Holy smoke!

Who knew that all those weeds growing by the side of my pond were fully entitled to be reaching … well … Biblical proportions? Yes, it’s Hemp History Week in the US and I found this little tidbit at the Tenth Amendment Center.

Apparently industrial hemp–as opposed to marijuana–is a different strain of the cannabis sativa plant that does not contain high levels of the psychoactive compound THC. Although it’s illegal to grow in the US these days, and strictly controlled here in Australia,

President George Washington, President John Adams, President Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin all grew hemp on their personal farms. Benjamin Franklin also owned a hemp paper mill, which produced paper from the fibers of the hemp plant. The string he used in his electricity experiments is rumored to have been made from hemp. In addition to the Declaration of Independence, the first draft of the Constitution was also written on hemp paper.

Since hemp grows beautifully on complete wasteland, wouldn’t it make sense to start using it in the reclamation of otherwise unusable soil?  And if we’re worried about all our forests being chipped for paper pulp, shouldn’t we consider how a hemp field will produce four times as much usable fibre as a similar area of plantation trees? Hemp is a fabulous source of methanol, a fossil fuel alternative that doesn’t need to be grown on prime cropping land as the present alternatives do. It can be used to make biodegradable plastics, clothing and other textiles, and its seeds can be used as a rich source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Apparently hemp is the only plant known to contain vitamin D and has never been shown to produce an allergic reaction in humans.

That’s all fabulous but here’s the bit that caught my eye:

Some scholars at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem claim that hemp was actually mentioned in the Bible.  They believe that the word ‘calamus’ [aromatic cane in modern translations] in Exodus 30:22-25 is a mistranslation into English of the Hebrew word kineboisin which actually means cannabis or hemp. If this translation is correct, the anointing oil God commanded Moses to make was made, in part, from hemp oil.

“The Lord said to Moses, “Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.” (ESV)

Awesome! You can have an equally spiritual experience with the non-THC strain and feel good about yourself at the same time.