14 Jun Hemp growing slowly replacing tobacco in North Carolina
With all the bad press tobacco has received for more than 40 years because of its cancer-causing effects, some North Carolina farmers are ditching tobacco and going for planting something new – hemp. However, tobacco is not going away totally away at present.
The leafy hemp plant is often associated with marijuana in many people’s minds, but it has a surprising variety of uses. According to a news story by WNCT-9, hemp has several very practical uses.
Those include the following:
- Paper production
*However, some fact checking of one statement made about hemp in the WNCT-9 story revealed that the Declaration of Independence was not written on paper made from hemp. It was actually written on parchment paper made from animal skins, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
The hemp and marijuana plants have significant differences. However, they both belong to the cannabis family.
According to the website Hemp Basics, hemp has competitive growing advantages to cotton.
- Cotton must be grown in relatively moderate climates while hemp tolerates frost well.
- Hemp only requires moderate amounts of water, an advantage in drier areas, and grows well in all 50 states.
- In contrast to cotton, which requires heavy use of weed killers and pesticides, hemp does not need any of those chemicals and only small amounts of fertilizer.
In terms of paper production, hemp possesses environmental advantages. When hemp is used for paper production, it can save trees because trees take approximately 20 years to grow to maturity. On the other hand, hemp grows to the point where it can be harvested in 20 weeks.
It appears that the most popular use of hemp is medicinal. The essence of the hemp plant is usable for decreasing pain and inflammation in both people and pets.
Ashley Schaffernoth, manager for the Hemp Farmacy, located at 239 Western Blvd. in Jacksonville, told WNCT-9 News that hemp can block pain receptors. That action makes pain more bearable while not completely obliterating it. She said she has used hemp products for the last few years.
Schaffernoth told WNCT-9 News, “Recently I just had my second open-heart surgery in October, and was not given very many pain pills to leave, so I ended up using our CBD Hope Carolina broad spectrum, to get through the nights and actually sleep through while my ribs healed back together.”
She emphasized that hemp has suffered a bad reputation because of its relationship to marijuana. However, the psychoactive effects (i.e. getting high) of THC are not present in hemp products.
At this point, it is hard to tell how many North Carolina tobacco farmers could make the change to hemp.