Holistically Organized Multidisciplinary Endeavors Farm

What is Hemp?

Home Farm's quick and easy guide to hemp and all it's benefits. What is the difference between CBD, marijuana, and hemp? Read here to find out and learn more.

What is Hemp and Why Should you Care?

You’ve heard about the legalization of medical marijuana in many US states, and you’ve heard of people taking CBD for various ailments.  Many companies, including Lego, are promising to use more hemp in their products.  But where do all these products intersect?  What’s the difference between CBD, hemp, and marijuana?

Cannabis Sativa

Marijuana and hemp are the same plant; Cannabis Sativa.  The difference is that marijuana is grown as a medicinal and recreational crop, that can contain various amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), anywhere from .3%, which has no psychoactive effect, to 34% on the super strong end.  It is what you’re familiar with when you think of people smoking pot, weed, or that ridiculous term reefer, to relax.

Hemp, on the other hand, is mostly grown as a commodity crop, just like corn and soybeans, but hemp has many reports of health improvements as well.  Hemp, by law, has less than .3% THC.  It is grown for a plethora of uses, one especially for its magic little substance called CBD, Cannabidiol.  CBD cannabis typically has 5-20% CBD.

Disclaimer: The term marijuana is a thing of the past.  It was largely unheard of until the 1930’s when the federal government’s war on drugs infamously tried to defame the plant and it’s use.  Let’s call it what it is, people.  From here on out, we’ll refer to this plant as either THC cannabis, or hemp.

That’s the difference by the numbers.  Now here’s a bunch of really fun legal stuff.  Hemp was legalized as a commodity crop per the Farm Bill in 2018.  Currently (Nov 2019) hemp is planted in 128,320 acres in the US, quadrupled from last year (USDA).  In Oklahoma, one must obtain a license through a University or partnership to grow industrial hemp.  The plants must be tested to be sure they are within the legal limits of THC (<.3% dry weight).

As far as THC cannabis is concerned, on the federal level, “marijuana” is illegal.  However, 33 states have legalized it for medical use, and 11 states have legalized for recreational use.  If you’re reading this after 2019, there is a good chance this number has increased.  A THC cannabis farmer must also have a permit to grow and produce the plant in the few states where it is legal to do so.

Photo: Chris McGath

Why Should You Care?

Visions of high school are dancing in my head as I write this.  My sophomore year, I made a poster and gave a presentation on the uses of hemp.  If only I knew then what I know today!  I don’t think I even breached the topic of CBD back then, though it has been studied since the 1960s.


Industrial hemp can replace virtually anything made from cotton, and it uses far less water to do so (1, 2, 3).  When you think about the impacts of tree production for paper products, it seems obvious that hemp is a more environmentally friendly choice.  Hemp as paper can be recycled more times than paper from trees (Hemp vs Trees).

Hemp can also be used for textiles, rope, clothing, fuel, and food.  Lots of skin care and beauty products utilize it too.  Environmentally conscious folks will cheer when we replace plastics with hemp and create efficient biofuels.  We’re especially excited to see all the uses it has in natural building, such as; hempcrete, hemp fibers in earthen floors and insulation, and cob.  It can be used in the structural integrity of our earthbag home, the hats we wear to keep us warm, the rug we sit on to play blocks, and even the paper to wipe our asses.

Health Benefits

Studies have shown that CBD has around 30 proven health benefits.  These are the most well-known and studied:

Osteoarthritis pain relief

Increased Effectiveness (Opposite of Tolerance)

Heart Health (CBD effects platelet aggregation)

Encourages Neuroplasticity (Cool post on 5 ways CBD can boost our brains)

Muscle Relaxer

Treatment for several autoimmune disorders including Hashimoto’s, Lupus, and Chrohn’s

Digestive Aid

Drug Withdrawal and Addiction relief

Nicotine smoking cessation (Smoke CBD instead!)

Seizures and Epilepsy treatment

Migraine and chronic headache relief

PMS and Menopause symptoms relief


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (Thorough article with recommended oil brands)

Anti Inflammatory

Antioxidant properties

Nausea and vomiting relief

PTSD (really scientific paper for you nerds)



Depression (All you need to know from Depression Alliance)


Anxiety specific to public speaking (cool article)

And a few more that aren’t exactly proven yet, but…

Decrease in fear reaction

May speed up muscle recovery

Reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity

Treatment of HIV-1

In case you care what the FDA thinks about all this, CBD is primarily sold as a supplement, which is not regulated, so you’ll see this popular note on most CBD products: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnosetreatcure, or prevent any disease.” Do your own research folks.

How is it taken?

CBD can be ingested orally, via an oil tincture, sublingual droppers or sprays, chewables or gummies.  It can also be applied topically (look in the beauty aisle of your health food store).  Or it can be vaped, or the cured flower can be smoked, similar to smoking a joint of marijuana.  People trying to quit smoking cigarettes will find this last method particularly effective.  Here’s a cool CBD dosage calculator!

What’s next for Hemp?

Think BIG!  Hemp and CBD products are exploding in popularity right now.  Hemp can be used in phytoremediation, aka; cleaning the soil!  It was planted around the Chernobyl disaster in the 80’s for this purpose and can be planted around Superfund sites to absorb toxic metals such as Cadmium. (Soil & Hemp).

Lego is one of a handful of noteworthy companies pledging to use more hemp. (Read more)

Biofuels.  There is great potential for hemp to be a biofuel crop because of it’s hardiness and drought tolerance.  However, it also has the potential to become the next genetically modified monoculture.  What we want is for hemp to be grown sustainably and even regeneratively if it is going to become a fuel source.

Hemp Beer!  New Belgium Brewing Co has a tasty beer called the Hemperor.  On a whole other level, there are also THC infused beers, such as Lagunitas’ HiFi Hops which contain 10 milligrams THC per bottle, or the CBD version, which has 5mg THC and 5mg CBD. Weirdly, it is non alcoholic.  We’re looking forward to more unique tasty CBD infusions.

Welcome to the Hemp Revolution!

Leave a Reply

16 thoughts on “What is Hemp?”

  1. Sounds almost too good to be true! I remember school lessons (we won’t say how long ago) that spoke of hemp as it is used in clothing, ropes, and textiles. So glad to hear that there are amazing additional uses related to the CBD content. Happy hemping!!

  2. Hey, thanks for sharing this information and you have explained every magical aspect of CBD. We should try to use natural ailments for ourselves as they are safe and healthy for body. I am also in this field, and I wish we should all spread awareness about CBD.

  3. I had no idea that anything made from cotton can be replaced by industrial hemp. My brother told me hemp was only good for inhaling or ingesting. It’s good to know that it has industrial purposes too.

  4. It’s insane that Marijuana isn’t legal everywhere, yet i can legally go by a cigar across my street and pollute the earth and everyone around me. This world is so goofy. We’re all just tall kids still telling each other what to do


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share On:

Get Posts like These in Your Inbox

Hey.  I’m Alison; author, artist, and off-grid homeschooling mama of three.  I love painting, exploring the outdoors, and a hoppy IPA.  My partner and I work together to bring this website and blog to you.  We hope you enjoy!