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Arbeit: This speech is about hemp, also known as Cannabis, Marihuana, Reefer, Pot, Grass and other terms.
For thousands of years this plant was an important resource and medicinal herb for many cultures .
Only in our century was hemp defamed by a lobby of businessmen. This action was so perfect, that even today most people believe their lies.
But the ‘Legalize-It’ movement is becoming stronger, so one can say that changes are not far away.
I hope my speech will help to diminish prejudice against hemp.
Historians were able to prove by means of artifacts, textiles and burial objects of many cultures that hemp is the oldest useful plant in human history.
The earliest hemp-textiles date back to 8000 B.C. - about this time pottery was invented.
The Chinese describe hemp in the oldest medicine-book (pharmacopoeia), the Pen-Tsao, as an herb to treat Malaria, Rheumatism, Menstruation problems and many other common diseases and conditions.
The art of making paper out of hemp-fibers was also discovered by the Chinese around 100 B.C. (in Europe paper was invented 1200 years later!).
China’s neighbours spread the tale and the plant around until it even reached the Mediterranean area.
In most cultures hemp was praised as ‘Weed of the Gods’, which was due to its universal usability and intoxicating effects.
From the Middle Ages until around 1930, nearly all textiles and ship-rigging in Europe and America were made out of hemp-fiber.
There were even times in America when it was mandatory to grow hemp.
And finally, if you take a closer look, you can find HEMP all over the map, like HEMPstead , New HAMPshire and maybe SouthHAMPton or NorthHAMPton.
3 What hemp can be used for
What hemp was used for in the past, has already been mentioned, so now I am going to speak about the possible present useages.
1 hectar of hemp supplies as much cellulose for paper production as 4 hectars of forest. Furthermore only small amounts of harmful chemicals are needed to make hemp-paper.
Out of hemp-oil methanole can be produced, which can be used as fuel for nearly all combustion processes. Hemp-fuel is better than fossile-fuel, because no sulfur will be emitted into the atmosphere, only C02 (carbon dioxide). This amount of C02 is the same as that ‘breathed’ by the plant during growth.
3.3 Other Uses
Hemp-cellulose can be used to create many plastics, which would then be biodegradeable.
Further, it is possible to build whole houses out of hemp. It is a perfect substitute for wood in constructions. A company in France has already built over 300 detached and semi-detached houses (including pipings and furniture) with hemp.
The biochemical possibilities of hemp can be used for thousands of products - from paint to dynamite. This would mean whole new industries, with jobs for thousands and billions in tax revenues.
4 Hemp as medicine
It is known that hemp is a helpful herb in treating many diseases, but was first in 1964 discovered responsible for many of the healing effects - THC (TetraHydroCannabiol). Up until today scientists found about 60 substances in hemp of potential therapeutic use.
Scientific research was banned by law for a long time and is hindered even today, so that many possible usages are still unknown.
We know today that THC can be used to help treat asthma, glaucoma, nausea during chemotherapy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and loss of appetite or sleep.
It was even observed that oxidated THC, called CBD (CannaBiDiol) or CBN (CannaBiNol), can be used to help fight some forms of cancer.
Although hemp can be a very useful herb, it is still outlawed because of its supposed dangerous characteristics.
5 The drug THC
Here I come to the point. THC causes a ‘high’ - this is why it’s illegal.
But the importance of hemp as a industrial and medicinal resource far outweight the possible dangers of THC as a drug.
And additionally, these dangers are almost always overestimated.
There are a great number of studies which come to the conclusion that hemp is by far not as dangerous as alcohol or nicotin. Furthermore there is no possibility to become physically addicted to THC. Only a mental addiction is imaginable, but this depends on the personality of the user.
But to say it is completely harmless is wrong too. The possible dangers to one’s health are lung problems, due to smoking, and an increased possibility of injuries to others and oneself, due to carelessness and coordination-problems.
The most often quoted lie is that hemp is a ‘gateway drug’. There is simply no proof for this statement. Just as cigarettes will not lead to cigars or wine will not lead to whisky, so will hemp not lead to heroin or other hard drugs.
6 Why hemp is outlawed
You see that hemp is usable in many ways, and that there are no real dangers at all. So how was it possible to spread all these lies, and why was it done?
There is a simple answer to the why - money.
Hemp is a cheap resource, and the lobby which forced the US-government to outlaw hemp made their money with synthetic pharmaceutics (Bayer: Heroin, Merck: Kokain), paper, chemicals and oil.
The most effective weapon to mislead the public was the Boulevard-press.
They wrote about drug-crazed blacks killing whites or they brought headlines like ‘Marihuana: Assassin of Youth’. Even today, people do believe this and horror stories are still being told. They are lies nonetheless.
It is not right to prohibit hemp any further. The plant could make the earth a better place if used correctly. It could help regulate the world’s CO2 balance, create new economic conditions in Third World countries and help fighting diseases without chemicals.
It is my opinion that hemp should be totally legalized now to help the world and proceed into a better and greener future.
10 Hemp - Handout
Important Facts about Hemp
What did man do with hemp in the past?
Hemp was used by man for some thousand years in a multitude of areas - Mostly for clothes, ropes, medicine or even as food.
What can we do with hemp today?
Hemp can be used in two ways. Industrial or medical.
Hemp-oil can be used in many biochemical processes as substitute for crude oil, the hemp-fiber can be used to produce textiles or as a substitute for wood.
On the other hand, special substances in the hemp-plant are usable as medicines to help combat many common diseases.
What about the ‘dangerous drug’ Marihuana?
Dangerous drug is a plain lie.
Yes, it is a drug, but it is not more dangerous than alcohol or nicotine, in fact it is far healthier then these legal drugs.
What happened to hemp?
Hemp was outlawed around 1930 because some money-greedy businessmen defamed it by using the mass-media to their advantage.
What about the future?
Medical doctors, farmers and many industrial companies want hemp legalized again because they know about the positive sides of hemp-usage. The number of people who want hemp back in business is raising quickly, so maybe in a short period of time there will be a change in the anti-hemp law.