Who says you can’t have it all?
Across the U.S., people are learning about the benefits of a misunderstood centuries-old crop that is making a comeback: hemp.
When it comes to health benefits and uses of hemp, the options are seemingly endless, and in Winchester, there are several places to find products using this “super food.”
Often referred to as agricultural or industrial hemp, the plant is a variety of Cannibis sativa, making it a “cousin” to marijuana. Despite widespread misconceptions about the crop, hemp keeps you healthy rather than getting you high. Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of THC, which is the psychoactive element in cannabis that creates a euphoric feeling.
Hemp has a long history in the U.S. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper and the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp and advocated for its use.
Hemp has been cultivated for centuries as a source of fiber, food, oil and fuel. Because nearly every part of the plant can be used, there are a wide array of products available — about 25,000 uses are estimated.
Kentucky once had a thriving hemp industry.
According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the state’s first hemp crop was grown in 1775, and Kentucky went on to become the nation’s leading hemp-producing state in the mid-19th Century with peak production of 40,000 tons in 1850.
U.S. hemp production declined after the Civil War, and almost all of the nation’s hemp was grown in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Federal legislation passed in 1938 outlawed production of cannabis, including hemp, in the U.S.
Most recently, hemp farming became legal in 31 states under the 2014 Farm Bill. By 2016, 9,650 acres of industrial hemp were grown across 16 states, including Kentucky.