis has multiple medicinal properties. In Ayurveda, 191 medicine formulations exist which use Cannabis leaf as an ingredient. In the early 1900s, at least 2000 Cannabis medicines were made by over 280 manufacturers in the USA.

What changed?

So far, Cannabis appears to be beneficial to us. The current mindset is stuck on the fact that all this was legal once, but now it is illegal. Well, the paradigm is changing, and it’s changing fast. Dwelling into the past over the cause of prohibition will only prolong our target of making a sustainable world through Hemp usage. The history is ancient. One can always look for anti-marijuana campaigns, but they will raise questions that will take us in circles and conspiracies not worth time.

The globe has seen and felt the taboo around Cannabis. However, the time is changing. Good days are ahead. The United States of America passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which changed industrial Hemp from a substance of abuse to an ordinary agriculture commodity. The legalization came in different phases in the US. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical Cannabis.

What is THC? It’s an interesting character. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis plants responsible for euphoria or getting people high. Since Industrial Hemp contains a lesser amount of THC, it can’t get people high. At the same time, so many day-to-day products that are absolutely environment friendly can come from industrial Hemp.

Hemp is not new to us. We as a generation have failed to realize the potential of this god plant. Cannabis is one of the oldest domestic plants in the history of humanity. The evidence of its utilization goes back to the Stone Age. Researchers have found evidence of domestication going back to 12000 years ago.

Atharvaveda mentions Bhang (Cannabis) as one of the five most sacred plants for humankind. Hempcrete, a combination of Hemp hurds (inner bark of plant’s stem) with lime or clay, was used to build Ellora caves in Maharashtra, India. It has helped in the preservation of ancient artwork for centuries. For Indians, Bhang / Cannabis has an even deeper connection because of its roots in spirituality. Bhang, Dhatura, and Bellpatra is a ritual offering to Lord Shiva as ritual offerings. One can easily find government-authorized bhang shops in various cities of India like Noida, Varanasi, Puskar, etc.

Not just in ancient history, Cannabis was very much part of modern history as well. In 1941, Henry Ford made a car using Hemp fiber that ran on hemp fuel; this shows how remarkable Hemp can be.

Then over the period, other states followed. Eventually, the Farm Bill became an Act. In 2019, the states in India, Uttrakhand & Uttar Pradesh legalized the cultivation of industrial Hemp. Madhya Pradesh, Himanchal Pradesh, Goa, and Manipur governments have announced that they are working on the same path for legalizing the cultivation of industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis.

Let’s pause the world of Hemp, its history, and its policy. Let’s focus on our present and future. Our earth is going through a phenomenon of climate change. If asked to point out what caused it, we all can pretty much sum it up. We all have contributed to it. What we are dealing with is not something that happened overnight. It won’t be miraculously gone the following day when we open our eyes. We need to live in harmony with nature by creating constructive solutions to overcome the upcoming challenges of the environment. We have dumped so much plastic out there that all we can do our whole life is collect it back and put it in a no man’s land. We can’t afford to put more plastic out. But it is also used in our day-to-day life. If we look around ourselves, we will find something made of plastic. The time has come to shift to greener alternatives. And in the same process, let me tell you something interesting about Hemp.

 

Hemp-derived bioplastics are 100% biodegradable. Hemp plants can grow to their full size in less than 100 days. In the process, it absorbs more tonnes of C02 per hectare as compared to any other crop.

Hemp is a zero-waste plant. From seed to stem, every part of the god plant is valuable. Seed oil can be extracted by cold pressing the seeds. The oil is rich in Omega 3s and 6s, which are extremely good for rejuvenating our skin. Multiple Indian startups are making skincare products by infusing hemp seed oil. Other startups are focused on various aspects of the plant. The same seed oil can be processed further to produce biodiesel as well. Hemp is also a rich source of plant-based protein-packed with antioxidants and fibers. From the plant’s stem, we can extract cellulose, which is used for making bioplastics, an alternative that we desperately need as a society. We saw Hempcrete used in Ellora caves, a new age of the home building is coming. Hempcrete-based homes are carbon neutral. As a plant, Hemp takes a lesser amount of water to grow than a typical cotton plant. Our forefathers used Hemp for clothing purposes.

Remember THC? The chemical compound is responsible for euphoria. Let’s talk about the magic that happens behind it. The human body has an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) present throughout our brain, nervous system, gut, etc. ECS promotes reactions that help in maintaining balance in our bodies. It controls our sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, mood, reproduction, and so on. Cannabinoids (constituents of the Cannabis plant) binds with the biological receptors of ECS to promote wellness.

Along with its contribution to sustainable development, Cannabis has a major role in health and wellbeing. Cannabidiol (CBD) and THC are two compounds of the Cannabis plant known for their therapeutic abilities. Cannabis extract is sometimes also called full-spectrum CBD oil when mixed with a carrier oil. It has proven significant in pain management, sleep improvement, managing conditions of Parkinson’s, post-chemotherapy care, diet improvement, and anxiety management. Studies suggest medical Cannabis can kill cancer cells. CBD-infused supplements have proven significant in dealing with anxiety and are much safer than prescribed medicines.

In the 90s, the good old Cartoon Network had a show name Captain Planet and the Planeteers. In the show, five special youngsters possess five different rings to fight eco-villains. But when they can’t do it all by themselves, they would combine their ring power — fire, earth, water, wind, and heart and Captain Planet would come to help them. The fact is no Captain Planet is coming for us. But the eco-villains are true. We are the Captain Planet for ourselves.

We have to push forward and build a world that resonates with nature and caters to our present and future needs. Cannabis has its roots in our past, relevance to our present, and importance for our future. The Flourishment of a Cannabis (Hemp) driven economy will strengthen the agriculture sector. It will enable consumers to use products that are environmentally friendly and contribute towards the goal of sustainable development. It is a win-win situation for humans and nature.

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We have to push forward and build a world that resonates with nature and caters to our present and future needs. Cannabis has its roots in our past, relevance to our present, and importance for our future. The Flourishment of a Cannabis (Hemp) driven economy will strengthen the agriculture sector. It will enable consumers to use products that are environmentally friendly and contribute towards the goal of sustainable development. It is a win-win situation for humans and nature.

References:

 
  1. Hemp cultivation: Uttarakhand’s plan to hand out licences to grow the plant is a welcome step for farmers’ livelihood: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/hemp-cultivation-uttarakhands-plan-to-hand-out-licences-to-grow-the-plant-is-a-welcome-step-for-farmers-livelihood/articleshow/50249456.cms?from=mdr

  2. After Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh Set To Legalize Cultivation Of Cannabis For Medical Purposes: https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/madhya-pradesh-set-to-legalize-cultivation-of-cannabis-for-medical-purposes-500887.html

  3. Cannabis Among Oldest Cultivated Plants, First Grown 12,000 Years Ago in China: Study: https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/cannabis-among-oldest-cultivated-plants-first-grown-12000-years-ago-in-china-study-3984944.html

  4. Bhang ganja cannabis neither sin crime land lord shiva: https://www.sanskritimagazine.com/india/bhang-ganja-cannabis-neither-sin-crime-land-lord-shiva/

  5. New Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport featuring natural-fibre body panels: https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/products/porsche-world-premiere-new-718-cayman-gt4-clubsport-16733.html

  6. Vijaya (Cannabis sativa Linn. ) and its therapeutic importance in Ayurveda; a review: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282317397_Vijaya_Cannabis_sativa_Linn_and_its_therapeutic_importance_in_Ayurveda_a_review

  7. Himachal to legalise cannabis cultivation to boost economy: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/himachal-to-legalise-cannabis-cultivation-to-boost-economy-101616413074575.html

  8. Goa govt considering legalising cannabis cultivation, opposition sees red: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/himachal-to-legalise-cannabis-cultivation-to-boost-economy-101616413074575.html

  9. Hemp shielding Ellora caves from decay for 1,500 years: Study : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hemp-shielding-ellora-caves-from-decay-for-1500-years-study/articleshow/51334725.cms

  10. A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System: https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system

  11. Tests show potential for medicinal cannabis to kill cancer cells: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured/tests-show-potential-for-medicinal-cannabis-to-kill-cancer-cells

 
 

 

 

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