Soak hemp

Let's Talk Hemp

Words by Snehal Krishna

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What is Hemp?

Understanding hemp, properties and uses.

Hemp is the name given to the fibrous cousins of the cannabis family. Hemp is the non-psychoactive brother of cannabis sativa. Both hemp and cannabis produce CBD and THC, but unlike cannabis, hemp has a higher concentration of CBD. To be classified as hemp, the plant should have a THC concentration less than 0.3%. Hemp is one of the world’s fastest growing sources for sustainable, durable natural fibers. With a new wave of legalizations, industrial hemp production is all set to boom and possibly become the staple source for fiber production.


Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged results in two compounds of contrasting effects. THC is the component of cannabis that gets you high, while CBD helps with anxiety, depression and seizures. Both the chemicals interact with your endocannabinoid system in the same way but produce different effects. 

THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain and produces the sense of high or euphoria. CBD on the other hand, binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors. CBD needs THC to bind to the CB1 receptor and, in turn, reduce some of the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, such as euphoria or sedation.

CBD is more preferred for medicinal purposes as it gives the medicinal value without the euphoria. It helps with several conditions such as seizures, inflammation, psychosis or mental disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, depression, anxiety, etc. CBD is observed to be more tolerant, even in high doses, while THC may cause long term psychiatric side effects, especially for kids and adolescents.

Hemp Fiber Properties

Hemp is a best fiber plant like jute, flax, ramie and has been used since ancient times as a fiber for textile products, ropes and sail clothes. Hemp is an annual plant and can grow on a wide spectrum of soils. Well drained, nitrogen rich and non-acidic soil are essential for good hemp cultivation. Hemp is one of the strongest and most durable natural fabrics and excels in fiber strength, durability, absorbency, anti mildew and anti microbial properties. 

Hemp fiber has almost 60-70% cellulose, 15-20% hemi cellulose, 2-4% lignin and 1-2% fat and wax. Length and diameter of hemp fiber are 1-5 meters and 16-50 microns respectively. It dyes well, resists mildew, obstructs ultra violet (UV) and has natural anti-bacterial properties and is a good conductor of heat.

Aside from its high strength, hemp has been recognized for its elasticity, ease of processing and recycling. Hemp fibers are also being used as reinforcements in composite materials on account of their biodegradability and low density compared with artificial fibers. Hemp fibers also possess  inherent mechanical, thermal, and acoustic properties 

Hemp Fiber Uses

Hemp textiles have a number of exclusive advantages over other fabrics like hemp textiles are longer, stronger, more lustrous and absorbent and more mildew resistant than cotton textiles.

Hemp fiber has many applications including textile products, such as bedspreads, blankets, backpacks, carpets, clothing, draperies, hats, luggage, mattresses, sails, sheets, shoes, shirts, tents, towels and upholstery. Hemp is also used in paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, clothing, nutritional products and fuel. 

Being stronger than jute and linen fiber, it is ideal for making ropes, twine, cables, carpets, sail cloth, canvas, ship cordage etc. Long hemp fibers are spun and woven to fine quality fabric used in clothing, home furnishing textiles and floor coverings. The short fibers are used for manufacturing insulation products, fiber board and erosion control mats. The fibrous core blended with lime can produce strong and lightweight concrete.


Hemp History

soak hemp history

Usage of hemp over centuries.

Hemp is making a comeback from the shadows, with both public and industrial interest growing over the years, hemp is slowly but steadily growing through various production chains. Hemp was once a staple plant to civilizations across the globe, leaving a footprint in both cultivation and industrial sectors. The modern world somewhere along the way, forgot the miracle plant that was shackled in mindless prohibitions and ill thought out legislation. Being grouped together with cannabis and being marred in the societal taboo, hemp shrank in ecological presence and industry foothold. The recent wave of legalizations and renewed public interest into cannabis and associated industries, has brought out hemp from the crevices, and is finally blooming across the globe. 

History of Hemp Production and Usage.

Recorded history of hemp dates back to 10,00 BCE, Taiwan, where earthen pots and tools used to process hemp were discovered. Hemp was probably one of the first plants to be cultivated and used for textile production. 8,000 BCE Mesopotamia, people used hemp to produce durable fabrics and other textile needs. Around the same age, hemp cultivation spread through Asia, it was used for food production, textiles and medicine. Hemp cultivation flourished in Asia, with several records to medicinal and textile uses. By around 2,000 BCE, hemp began to appear around the world, possibly spread around through human migration. 

The Shang culture of China around the ages of 1500 BCE is said to have set up a fully self sufficient financial economy dependent on hemp weaving. The Mongol and Scythian expansion brought hemp to virgin grounds of Europe and central Asia, cultivating hemp in freshly acquired territories. The Punic people, who dominated the Mediterranean seas for centuries, relied heavily on hemp for shipbuilding. Post war human migration from Asia, brought hemp to Greece and Russia. Herodotus speaks of how the Scythians were introduced to Hemp by the Thracians who had defeated them in battle. He also goes on to mention how the Scythians  grew hemp far and wide and used Hemp in their burial rituals for fumigation. Greeks ships began using hemp for ropes and in China, hemp was now being used for making paper.

Throughout 100 to 400 AD, hemp spread through Europe and Britain with first noted large scale cultivation of hemp in Britain around 500 AD. The French Queen Arnemunde was draped in Hemp cloth when she was buried in 570 AD which shows the hemp was held in high esteem at this time in Europe. The Vikings relied on Hemp ropes, sailcloth, caulking, and fishing lines on their exploration and possibly introduced hemp to Northern America, Iceland and Denmark around 800 AD. By 1500 ADs, hemp spread throughout the globe, being a staple plant for cultivation and production needs. 

history of hemp. soak

On Aug 3rd, 1492, Christopher Columbus started his great voyage across the Atlantic. His ships relied on hemp for sails, ropes and masts. Each of his ships carried 80 tones of hemp in rigging and ropes. Hemp had become so important to Britain’s dominance at sea that King Henry ordered that 1/4 acre be used for hemp out of 60 acres tilled. Hemp was a critical resource for seafaring nations, soon a shortage of hemp for industrial uses occurred, as a significant portion of hemp produced was used for maritime production.  

By 1600 AD, English Settlers In Jamestown first cultivated hemp in Newfoundland. They use the hemp for clothing, rope, sail cloth and other textiles. By 1700 AD, as demand for Hemp from England far exceeded production, US farmers in Virginia and several other colonies were required by law to grow hemp or face a severe fine or imprisonment. Hemp was so much used for paper , textile, medicinal and other purposes, that hemp cultivation became a common trade and hemp, a common commodity in the market. 

Soon, in the coming years, hemp production expanded and both hemp and cannabis were extensively used for medicinal purposes. It was after the foundation of modern nation, immigration laws and political, communal, ideological warfare's, that cannabis and hemp became an object of taboo. Social stigma surrounding migrants and migrant culture soon poured over to the political field and this made impacts on all aspects of society. In 1914 the U.S government signed the Harrison Narcotics Act, the first attempt by the government to control the use of recreational substances. This act is considered to lay the foundation stone for all subsequent legislations on drugs and marijuana. And most other nations simply followed suit of the U.S policy on drug enforcement. 

hemp history soak


With the advent of artificial fiber, aided by corporate and communal lobbies, hemp and marijuana faced a severe pushback from market and media. Social stigma towards migrants was hijacked and used as a platform to push a campaign to tarnish marijuana consumption, and subsequently all industries related to it. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, effectively began the administrational overreach and prohibition of hemp and cannabis. The tax made hemp production and procurement near difficult, and to no surprise, the act was championed by Harry Anslinger, who ruled over the Federal Narcotics Bureau (a precursor to the DEA) for more than three decades — a formative period that shaped the United States’ drug policy for years to come. The 1970 Controlled Substances Act laid the final nail, which no longer recognizes the difference between marijuana and hemp. 

The coming years, muddled with world wars, cold wars, political and economical unrest quickly created a polarized and isolated society. In this politically charged environment, with people struggling for survival around the world, hemp was slowly pushed away from trade and commerce. Cheaper alternatives took center stage, and all out prohibition on cannabis and hemp, brought the industry to a stand still. The narcotic policies engineered in the U.S around 1970 were propagated and implemented in almost all nations, beginning the dark ages for hemp. Ostracized and cut away from production chains, hemp was quickly forgotten by the public.  

Hemp is not just another fibrous plant, it's a pure natural grown revolution that can upturn the status quo and reshape established production chains. Hemp can be the cure that our species is searching for, to consume without exploitation, to thrive without destruction. The only way to bring the hemp revolution is to spread awareness, bring out the buried history, switch to hemp consumption, and promote hemp industries. Your consumption decides which crops are sown.


Legality of Cannabis.  

history of hemp soak

How hemp and cannabis came to be classified as narcotics around the world.  

Transition of cannabis and hemp from everyday objects to highly illegal substances was fast and dramatic. A plant that was cultivated and used for innumerable purposes, was criminalized and ostracized, within a short period of history, compared to the historic legacy hemp and cannabis possess. As time progressed, further observation and documentation doubtlessly proved that these laws were ill thought out, ethnically biased,  commercially motivated and structured to establish the status quo. Cannabis regulations were a means to an end, to monopolies industries and autocrize societies. 

When modern nations were formed and administrative policies were being shaped, research and enforcement into drugs and narcotics was minimal. Authorities around the world started acting on drug regulations, when these substances creeped into military camps. Initial researches were military and command oriented, where the effect of a substance was measured in respect to the patient’s willingness to follow orders or execute specific tasks. This outlook severely restricted the outcomes of these studies, which neglected almost all other facets of the human psyche. Drug enforcement policies till date take their root from this outlook, where authorities treat humans as mere functionaries in a system, neglecting the potential medicinal, recreational and creative outputs generated from these trials.

World wide regulations on cannabis and hemp are derived from or followed in lines of three United Nations treaties: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. These policies were shaped under the active guidance of the U.S government, an era where Harry Anslinger was spearheading the anti cannabis fear propaganda. Anslinger, well known for all his xenophobic, racist characteristics, was the key figure in shaping U.S drug war and the international drug policies. 

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.

Some other well known figures in this ruthless campaign were banker Andrew Mellon, industrial wood company Dupont, and media mogul William Randolph. The top figures in media, politics, industries and bureaucracy, united by corporate greed and communal hatred, launched an onslaught against hemp and cannabis. Hemp, targeted for its industrial uses, and cannabis, to criminalize the users or prominent communities using it.

Advocates against hemp were motivated by industrial profits, for hemp posed a major challenge to several established industrial monopolies of now. After the industrial revolution, almost every locally sourced or handmade product we used was replaced by mass produced, machine made artificial substitutes. Replacing local or natural sourced products with artificial, mass produced, higher priced goods was an impossible task, till the corporate lobbies decided to cut out the competitors, to criminalize or shutter down all other possible chains of production. Hemp was crucified in this campaign, effectively cutting out a major chunk of the market competition. 

Criminalizing hemp cleared out a huge gap in the market sector, which was quickly occupied by industries of varying size and interests. Paper, plastic, artificial fibers and even food production and oil industries profited from this move. Burying hemp under the chaos surrounding cannabis and establishing other industries to fill the production void, creating demand and delivering supply, Capitalism 101. 

The U.S drug policy was born out of the desperation of several key players in the society, to uphold and protect their sacred catholic ways of life. Cannabis was regulated as a tool to target immigrants from developing nations, using narcotics regulation as a legal tool to incriminate, imprison or deport these humans. Cannabis and hemp occupied the center stage of the culture and lives of several communities around the world. The excessive urge of the First world nations to cleanse themselves off migrant populations, to build high their conservative walls of ignorance, fueled decades of war on a major section of the human population. This war was cloaked under a campaign against narcotics and terrorism, and cannabis, plant of the people, was criminalized, monopolies established. 

The neo liberal global market and the associated established production chains are founded on international abilities to source, produce and deliver resources. Hemp and cannabis were two such natural resources the status quo manipulated to propel themselves to the top. All rebellions are meaningless, unless the rebellions can upset this status quo and democratize means of production. Hemp for Humanity.


Why Hemp?

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Why change to hemp? 

Hemp is more than just a fibrous plant from the cannabis family, it's a resource that can reshape the way we produce and consume. Hemp excels over other natural fibers as a tool for textile exploration, it can serve as a substitute to protein and food sources and is even capable of reshaping the construction and energy sector. Yet, Hemp remains on the sidelines of the global market and there is an urgent need for consumers to consciously convert to hemp products, to keep the industry thriving. Why should we choose hemp over the other options? Why hemp?

The key lies in understanding global commerce and production chains. Before the dawn of the industrial era, markets were isolated from one another and a major share of the consumer demands in these markets were met through naturally sourced, organic solutions. In the innate stage of commerce, the demand for products and services were regionally restricted, cyclical and the supply was met from within the market, with minimal inter market commerce. The later centuries are marked by rapid expansion in trade, procurement and production. As the needs and wants grew, so did the industries and associated trades. The Industrial revolution created a rapid expansion in production and supply, fueled global trade and shaped new industries. 

Hemp was cut out of this industrial progress. Shackled in absurd laws that curtailed production and consumption, hemp was nearly pushed to extinction in the commercial market. Artificially created substitutes were found for these natural products, that were cheaper and easier to mass produce. Synthetic end products became a norm of the market, partly due to abundance of supply of synthetic materials and partly due to high price and short supply of natural products.

A production model came to be setup, that valued end products and profits more than the raw materials and resources utilized. Exponential production of synthetic materials was met by inhuman exploitation of natural resources. This philosophy forms the cornerstone of the exploitative industrialization and aggressive trade practices we see today. Supply requirements are met through draining natural resources and human labour. Demand requirements are met through consumer psychology manipulation and predatory legislation. 

End results of the unethical capitalistic march are starkly visible around us. Crashing economies, undervalued human labour, acute shortage and disparity of resources, global ecosystems on the brink of collapse, all born out of this Pandora's box. Climate colonialism is a reality, disadvantaged nations and communities are struggling for survival while the industrial march continues unchecked. Our consumption patterns have led us eventually to the edge of imminent climate catastrophe. The major industries of global commerce, namely textile, food production, transportation and the energy sector together have severely damaged global ecosystems, uprooted lives and livelihoods of millions and caused irrecoverable damage to our natural trove of resources. 

The global textile industry itself serves as a key player in this demographic. Not only the chief contributor to ecological damage, but also an industry capable of shaping ecology and societal conditions. With its veins embedded in almost every sector of the global market, right from cultivation to production, transportation and end use, the textile industry has the power to shape the global lifestyle. Over the decades, the industry has corroded a vast section of our natural resources, destabilized communities and livelihoods and altered complete ecosystems. From this standpoint, our consumption patterns can potentially shape this planet’s future.

The realities around us are eventually shaped by the production chains and trade models we set up. The only realistic way to change the established production model is to change what we consume. Industries thrive on delivering what sells. Conventional models of production need to be pushed out and space created for innovative, sustainable solutions. This can be achieved only when the consumers become conscious of what they consume. For only when the buyers demand better results, does the sellers provide better. As consumers, you are the ones who hold the power, the power to demand, the power to ask for better solutions.

The need of the hour is for us to analyze our consumption, the kind of trade we are promoting and be aware of the impact we create. Every product or service we consume has a natural chain of production and side results. Only when we become aware of this and alter our consumption pattern accordingly, can we challenge the status quo.

Bringing hemp back as the industry norm can potentially alter the consumption patterns of our species and recreate a sustainable model of production. This can be achieved only when the consumer decides to.

Thus Hemp.


hemp soak

Who Banned Cannabis ??

The men who shaped world narcotics policy.

Harry Anslinger, the benchmark name in cannabis prohibition history, the man whose actions and beliefs shaped, or rather shattered lives and livelihoods of countless humans. The regulations on cannabis and the societal taboo surrounding it is so well cemented on the popular psyche, that few even naturally question or even raise the question “WHY?”. This is the true legacy of Harry Anslinger. The inhumane policies and doctrines that he propagated and promoted, which combined drug use, ethnicity, culture and music to criminalise select races and cement western white supremacy, still forms the keystone of global narcotic policies.

( We shall in no way go over and over Anslinger’s popular remarks and statements in this article. Nor will this article pursue tabloid stories and personal instances of Anslinger. 

Giving more audience to his xenophobic and racist venom, is to do humanity a great harm.)

Harry Anslinger, was set on his crusade for power and glory from a very early age, he displayed extraordinary zeal in chasing down frauds and cons for railroad companies. Eager to please uncle Sam and rise through the ranks, he set out on chasing rum runners in the Bahamas and made glory in the 1920s. Uncle Sam, happy with his loyal revenue securing knight, appointed him the commissioner of the newly formed Federal Narcotics Bureau. A shining gladiator for the white emperors, out to crush whoever the higher powers deem enemies.

From the high echelons of power, he etched in stone his rules and ideologies, set down the guiding principles for an eternal war and like any other previous self anointed gods did, called for his gladiators, to conquer, enslave and crucify anyone unworthy of the state.


history of hemp

Harry Anslinger, William Randolph Hearst, and John D. Rockefeller Jr., the holy trinity of cannabis prohibition. Head of the serpent that spit legislative venom on anyone that posed a challenge for the western supremacy. His campaign screams of corporate collusion and his ideologies are outright xenophobic and racist. His glorious crusade was funded and helped by the state and the corporate kingmakers of the time, all standing to profit one way or the other from outlawing cannabis and hemp.

Diving deeper into history and newspaper reports, The American society was going through radical transformations in the early 1900s. Society was still adapting to accommodate immigrants and foreigners, eagerly clinging to their pedestals of security and privilege, unwilling to step down from their roles as masters to equal citizens in a global nation. Privileged sections of the American society were ambiguous on accepting foreign cultures and livelihoods thriving on their soil. It was in this virgin field of genuine fear and uncertainty that Anslinger sowed his seeds of racial prejudice.

The field was ripe with fear and hatred, all it required for war was someone to ring the division bell, to fly the symbols on the skies and shout slogans. A leader rose, shining in his armoured Federal powers, proclaiming to know the truth, flaunting his power and shouting from stages what people murmured under their breaths. Like Hitler once proclaimed elimination of Jews as the panacea for German ache, Anslinger advocated a war on cannabis as the ultimate crusade for American glory.  

Why cannabis? Like all other dictators choosing their symbols for war, cannabis was chosen for all the right reasons to personally fuel Anslinger's rapid rise to power. Cannabis was already being portrayed in a notorious tone in the media, being associated with crimes relating to minorities and immigrants. Whispers were already afoot about cannabis being a mind altering drug that promotes criminal instinct and rebellious mentality. Though completely unscientific and propagated by vested interests, these were enough to stir up a communal agenda for cannabis prohibition.

Hemp was the most thriving cash crop in the states. But hemp posed a major challenge to several new age industries that stood as potential candidates to generate billions in profits. Being a home grown crash crop that can be grown and processed anywhere, hemp stood as a major challenge for monopolies with eyes on textile, paper production, energy industry and the drug and pharmaceutical sector. Hemp and cannabis, a staple home made medicine for a large section of the population, posed the greatest threat to establishment of drug and pharmaceutical monopolies. Several key industrialists stood to benefit immensely from a ban on hemp. 

Thus Cannabis and Hemp.

Any ideological campaign or movement to gain traction in the real world, it needs to resonate with target sections of the society, moreover it needs immense manforce and media patronage to attain rapid growth. Cannabis checked all the requirements for Anslinger and including hemp on the campaign gave him his loyal corporate patronage. He had federal power, power of the state, corporate patronage and media favour and the privilege to stand on the podiums of global power and mindlessly shape policies that can decimate livelihoods.

Enter J. D Rockefeller and William Randolph Hearst, the future kingpins of the U.S economy, the corporate guardian angels for Anslinger’s ruthless campaign. Anslinger had no challenge in finding their favour, both standing to benefit immensely from a blanket ban on hemp. Rockefeller was the poster boy for American capitalism, the shining prince riding on the corporate giant Standard Oil Company. At that time the family business was going through turbulent times with the coalfield wars and unearthed political scams. But also, Standard oil had started petrochemicals and was standing on the verge of corporate expansion of never before seen magnitudes. They were also poised to enter into the drugs and pharma industry, all this made a ban on hemp, an imminent need for the junior prince. He alone was able to generate countless manipulated medical reports and evidences, buy out media and political patronage and propel Anslinger to a global presence. 

William Hearst, well he owned the media. The head of the legendary Hearst Communications, the founding father of yellow page journalism, the person who taught the media to generate revenue by hinging on sensationalism and scandals. Hearst owns the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, Cosmopolitan and Esquire. It owns 50% of the A&E Networks cable network group and 20% of the sports cable network group ESPN, both in partnership with The Walt Disney Company. The family has around 35 global magazines under their influence as of now, more than 20 newspapers and has interest in several broadcasting channels in both cable and the internet. Back in 1920, hemp was enemy number one for Hearst, who owned immense assets in paper production from wood. Any wonder on why the urgency to ban hemp?

The corporate warlords were already ready with their cash chests open, waiting for the war call to echo. Anslinger simply had to step in as the expert opinion on cannabis related crimes and quickly captured the media spotlight with his outlandish claims and straight out racist remarks. Mobilising political support was a much easier task compared to manipulating the public psyche. Once anointed with federal power, all he had to do was chase down the immigrants and pin absurd cannabis related crimes on them, just enough to get media attention. Oh and the media did give attention. He was propelled on a pedestal and his views broadcasted to all. His absurd racist ramblings and political call to war was aired with complete normalcy and  with patronage from the authorities to such an extent, his dictates and mandates became the rule.

Throw into this crisis, the official U.S warmonger Nixon, the unholy alliance was sealed. War was afoot.

The bureau took its baby steps hunting down heroin and cocaine in an era 30 years before even the birth of Pablo Escobar. Starved of attention worthy enemies to hunt down, then head of division, Anslinger was forced to conjure up a new enemy for the state to wage perpetual war against. Cannabis became his chosen victim, an insignia for his gladiators to bear on his holy crusade and hemp, targeted to satisfy his corporate overlords. Anslinger’s relentless campaign on cannabis lays the foundational framework for the notorious U.S drug war, the ultimate tool up Uncle Sam’s sleeves to force feed you freedom, while he loots and plunders millions.

The war that Anslinger started off, has grown into a monstrous beast that is too hard to be tamed down. He laid down the framework, invoked forbidden alliances and let loose a war that has been waged on for centuries. A war waged in the shadows, war raging in the detention camps and refugee centres, a war that transcends all geographical borders, one that permeates all our lives and souls. The war for humanity’s soul. Choose your sides. Choose wisely. For those who stay silent are as guilty as those who slaughter.

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