Hemp field

Industrial hemp field. 

When talking about plants from the cannabis family tensions can run high between those who are for it and those who oppose it.

Hemp is a cousin of the marijuana plant but, unlike its cousin hemp, contains extremely low levels of Tetrahydrolcannabinol, THC, which is the psychoactive element in the plant that creates euphoria or, better put, “that high feeling.”

What exactly makes hemp special and why would the Texas Senate vote to approve such a controversial plant?

Hemp has many capabilities and is considered the next “cash crop” for the State of Texas.

Most hemp based product such as clothing, twine, protein powders, lotions and essential oils do not contain any THC. All of these products are allowed to be sold in the state of Texas, yet the plant cannot be legally grown here.

Hemp can also be used as a green alternative to petroleum based products, in some cases.

Hemp can be used as an alternative to cutting down our nations' trees. “HempWood” is a sustainable alternative for hardwood furniture, flooring and more. It looks and feels like oak, but is actually 20 percent harder than the famous hardwood tree and grows 100 times faster. While it takes an oak tree at least six decades to mature, it takes hemp six months.

Hemp seeds have a rich nutrition profile and contain high levels of antioxidants, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. The shells add fiber to the diet and grinding the seeds helps the body to absorb more of the other nutrients. These health benefits help boost brain activity and promote heart health.

CBD and other compounds in the seeds may have neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory effects and may also help to regulate the immune system. Medical reviews suggests that, because of these potential properties, CBD may help with neurological conditions including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and childhood seizure disorders.

The medical community believes that omega three fatty acids improve the health of the heart and reduce the risk of issues such as heart disease. The seeds also contain high levels of arginine, an amino acid that turns into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is essential for artery and vein dilation and it helps keep blood vessel walls smooth and elastic.

House Bill 1325 from state Rep. Tracy King would legalize the farming of industrial hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.

King's bill would remove hemp from the state's controlled substance list and would set up a farming program outlining guidelines for cultivating the plant. If King's bill becomes law, marijuana would still be illegal.

More than 40 other states have already legalized hemp production.

Hemp is one of the most versatile crops on the market, it's unclear how much money hemp will bring to Texas if farmers are allowed to grow it, but from studies around the country Texas will be bringing in a massive payday.

King's bill has the backing of top Republican leaders like Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Now that the Senate has signed the bill, it's currently awaiting the approval Governor Greg Abbott, who has until June 16 to decide whether to sign or veto.


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