Frequently Asked Questions

Is industrial hemp the same thing as Marijuana/Cannabis?

One of the biggest misconceptions about hemp is believing that industrial hemp is the same thing as marijuana. The two plants are the same species (Cannabis Sativa), but are more like first cousins and NOT identical twins. Please see Hemp Vs Marijuana/Cannabis for more information.

Can a person get high from smoking industrial hemp?

No. The THC levels in industrial hemp are so low that no one could get high from smoking it. It’s generally recognised that for Marijuana to have any effect on human beings it must have 3-18% THC content, while most industrial hemp is cultivated to have less than 0.3% and could be safely grown with limits at 1 to 1.5%. The recorded THC levels of “wild” hemp only averages a THC content of 0.6%.

Hemp also contains a relatively high percentage of another cannabinoid, CBD, that actually blocks the psychoactive “high” caused by the THC in marijuana. Hemp, it turns out, is not only NOT marijuana; it could be called “antimarijuana.” (Dr Dave West). Please see Hemp Vs Marijuana/Cannabis for more information.

Is hemp oil a source of THC?

Hemp seeds contains no THC at all. The tiny amounts of THC contained in industrial hemp are in the glands of the plant itself. Sometimes, in the manufacturing process, some THC- and CBD-containing resin sticks to the seed, resulting in traces of THC in the oil that is produced. The concentration of these cannabinoids in the oil is infinitesimal. No one can get high, and will not fail a drug test from using hemp oil products.

Many hemp seed food manufactures have signed up to the Test Pledge, which requires pledging companies be committed to achieving the following THC limits: Hemp oil: 5.0 parts per million (ppm), and Hemp nut: 1.5 parts per million (ppm). Please see Hemp Vs Marijuana/Cannabis for more information.

Can I grow industrial hemp in New Zealand?

Yes, but you need a licence from the Ministry of Health, and can only grow certain cultivars/varieties of Cannabis sativa. See Industrial Hemp Licensing and Growing Hemp for more information.

Could Industrial Hemp become a “noxious weed”?

This does not appear to have occurred in any of the countries growing Industrial Hemp such as England, Ireland, Wales, Australia, South Africa, and Canada. However “ditchweed”, the remnants of the Kentucky (USA) industrial hemp industry does grow wild in some US states. It is considered a problem due to the false perception that it is marijuana, not because it poses any environmental problem. Please see Growing Hemp for more information.

Wouldn’t legalising hemp send the wrong message to children/youth?

It is the current refusal of the drug enforcement agencies to distinguish between an agricultural crop and a drug crop that is sending the wrong message to youth. For example, there are hundreds of species of beans, the base genre; broad beans, butter beans, soy beans, runner beans, baked beans, human beans (sic) and of course hallucinogenic beans (Coca et al.) Of course, the genre “Beans” itself is not illegal in any country, the only beans deemed illegal are those that have psychoactive properties and or hallucinogenic properties.

Further, there are a huge quantity of hallucinogenic plants within NZ (Broom, Borage, Datura, St Johns Wort, and others), none of which are illegal in the ordinary course of events, (as they stand in the paddock). Ken Shirley (ACT) pointed this anomaly out to NZHIA in 1997.

NZHIA have a strong policy regarding the debate with regard to marijuana, only now are people seeing the lack of logic in banning a whole plant species rather than controlling the actual substance perceived as a problem. Please see Hemp Vs Marijuana/Cannabis for more information.

Will low-THC industrial hemp “revert” to high THC in 2-8 generations?

Cannabis Sativa L, “Industrial Hemp” in it’s natural (wild) state is a low THC plant. Scientific analysis of ‘wild’ hemp in the USA, Vietnam & Australia show an average THC content of 0.6%. The Hunter Valley discoveries of wild hemp in Australia in the 60’s are thought to be left over from early attempts at Hemp farming in Australia. In many states in the USA there still grows wild hemp, called ditchweed, with negligible THC content, left over from commercial crops grown in the 1930 and 1940’s. Quite obviously they have not reverted to high THC. Vietnam has wild hemp growing in most of the country. It provides villagers with a useful income, as it is harvested, processed and woven by hand to produce narrow long bolts of rough but appealing cloth.

It is only through intensive selective breeding of varieties that high THC cultivars are maintained. Through the same means, the genetic expression of THC can be very readily reduced and ‘fixed’ at a low THC level. Please see Growing Hemp for more information.

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