The Cannabis sativa plant and the products derived from it such as hemp, medicinal marijuana, and recreational marijuana are enjoying a resurgence of business and financial success.
The various forms of the cannabis plant are used for industrial, medicinal, and recreational purposes. The popularity and acceptance of hemp and marijuana have come full circle in the United States since the 1600s. In the 1600s hemp cultivation was rewarded and at times even required. In fact, hemp and marijuana products were sold openly throughout the 19th century.
The hammer began to fall on the cannabis industry in 1906 as the FDA required labeling of all hemp and marijuana products. This legislation was followed by increasingly strict laws and penalties for hemp and marijuana use throughout the 1960s highlighted by the 1936 release of the film “Reefer Madness.”
Slowly the attitude toward marijuana began to shift in the 1960s. The stringent legislation against it made it all the more popular with the counterculture. Throughout the 1970s penalties were reduced, and the Reagan War on drugs of the late eighties proved to be largely unsuccessful.
The following merits of cannabis and the financial rewards which accompany that began to be realized again during the 1990s:
- Industrial- Hemp is the plant that is used for industrial purposes. Hemp is defined as a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant which has less than .3% of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the popular euphoric high feeling. There are species of hemp plants used specifically for industrial purposes such as clothing, textiles, household goods, cosmetics, and food products. It is extremely durable and environmentally friendly.
- Medicinal-Cannabis in both marijuana and hemp forms have incredible healing and therapeutic properties. Marijuana is most known for possessing THC while hemp has other healing cannabinoids or CBD that work with the Endocannabinoid System or ECS. The ECS is made up of a series of endocannabinoids or small acidic molecules throughout the body. When the hemp or marijuana product is ingested or applied topically, it targets the C1 or C2 receptor to the part of the body in need through the ECS. THC is most connected with C1 receptors or pain relief and tumor cessation while CBD connects with C2 receptors and relieves inflammation. Additionally, both hemp and marijuana have healing properties in addition to cannabinoids.
- Recreational- Though the THC in marijuana has healing properties it is most known for its controversial recreation benefits. Though some may use it for the purpose of “getting high” it can also be a preferred substitute to alcohol for relaxing and reducing anxiety.
At present, there are four states where marijuana is completely legal and 24 states in which marijuana is legal for medicinal use with a variety of provisions. Twenty-eight states allow the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes and in 2014 President Obama signed federal legislation allowing the State Agricultural Department and universities to grow hemp for industrial use and research.
Five states have ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana in the 2016 election including, Massachusetts. Maine, Nevada, Arizona and California.
California has been instrumental in the resurgence in the popularity and business success of cannabis products. It was the first State to pass legislation for medicinal marijuana in 1996 and has relaxed the provisions for therapeutic use incrementally throughout the years.
Several business opportunities are surrounding the hemp and marijuana industries. These include both land-based and online businesses in the area of medicinal dispensaries, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, clothing and textiles, and other household goods such as replacements for products traditionally made from plastic or wood.
The hemp industry alone represents over 500 million dollars a year and with medicinal research advancements regarding both hemp and marijuana the pharmaceutical industry has jumped on board producing drugs that mimic the Endocannabinoid system.
There are still opponents surrounding the over-all and even medicinal and industrial uses of hemp and marijuana. These adversaries include religious zealots who are misled or uninformed, but mostly those with financial concerns such as the pharmaceutical industry, alcoholic beverage manufacturers, the cotton industry, and chemical companies which produce plastic and other toxic products.
Research and overall public knowledge and acceptance are certain to make businesses surrounding the cannabis industry promising and profitable.