The 2018 Farm Bill, which included provisions from the proposed Hemp Farming Act of 2018, gave back the much-needed traction for the resurgence of hemp cultivation. Along with the legalization of marijuana in some states, the bill renewed people’s interest in hemp products, particularly in the potential health benefits of some hemp derivatives. Websites like have also been put up to provide helpful information about hemp products and farming.

Also known as industrial hemp, this strain of cannabis sativa was affected needlessly by restrictions that were supposedly aimed at controlling the production of marijuana. Here’s the lowdown on hemp, its uses and how you can benefit from it.

What Is Hemp?

Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa species, along with marijuana. This is why some mistakenly use the word “hemp” with marijuana interchangeably. Hemp is one of the fastest-growing plant species, which make it a sustainable source for a wide variety of products. These include paper, clothing, environmentally friendly plastics, biofuel, farm animal food, insulation, and so on. Its use dates as far back as 10,000 years when its fiber was spun for various purposes.

Apart from those already mentioned, the following are some other uses for industrial hemp:

  • Baby diapers
  • Beauty products
  • Canvas
  • Cardboard
  • Caulk
  • Fiberboard
  • Fiberglass
  • Handbags
  • Netting
  • Oil paints
  • Packaging
  • Printing inks
  • Rope
  • Varnishes

Hemp vs. Marijuana: The Difference

Even though hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis sativa species, they are two very different strains. To answer the question in the minds of some who are reading this article, smoking or consuming hemp will not make you high. Among the different components of marijuana, 20 percent to 30 percent of it is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive drug that gives you a high. Hemp has a very low THC content ― around .3 percent.

One component in hemp that interests medical professionals is exactly what is keeping its THC content down to insignificant levels. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component in hemp that shows promise as a treatment option for a wide range of medical conditions, including muscle and joint pain, anxiety, stress, skin diseases, hypertension and heart disease.

To put it in simpler terms, marijuana has a high THC content but low CBD. Conversely, hemp has a high CBD content, which keeps its THC levels down.

Does this mean that hemp is legal? While any objective evaluation should deem it to be legal, hemp cultivation in the United States is not completely legal ― at least not yet.

Hemp’s Legal Status

By virtue of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, all forms of farming cannabis were essentially declared “illegal.” Technically, the cultivation of any cannabis plant, which unfortunately included hemp, were strictly controlled. Because of these two acts, American manufacturers had to source hemp materials from abroad, and the materials had to be tested to make sure that its THC content is within the maximum allowable limit of .3 percent of THC.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, otherwise known as the 2018 Farm Bill, has “corrected” this mistake. The bill has once again made hemp cultivation, transport and sale legal on a federal level. Hemp derivatives, such as its much-sought-after hemp seed and CBD oil, have also become legal on a federal level. The proverbial ball is now in the hands of the state governments to decide on how to proceed as far as legalizing hemp is concerned.