Poole & Hunt Foundry, Baltimore, MD circa 1917
Word Smith: Hemp
A cousin to the hallucinogenic plant, marijuana, hemp or jute has been used by humanity for centuries in the cordage trade.
The Poole & Hunt Foundry, which was located in the Jones Falls Valley of Baltimore, thrived on the making of braided ropes and sashes that were used in the shipping industry. Their cordage, prized for its durability, was also the first to be used in San Francisco, when they wanted the most sturdy and reliable cables in the world for their steep hill climbing cable cars.
Hemp, or Industrial Hemp, is typically found in the northern hemisphere. It is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, that farmers cultivate specifically for the industrial uses. Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants that humans used to braid and spin into usable fibers, over 10,000 years ago.
Hemp can be refined and reprocessed into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, bio-fuel, food, and animal feed.
Although Cannabis sativa is a drug, industrial hemp is harvested from a distinct strain with unique psychoactive component (for example THC) with its own phytochemical composition and uses. Industrial help has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The laws that purport Industrial Hemp as “legal” vary widely among states and different counties of the globe. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC in all plants and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content.