Monday, September 29, 2014

Hemp Oil May Protect The Heart and Prevent Heart Disease

By Heather McClees

Hemp Oil May Protect The Heart and Prevent Heart Disease

(TRFW News) Hempseed and hempseed oil are two items you may want to add to your heart-healthy regime if you haven’t done so already. According to a recent study with the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, hemp’s healthy fats are not just good for your brain, they’re also great for your ticker too! (1)

How hempseed and hempseed oil benefit the heart

The effects are still in the early studies but so far, hempseed oil has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease due to the healthy omega 3 fatty acids hemp contains. The omega 3’s found in hemp come from the ALA (alpha linolenic acid) that hemp and other seeds like flax and chia contain. These healthy fats have been proven over the years to lower the risk of heart disease and are commonly recommended now in a heart-healthy diet. They’re also a good source of fiber and antioxidants. (1)
When it comes to hempseed oil specifically, researchers have found it’s the specific sterols in the oil that do the magic for preventing heart problems. Sterols are basically steroid alcohols found in plants that lower cholesterol and platelet aggregation. (1) Hempseed oil also contains tocopherols, that improves the risk of degenerative heart diseases and Alzheimer’s, along with phytols, a type of sterol that contains antioxidants and even lower the risks of cancer. (1)

Addressing concerns about hemp

One of the most commonly asked questions about hempseed is if it contains THC, the drug that induces a high, which found is found in the marijuana plant. While hemp is a derivative of the cannabis (marijuana) plant, it does not produce a drug like effect and will not cause someone to test positive on a drug test. (2)
Hemp contains less than .0001% THC content, but the U.S. has banned the production of it since the 1930’s, though it is allowed to be used and sold through both food and material-based products like textiles. (1) Most hemp today is produced in Canada, where it was legalized in 1998 and is now sold to the U.S. from for textiles and items such as vegan protein powders and superfoods. (2)

How much hempseed oil is needed to benefit the heart?

When it comes to hemp use for heart health, just one or two servings a day is all it takes. That would be anywhere from 1-2 tablespoons of raw organic hempseed oil or 3 tablespoons of raw organic hempseeds.
Hemp also contains a large dose of magnesium, B vitamins, and protein so it may also offer other health benefits that improve the body and heart on other levels. Just be sure if you purchase hemp that you purchase raw and organic brands whenever you can. (3)
Sources for this article include:
Image Source:

People of the Hemp, Part 2: Criminalizing Traditional Teachings

By Alysa Landry

Tracy Johnson consoles his mother in 1957 when the New York Power Authority 
seized Tuscarora land.

Four times a day, Crandy Johnson prays in his Native Tuscarora language and uses a homemade tincture made from traditional herbs.
Crandy, 72, and his brother Tracy, 74, are second-generation metal-workers who spent their working years as “steelwalkers,” perched atop skyscrapers, bridges and other structures from New York to Alaska during the construction boom after World War II. During an interview in Tracy’s home on the Tuscarora reservation in northwestern New York, the brothers talked fondly of their career.
“We did everything,” Tracy said. “We were on top of buildings and pipelines and people would look at us like we were crazy. It was scary but exhilarating.”
Now Crandy, who receives chemotherapy treatments for cancer, is facing a different fear. Since time immemorial, the Tuscarora grew hemp and used the plant for all aspects of life, he said. Hemp was used for rope, clothing and shelter. It also has hundreds of medicinal purposes.
Yet if Crandy grows or uses hemp—or any other form of cannabis, including the marijuana he claims would save his life—he could face local, state or federal criminal charges. And the danger is very real: the Johnson brothers have been raided six times by local law enforcement officers or the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
“We have been arrested six times,” Crandy said. “We could face 30 years in prison for a sacred herb that was given to us for a reason, to heal us and give us clothing.”
Crandy Johnson and his brother Tracy. (
Crandy Johnson and his brother Tracy. (
Traditional Use
Laws criminalizing the use of hemp go contrary to traditional teachings, Crandy said. Although botanists and historians quarrel over whether cannabis was native to America, the Tuscaroras’ creation story tells of the origin of the seed.
The creator placed the Tuscarora on the land and gave them divine instructions to take care of the land. Meanwhile, a tree grew in the Sky World. Beneath the tree was a great hole, through which a pregnant woman fell. As she fell, she grasped at the tree and brought with her some of the seeds, along with instructions for how to use it.
“As Tuscarora, we were deemed protectors of the seed,” Crandy said. “We have an inherent right to own it and use it.”
The Tuscarora, whose name means “hemp-gatherers” or “shirt-wearers”—references to the rich traditions involving hemp—was the final tribe to join the Iroquois Confederacy. The tribes comprising the confederacy, also called Six Nations or Haudenosaunee, are native to New York and were instrumental in fighting the Revolutionary War—on both sides of the conflict.
The Iroquois Confederacy also contributed to early American government. The U.S. Constitution borrowed liberally from the Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace.
Eleven years after the Revolutionary War ended, George Washington signed the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, which guaranteed the Six Nations rights to their land and a life “free and undisturbed.” The treaty also forged a “permanent friendship” with the tribes.
Crandy points to this treaty as evidence that the Tuscarora should be allowed to grow and use cannabis.
“We have a treaty signed by George Washington giving us this right,” he said. “Washington called the Tuscarora and the Oneida for help, and we had an obligation to answer. Then he had an obligation to protect our way of life.”
Despite legal threats against him, Crandy argues that his medical condition, tradition and a historic treaty all guarantee him the right to all forms of cannabis.
“God created us to be self-healers, and that’s why he created all these herbs,” he said. “That’s why our hemp is so sacred to us.”
Traditional Use Disputed
However, not all Tuscarora agree that the modern-day uses of cannabis are based in tradition. Hemp, which comes from the cannabis plant, was used for rope, clothing and shelter. Its cousin, marijuana, comes from the same plant but is bred specifically for its flowers and leaves, which are used for recreational and medicinal purposes.
According to Rick Hill, who is Tuscarora and has studied the tribe’s origins as coordinator of the Indigenous Knowledge Center at Six Nations Polytechnic, in Ontario, Canada, says there is no evidence that Tuscarora ever smoked marijuana.
“Modern-day marijuana did not exist back then,” he said. “There’s no record in oral or written histories of hemp being smoked by any of the Six Nations. There were different kinds of native hemp plants, and the one our ancestors used did not have the hallucinogenic qualities.”
The hemp seed delivered from the Sky World produced fibers used to make yarn or string, Hill said. It was used to weave all kinds of things.
“When you look back in history, hemp was used as caulk between the boards in ships,” he said. “It was a rope-making material, and when the Tuscarora were in North Carolina, they wove long shirts with a very loose weave. They were called the people of the long shirts because those shirts were very distinctive. They were not called hemp people because they were smoking it.”
Hemp can be used to make rope, like this. (Wikipedia)
Hemp can be used to make rope, like this. (Wikipedia)
Differing interpretations aside, the conflict is not unique to the Tuscarora, or to American Indians who historically have been categorized as smoking “peace pipes” and using other plants like peyote for spiritual purposes. The legalization of marijuana—still defined by the White House as an illicit drug—is the topic of national debates, with scientists, doctors, politicians and even Hollywood celebrities weighing in.
Yet for Tracy and Crandy Johnson, who both have grown and used marijuana for medical or ceremonial purposes, a denial of that right is akin to the loss of Native land.
“At one point all this was solid hemp,” Tracy said, gesturing with his arms to encompass the original Iroquois land. “In my life, I have watched a form of life die. I have watched it die.”

The hype around around hemp continues


Industrial hemp (iHemp) may have the potential to be the next big thing in the agricultural sector, but with all the hype, making it hard to separate fact from fiction.

Farmers and landholders are will now have the opportunity to uncover those myths by attending the ihemp forum in Narromine next month.
Macquarie 2100 (2100) along with Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana, have joined forces to stage the national forum on Monday, October 13.
A panel of industry experts from across Australia will deliver short presentations, including Bob Doyle, an iHemp grower, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Hemp license assessment officer Phillip Blackmore and Australian hemp masonry company manager, Klara Marosszeky.
The forum will assess the immediate and long-term end-markets for iHemp in Australia and provide independent advice on the steps to take to enter the market.
Participants will hear from current Australian, growers, buyers and manufactures' on how this grand idea can be transformed into a functional and sustainable cropping option in the Orana.
To register your interest go to or email

Sunday, September 28, 2014

German Patents Method for Making Hemp Juice


Who is Galathea Bisterfeld von Meer, you might wonder? She’s the inventor of a now U.S.-patented method for making hemp juice.
It appears that while much of the United States was busying itself with news about hemp pilot programs earlier this year, this German lady straight up took a piece out of the future hemp juice market. In February, she and a group called Claremont Collection GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) secured a patent for both a method of obtaining hemp juice and a method for making hemp beverages, wherein hemp juice is mixed with yeast and then fermented.
Fibers and oils can be extracted from multiple parts of the hemp plant, including its seeds, stems, leaves, and shives (the woody core of the plant). But some of these plant parts are also rife with juice, as the patent explains:

The hemp juice can be obtained from three different parts of the hemp: a) the upper leafy third of the hemp stem for a beverage with strong flavor and dark color; b) the fibrous part of the remaining two thirds of the hemp stem for a beverage with a less strong flavor and medium color; and c) the shives for a light beverage with light color.

Juice from the hemp leaf is reportedly richest in protein (containing all eight essential amino acids), calcium, fatty acids, and polyphenols. The juice from the more fibrous materials provides more minerals overall, such as copper and iron. The woody shives actually yield the sweetest of hemp’s juices.
When hemp juices go to market, manufacturers will be able to sell this raw material as a stand-alone juice or incorporate it into liquid products such as wines, sodas, and syrups. The patent holder says hemp juice can be used for humans and animals, and also for topical applications. Of course, hemp juice can be made from a variety of species that are low in psychoactive THC, this distinguishing this product from marijuana.

The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Car: Made From Hemp!

By Sarah Burke

The Cannabis plant often gets a bad rap for its extra-curricular uses, but people may be shocked to discover that the hemp plant has over 50,000 uses, from clothes, to medicine, to fabrics, to fuel… to… well, even cars.

In the 1940s, the first car made partially from hemp was produced by Henry Ford. The car was 10 times stronger than steel and was designed to run on hemp bio-fuel. Unfortunately, the idea quickly became obsolete as it became illegal to produce the cannabis plant in the US in 1937.
However, the government of  Canada allows hemp farming and actively supports the hemp industry, thus giving them a Market advantage that places, such as the U.S., are closed to.


Marc Fuyà
Marc Fuyà
Hemp farming is 5000 years old, and yet due to its controversial nature, is not widely used. The oldest known records of hemp farming are from China. And historically, ships sails and ropes have been made from hemp.
Hemp is the common name for the Cannabis plant, which has been popularized for its use as the drugs, marijuana and hashish. However, the plant which has fibrous roots, stalks and stems have proved to be very useful in creating thousands of products, and industrial hemp is bred to produce very little of the THC chemical which contains the psychoactive properties that creates the drug.

Introducing “The Kestrel”
Red is a good look for the Kestrel.
A preview of the Kestrel in red by Motive
Calgary-based Motive Industries INC. have therefore worked with the government to make the world’s most Eco-friendly car, the Kestrel.
The 4-passenger car weighs in at about 2,500 pounds and has a top speed of 90 km per hour and a range of approximately 100 miles before needing to be recharged. The car will take batteries with a capacity ranging from 4.5 to 17.3 kilowatt hours of energy. Keeping it in the family, the Kestrel is powered by a motor made by Boucherville, TM4 Electrodynamic Systems, a Quebec based company.
Plus, considering that hemp is easy to grow, requires very few pesticides and only the sun to aid in its growth, the car is expected to come at an exceptionally reasonable price.
The material for the Kestrel is being supplied by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures, a provincial Crown corporation. The hemp is being grown in Vegreville, Alberta.
The car’s body will be made of an impact-resistant material produced from mats of hemp, a plant from the cannabis family. What’s more, the Kestrel’s hemp composite body shell passed its crash test in strong form and unlike steel, the panels will bounce back into shape after impact.
Hemp is mechanically similar to glass, but it’s even lighter, which helps boost fuel efficiency.


The Kestrel is one of five electric vehicles being developed by Project Eve. 
Project Eve is an automotive industry collaboration founded by Motive and Toronto Electric. The collaboration plans to help boost the production of electric vehicles (and their components) in Canada.
The vehicle’s full design was released in the 2010 Trade Show in Vancouver.
The production version of the Kestrel was predicted to be available this August, but it seems that things have been silence on that front.

People of the Hemp, Part 1: Losing Land, Culture, Tradition

By Alysa Landry
Source: indiancountrytodaymedianetwork

Randy Wegerski, a 4-year-old Tuscarora boy, is shown 
on the picket line as the Tuscarora people block a state 
survey of their reservation in Niagara Falls, New York, 
on April 18, 1958. The disputed land was seized by the 
state for a power project.

The way Tracy Johnson tells it, the plateau of land overlooking Niagara Falls and nestled among the Finger Lakes of northwestern New York once was covered in fields of hemp.
The natural herb, interspersed with rows of corn, was evidence of centuries of inhabitation by the Tuscarora, now a dwindling tribe on a tiny sliver of land.
The Tuscarora, or Ska-ru-ren, are the “people of the hemp,” “hemp gatherers” or “shirt-wearers,” so-named because they traditionally wore shirts made of woven hemp, said Tracy, who is one of about 660 enrolled members of the tribe. He and his brother, Crandy Johnson, live on the small reservation, which straddles the line between Lewiston, New York, and the neighboring town of Sanborn.
A hunter/gatherer tribe, the Tuscarora also planted a wide variety of crops, Tracy said. The area once was covered in rich farmland and orchards.
“Everything that grew in the Garden of Eden grew here,” he said. “At one point all this was solid hemp. They planted it as far as the eye could see.”
Yet as the original land base has shifted and diminished, so have the traditions, including the rich but often controversial history of hemp.
This is the story of a displaced tribe, one that was crucial to the survival of early European settlers and essential in the Revolutionary War, yet one that now survives on only a few miles of land and whose traditions are being lost to time, geography and interpretation.
The Beginning
Oral stories place the Tuscarora as original inhabitants of New York and part of the Iroquois Confederacy, said Rick Hill, who is Tuscarora and senior project coordinator of the Indigenous Knowledge Center at Six Nations Polytechnic, in Ontario, Canada.
Looking for better hunting grounds, they migrated to Virginia and the Carolinas, where their estimated population prior to European contact was about 6,000 people, states an 1881 autobiography by Elias Johnson, an early Tuscarora chief.
Elias Johnson, a Tuscarora chief, was born near Lewistown, New York. This photo was printed in his 1881 autobiography, Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, and History of the Tuscarora Indians.
Elias Johnson, a Tuscarora chief, was born near Lewistown, New York. This photo was printed in his 1881 autobiography, Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, and History of the Tuscarora Indians.
By 1700, European settlers were tapping into the tribe’s traditional wisdom and borrowing farming techniques. Whatever amicable relationship they started with, however, soon shifted. In the years prior to the Revolutionary War, Europeans kidnapped Tuscarora children and sold them as slaves, advertising people for sale alongside bales of cotton.
“In the early days, they were taking us as slaves, putting us on the market in New Orleans, Boston, Baltimore, all over the East Coast,” said Crandy Johnson. “Every port we were sold. Signs said ‘Tuscarora slaves for sale; also, six bales of cotton.’”
The Tuscarora War, which raged in North Carolina from 1711 to 1715, pitted the Tuscarora against the British, Dutch and German settlers, who enlisted other tribes to fight on their side. After their defeat, many of the Tuscarora migrated back to New York, where they were welcomed in 1722 into the Iroquois Confederacy, becoming the final tribe comprising the Six Nations of New York—or the Haudenosaunee—which consisted of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas.
Chief Clinton Rickard, a Tuscarora leader born in 1882 in Lewiston, wrote about the migration north in his 1973 autobiography.
“When the Europeans came to our land and settled near the Tuscarora, there was controversy,” he wrote. “The whites wanted our land, and they kidnapped our children for slavery. This caused war. As a result of these wars, my people moved back north again where the Oneida kindly received them.”
Rickard added a final sentence to the passage: “Our people followed the white roots of peace to the source.” That refers to the Iroquois Tree of Peace, planted at the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy in 1451. Legend states that all weapons of war were thrown into a cavern beneath the tree and the warring nations joined together in a “perpetual league of peace.”
Yet the confederacy never accepted the Tuscarora in the same manner as the other five tribes. Chiefs never had equal voice and Tuscarora are still considered subordinate within the confederacy, often referred to as the younger sibling to the Oneidas and Cayugas, Rickard wrote.
This map shows the Tuscarora reservation in New York in 1890, from the book The Six Nations of New York: The 1892 United States Extra Census Bulletin.
This map shows the Tuscarora reservation in New York in 1890, from the book The Six Nations of New York: The 1892 United States Extra Census Bulletin.
Shifting land
After the Revolutionary War, during which most Tuscaroras and Oneidas sided with America against the British, the Seneca gave the Tuscarora some land near Niagara Falls—the beginning of the present-day reservation.
The reservation increased in size to about nine square miles, Hill said, but even that small sliver of land has been endangered almost from the beginning. It consists of three plots: the Seneca gift, land donated by the Holland Land Company and a parcel the tribe purchased with funds after selling land in South Carolina. That last piece is held in trust by the federal government.
Then, in the 1950s, the New York State Power Authority grabbed one-fifth of the land to build a reservoir. According to Rickard, the state offered $3 million for the land and planned to relocate homes and a cemetery to accommodate the project.
Tuscarora people in traditional dress are shown at a Federal Power Commission hearing in Washington on November 24, 1958. The Tuscarora oppose New York Power Authority plans to build a power project reservoir on their reservation near Niagara Falls. From left to right, seated: Mrs. Harry Patterson, Elsie Schimmelman, Martha John and Wallace Anderson. Standing, left to right: William Rickard, Mrs. Thomas Reed, Roy Snow, Sr., Mrs. Elon Crouse, Chief Harry Patterson, and Chief Elton Greene. (AP Images/Byron Rollins)
Tuscarora people in traditional dress are shown at a Federal Power Commission hearing in Washington on November 24, 1958. The Tuscarora oppose New York Power Authority plans to build a power project reservoir on their reservation near Niagara Falls. From left to right, seated: Mrs. Harry Patterson, Elsie Schimmelman, Martha John and Wallace Anderson. Standing, left to right: William Rickard, Mrs. Thomas Reed, Roy Snow, Sr., Mrs. Elon Crouse, Chief Harry Patterson, and Chief Elton Greene. (AP Images/Byron Rollins)
The case ultimately went before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against the tribe, finding that the land was not a federally protected reservation because the title belonged to the tribe and not the government.
“It is seldom easy for a white person to understand why our lands are dear to us,” Rickard wrote. “A large portion of the land that we had so carefully accumulated 180 years earlier to compensate us for the loss of our North Carolina lands and to provide a homeland for our people forever had been wrenched from us by a government that was supposed to protect us.”
According to Crandy Johnson, the land struggle is representative of the tribe’s subsequent loss of culture and tradition, including the use of hemp.
“As Tuscarora, we are born into a struggle,” he said. “The wars are over, but we’re still under termination orders. We’re losing our inherent, God-given right to land, to herbs, to spiritual refinement and our sacred relationship with the earth.”
Three members of the Tuscarora tribe stake up a notice making it plain they want no part of the Niagara Power Project on their reservation in Niagara County, New York on March 11, 1958. The State Power Authority wanted to seize the land to flood it as part of a storage reservoir but the Indians have insisted there would be no sale. (AP Images)
Three members of the Tuscarora tribe stake up a notice making it plain they want no part of the Niagara Power Project on their reservation in Niagara County, New York on March 11, 1958. The State Power Authority wanted to seize the land to flood it as part of a storage reservoir but the Indians have insisted there would be no sale. (AP Images)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hemp Industry Overview

By Melissa Schaaf

The first year of legal hemp farming in Colorado proves difficult for farmers

Caren Kershner

What if we just woke up one day and corn was outlawed?” asks Eric Hunter, president of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association. “Imagine if 80 years down the road corn was illegal. There go chips, corn syrup, plastic cups. Hemp is just as harmless as corn — why should it be illegal?” 

Although illegal at the federal level, small steps are being taken toward legalization of industrial hemp farming in the U.S. In 2014, Colorado and Kentucky regulated legal hemp cultivation as part of the Farm Bill, allowing growers to register farmland dedicated to the crop. As of August 2014, Colorado had 55 commercial registrants with 1,461 acres and 73 research and development registrants with 237 acres.

Despite the number of acres and individuals registered, many fields are void of the crop due to seed accessibility issues. Of the 1,698 registered Colorado acres dedicated to cultivating hemp, 300 of those belong to Ryan Loflin’s farm in Springfield.

“Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to plant a little over six acres,” he says. “I wasn’t able to get seed — it got held up at customs.”

Loflin joins several registered farmers facing barriers during the inaugural year of hemp farming in Colorado. Ron Carleton, deputy commissioner for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, explains this is due, in part, to regulation inconsistencies. In addition to the Farm Bill at the federal level, the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado legalized the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp and allowed farmers to register with the state either as commercial growers or research and development growers.

“There are difficulties getting seeds because industrial hemp has essentially been illegal since the 1950s,” Carleton says. “The only seed they can get is from other countries because of the conflict with state versus federal law. Hemp and marijuana are considered to be one in the same, and seeds cannot be imported without an import permit from the [Drug Enforcement Agency]. And they’re not issuing any.”

Hunter says another hurdle lies with seed breeders refusing to export their seeds.
“Because it’s illegal, there’s no patent protection; they would have to be registered as part of the national seed database,” he says. “Until that happens, there’s really nothing to do.”
If farmers are lucky enough to get ahold of seeds, it’s not cheap. Seeds are typically imported from Canada, China and the European Union. Loflin estimates that seeds are being sold from Europe at $4 to $5 per pound and has even heard of an Italian seed going for $12 per pound. Last year he imported about 1,500 pounds of hemp seeds from Europe to plant 300 acres. The seeds were shipped in 55 pound bags for $250 per bag. He planted six acres this year with seeds he harvested last year.

“This year, I tried to do it completely legitimately through the Farm Bill,” he says. “I want to focus on seed production and establish good, climatized seed genetics. We’re not sure what the policy will be next year and getting seeds could be a problem again.”

Even if seeds are acquired and planted, farmers gamble with the potential potency of the hemp they’re cultivating. Under Farm Bill regulation, the Department of Agriculture reserves the right to test the crops to ensure the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is below 0.3 percent. If a crop tests beyond the limit, the farmer cannot legally harvest the hemp and may be required to destroy it, resulting in a major financial loss. With high prices and strict regulations, the reintroduction of hemp in Colorado has been difficult on farmers.

“In the first developing years of hemp plants being re-established in American soil, there could be THC spikes and changes,” Loflin says. “I think if they raised the level to 1 percent that would give every farmer peace of mind not having to worry. It costs me $300 per month just to water — if you put all that money into it and are told to destroy it in the end, it’s a big loss.”

The United States has historically had a love-hate relationship with Cannabis, the genus encompassing both hemp and marijuana. In 1937, Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act which effectively began the era of hemp prohibition. The tax and licensing regulations of the act made hemp cultivation difficult for American farmers. The bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War II, however, was a game changer. It cut off foreign hemp from the Philippines, so the federal government subsidized and encouraged hemp cultivation during this time, leading farmers to grow more than 1 million acres. After the war ended, the government quietly shut down all hemp processing plants, and the industry faded away again. And, in 1970, the country severed all ties with the crop by categorizing all cannabis as a Schedule I substance per the Controlled Substances Act, freezing any sort of hemp cultivation, processing facilities and consumer sales.

Hunter believes reverting back to federal legalization would mark the end of what he considers an unnecessary era.

“Legalization would be a return to normalcy,” he says. “I laugh when they say legalization is an experiment — prohibition is the experiment.”

Although hemp is a cousin to marijuana, the psychoactive constituents are a notably smaller percentage of hemp’s chemical makeup. Recreational and medicinal marijuana have a higher percentage of THC usually ranging from 3 to 30 percent, whereas cannabis with THC levels of 1 percent or lower is considered hemp. Hemp also has a higher ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) to THC. Cannabidiol is found in both hemp and marijuana and is a non-psychoactive compound typically used for medical purposes.

The most famous example of medicinal hemp use is that of Charlotte Figi, a 5-yearold girl who suffers from Dravet syndrome, causing her to have hundreds of seizures every week. In 2012, a strain of hemp was developed in Colorado Springs to help Charlotte. Through cross breeding hemp varieties and landrace strains of cannabis, a new strain emerged yielding extremely high levels of cannabidiol and very low levels of THC, 20 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. Consumed in hemp seed oil form, this strain eased Charlotte’s seizures from hundreds per week to only a few per month and was christened Charlotte’s Web.

Using Charlotte’s example and research studies on the medicinal benefits of hemp oil, representatives are going to bat at the federal level to separate hemp from marijuana by legal definition. The Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014 was introduced to Congress on July 28. According to the Act, it would exclude “therapeutic hemp” and “cannabidiol” from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

The separation of hemp from marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act could reclassify or remove it from Schedule I classification, potentially leading to the federal legalization of hemp. Farmers would then be able to freely cultivate the crop on a larger scale. Colorado farmer Loflin sees that as a way to create employment opportunities and improve the economy.

“Ultimately, this is a job-creating crop, and what we need more than anything right now is jobs,” he says. “Leading the nation is pretty exciting — we’re right at the tip of the iceberg as far as the future goes. Farmers have been struggling for years, and this is giving them hope again.”

With Colorado on the forefront of the changing hemp industry, Deputy Commissioner Ron Carleton also sees promise for the future of hemp farming despite the hurdles many farmers faced in 2014.

“Industrial hemp has a lot of promise and potential as a commodity crop for our farmers,” he says. “I think it may take us a little while to get to the point where a lot of it is being cultivated and economically viable, but it has every intention to be a profitable crop.”

Growing our way out of climate change by building with hemp and wood fibre

By Mike Lawrence

From domestic housing to the Science Museum, plant-based construction materials cut reliance on scarce resources and build healthy, efficient and zero carbon buildings

Hemp pant
Houses made from hemp could mitigate climate change. Photograph: Roy Morsch/Corbis

How can buildings help with climate change? It’s all about renewables and “sequestered carbon”.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ 2010 report on Low Carbon Construction concluded that construction was responsible for around 300m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which is almost 47% of the UK’s total. Of this, around 50m tonnes is embedded in the fabric of buildings.
Making one tonne of steel emits 1.46 tonnes of CO2 and 198kg of CO2 is emitted make one tonne of reinforced concrete. One square metre of timber framed, hemp-lime wall (weighing 120kg), after allowing for the energy cost of transporting and assembling the materials actually stores 35.5kg of CO2.
If we can convert plants into building materials, we are in a win-win situation. Plants use the energy of the sun to convert atmospheric CO2 and water into hydrocarbons – the material from which plants are made.
The plant acts as a carbon store, sequestering (absorbing) atmospheric CO2 for as long as the plant continues to exist. This CO2 is only re-released when the material is composted or burnt, and the great thing is that through replanting it you can re-absorb this CO2 annually, in the case of straw or hemp, or every decade or so in the case of timber, rather than the 300m years that it takes to recycle coal or oil.
Secondly, plant based materials can be used to make high performing building envelopes, protecting against external weather and making a building more comfortable, healthy and energy efficient to live in.
Not only can they be used as insulation materials, displacing oil-based alternatives such as polyurethane foam, but they also interact with the internal environment in a way that inorganic materials just can’t do.
This is because they are “vapour active”. Insulating materials such as hemp-lime, hemp fibre and wood fibre are capable of absorbing and releasing water vapour. This is doubly effective, because not only can they act as a buffer to humidity (taking moisture out of the air), but they also stabilise a building’s internal temperature much better through latent heat effects (energy consumed and released during evaporation and condensation within the pores of the material).
To build using hemp, the woody core or shiv of the industrial hemp plant is mixed with a specially developed lime-based binder. Factory-constructed panels are pre-dried and when assembled in a timber frame building, the hemp shiv traps air in the walls, providing a strong barrier to heat loss. The hemp itself is porous, meaning the walls are well insulated while the lime-based binder sticks together and protects the hemp, making the building material resistant to fire and decay. The industrial hemp plant takes in carbon dioxide as it grows and the lime render absorbs even more of the climate change gas. Hemp-lime buildings have an extremely low carbon footprint.
Building with hemp lime
Building with hemp lime. Photograph: University of Bath
In this way bio-based materials can be used to construct “zero carbon” buildings, where the materials have absorbed more CO2 than is consumed during construction. By applying PassivHaus principles (the voluntary industry standard for low-carbon design) to bio-based buildings, a building’s energy use once inhabited can also be reduced to minimal levels. This is a true “fabric first” approach, where the fabric of buildings passively manages energy consumption, rather than purely relying on renewables such as solar panels and ground source heating systems, which have a more limited life-span and the potential for failure.
I worked on a project recently for the Science Museum to reduce the high energy cost of archival storage. They needed to have large enclosures kept at a steady humidity and temperature to ensure that items ranging from the first edition of Newton’s Principia through to horse drawn carriages and even Daleks do not deteriorate. Normally this uses energy intensive air conditioning systems.
The three-storey archival store that the Science Museum built in 2012 using a hemp-lime envelope was so effective that they switched off all heating, cooling, and humidity control for over a year, maintaining steadier conditions than in their traditionally equipped stores, reducing emissions while saving a huge amount of energy.
Improved bio-based materials can also passively improve the internal air quality of buildings by interacting with airborne pollutants, removing them from the building. The new HIVE building – a £1m project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – has been designed as a platform for research projects into this kind of sustainable construction. The HIVE has a purpose-built flood cell, which will also support research into creating buildings and building materials that are more flood-resilient – a valuable resource in these times of climate change induced adverse weather conditions.
Hive building
The Hive building. Photograph: University of Bath
Industry and government must also embrace the opportunities presented by bio-based construction materials to reduce emissions. Domestic housing is a key part of this. Good quality housing can be built out of structural timber with a bio-based insulating envelope using straw; hemp-lime, or other systems using wood fibre or other cellulose fibres.
With domestic housing high on the government’s agenda, it is time the construction industry recognised the economic and environmental benefits of bio-based construction materials and became less reliant on depleting resources including oil and steel.
Dr Mike Lawrence is Director of the University of Bath’s new research facility – the Building Research Park – aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. Follow the facility on twitter @HiveBRP

To the Editor: Ending the Criminalization of Hemp

By Tony Jones

To the Editor, 

“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” – Thomas Jefferson. 

It’s ironic that the country founded on the principals of and liberty and freedom still prohibits its citizens from growing a plant. I’m talking, of course, about industrial hemp. A plant that has more than 30,000 uses and is considered to be a “superfood”. 

This absurdity continues by the fact that hemp is allowed to be imported from other countries, but is forbidden to be grown in America. 

Did you know that The US Constitution was written on hemp paper? The first American flag was made out of hemp. In the past, army uniforms were made of hemp. In 1937 “Popular Science Magazine” called hemp “The New Billion Dollar Crop.” And then it was banned… 

Federal laws against hemp are a prime example of how our government stifles our freedom. Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, hemp and marijuana are classified exactly the same. To the untrained eye, I can see how the plants might seem similar. However, industrial hemp contains less than 1% of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Therefore, it would take a “joint” the size of a telephone pole to get any type of effect from hemp. 

Farmers across our state and the country should be outraged. The farming of hemp requires little or no pesticides. Hemp also requires less water than other crop and has deep roots that leave the soil in an improved condition after harvesting. This makes hemp one of the best possible crops for a farm to put in rotation. 

Consumers should also be outraged. The retail sales of hemp in the United States are estimated to be over $420 million annually, that’s $420 million from a product we are forced to import. America is in need of jobs, yet we continue to dismiss this possible market. With the decriminalization of industrial hemp, thousands of employment opportunities could be created in agriculture, marketing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, etc. 

The fact that we have to be granted permission to grow a plant is an insult to our freedom. The criminalization of industrial hemp must come to an end.   

–Tony Jones 

Tony Jones, a lifelong Rhode Islander, is a local musician, radio host and blogger. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of RI and is the party’s 2014 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, running on a platform that advocates for the elimination of the office.