Hemp 101

We’re often asked about what hemp is—and what it isn’t. 

Is it just another form of pot? Will it get my animals high? Is it legal? Will I get in trouble for using it or giving it to my horses and pets?

You want to fully understand what you’re giving to your horses and pets—that’s great! We believe that the more you know about hemp, the more you and your animals will SAFELY enjoy the benefits it has to offer. 

That’s why we want to give you a little hemp education, a Hemp 101 if you will.

The History of Hemp

Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man. For thousands of years, it has been used for paper, textiles, cordage, fuel, food, and medicine. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest known artifact of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric that dates back to approximately 8,000 BC. Hemp has been used for many years medicinally, and was even used during the Ming Dynasty by the Chinese under the name of Ma Zi.

So what exactly is hemp, and how does it differ from the intoxicating forms of cannabis that are used medicinally and recreationally?

Hemp vs Marijuana

There are Lodgepole pine trees and Ponderosa pine trees. These are two different varieties of the same genus of plant. There are poppy seeds for making muffins and dressings, and there are poppy seeds for making heroin. These are two different varieties from the same genus of plant. 

There are hemp and marijuana plants. These are two different varieties of the same genus of plant—cannabis. An even more concise analogy may be to think of hemp as decaffeinated coffee, or non-alcoholic beer.

Cannabis plants can have varying levels of THC and CBD. Hemp generally has low levels of THC and can have higher levels of CBD. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid that gets you high or stoned. CBD (Cannabidiol) is non psychoactive and (can not) won’t get you high.

So, why the controversy and so much confusion about hemp products? It’s simple—people think the two different varieties are the same. But, they're not.

Why Was Hemp Illegal?

In the past, American colonies encouraged, and in some cases, mandated that farmers grow hemp. In fact, George Washington was known for growing hemp at Mount Vernon. 

Throughout history, cannabis was widely utilized for medicinal purposes and even listed in the United States Pharmacopeia until 1941.

In the early 1930s, social attitudes toward marijuana began shifting. Government drug warriors (most famously, Henry Anslinger) played on propaganda and conspiracy to raise public fear. In the end, hemp was grouped in with its cousin marijuana and was made guilty by association

It was then that hemp was taken out of the farmer’s hands and swept under the proverbial rug. This innocent crop was caught in the crossfire of the “War on Drugs,” during which government administrations failed to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. Hemp became a casualty of the war being fought against its brethren. 

In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act formally made cannabis, the genus of the plant, illegal as a mind-altering drug. After all that, it’s no wonder that there is so much confusion out there about hemp.

Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil

Now that you understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, let’s quickly clear up another area of confusion—the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil products. Many people use “hemp oil,” “hemp seed oil,” and “CBD oil” interchangeably. 

However, hemp seed oil and CBD oil are very different products. CBD oil is derived from the greenery portion of the plant, the leaves, and flowers. It can be derived from both hemp and marijuana plants but most often it comes from the hemp plant. This oil contains a higher concentration of the >100 known cannabinoids including cannabidiol or CBD, a compound with an ever-expanding list of benefits. 

Meanwhile, hemp seed oil is the food grade oil which comes from the seeds of the mature female hemp plant. This oil only contains trace amounts of any cannabinoids. Neither you nor your animals can “get high” or fail drug tests by consuming hemp seed foods or feed products that are responsibly processed.

Having a better understanding of these two oils is critically important in choosing the safest and most appropriate product for your needs.

What hemp seed oil does offer is a rich profile of nutrients, essential fatty acids, and useful bioactive compounds. In fact, this oil could provide all of our Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) requirements for life, due to the balanced 80% EFA content of the oil. 

The E.F.A.’s not only help to restore wasting bodies, but also improve damaged immune systems. So, it is not so surprising that modern researchers have studied them in relation to the modern immune attacking viruses.

Having a better understanding of these two oils is critically important in choosing the safest and most appropriate product for your needs. The Hemp plant is truly remarkable in all the benefits it provides to us. It is the only plant in the world that can feed, clothe, shelter and help us heal.

Many manufacturers label their CBD products as hemp oil to get around private regulations. A lot of CBD Oil uses hemp oil as the carrier base oil which adds further to  the confusion. What’s important is the mg (milligrams) of CBD that you are buying. If it doesn’t specify mg of CBD on the label then assume that what you are buying is just plain old hemp seed oil and not the Endocannabinoid System supporting CBD oil.

Hemp for Animals

The use of hemp for animal feed or otherwise is not new anywhere except the United States. In fact, many countries around the world have used the greenery portion of the plant, which has all the cannabinoids, as animal feed for some time. 

It begs the question, what are the chances that some of that beef has been approved for import and sale in the USA already? Here in the United States, it’s legal for humans to consume CBD products as well as foods and oils made from the hemp seed. However, these same products have not been approved by the FDA as feed for our animals.

At The Lazy Rockin R Farm, which is the Sturdy Horses’ alpha and beta test farm and ranch, we’ve been feeding our horses Hemp for years. We have dogs, cats, cows and horses there and all are doing great. Our neighbors rib us and fondly refer to our livestock as “Show Cows and Horses”, because of the way they look. We kinda take that as a compliment! Wouldn’t you like the same? 

Your horses and pets are natural, biological animals. We believe proper care means caring for our horses and pets with natural products. We believe in feeding them real feeds and real foods!

That’s why we support the Hemp Feed Coalition by processing Hemp seed for various animal trials going on around the country. Our exclusive hemp seed processing facility San Luis Valley Hemp Company, (SLV Hemp), is very much involved in helping create the standards for hemp as feed.

You can be a champion for change

Support the Hemp Industry

join the Hemp Feed Coalition

Visit the website and learn more here.


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