Setting The Record Straight On Hemp
Oxygen Magazine Australia|Issue 97

What was once a controversial crop and is now commonplace in every hipster café across the country, hemp was given the green light in Australia in late 2017 and for good reason. Emerging from the shadow of its whacky cousin, Oxygen has the lowdown on why this superfood deserves its time in the spotlight.

Lauren Curtis

After more than 15 years of lobbying in Australia, hemp was finally legalised for human consumption in November 2017.

You’ve no doubt heard of hemp - and certain images may come to mind! Many people will immediately associate it with cannabis, and might even think it’s a drug. But how much do we really know about hemp?

Do you know what hemp is used for, and how it differs from cannabis? Were you even aware that there was a distinction between the two?

ONE THING IS FOR SURE, THERE ARE A LOT OF MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HEMP

Hemp has been used for thousands of years to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel. But for the uninformed (and many would say ignorant) - it comes from the same plant as cannabis oil and marijuana (cannabis sativa), which is the reason for all the controversy.

But where marijuana is produced from viable seeds, flowers and leaves, hemp is made by processing sterilised seeds, stalks and stems. Two different parts of the same plant can be used for very different purposes. The leaves, flowers and seeds of the cannabis sativa plant contain high amounts of delta 9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that makes users feel high. But crops grown specifically for hemp production are bred to have low flowering sights - and therefore very low THC levels. Any THC left behind is deactivated when the seeds are sterilised.

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