Interviewer: Hemp often gets tied to marijuana, but there are a lot of
beneficial products for hemp - hemp oils, a lot of things, medicinally-
based. What's your thought on that?
Dr. Upton: Same. It's exactly the same with one little twist that the hemp
variety of cannabis has very little THC. What's his name? Wood Harrelson
was on TV saying, "You'd have to smoke a crap load of this stuff. It's just
not worth it. There's so much good stuff on the market, nobody would ever
try to smoke a piece of hemp rope to get high." So that was kind of a funny
anecdote from a pro.
The Waller lab at the University of Mississippi, they're part of the
National Natural Products Research Institute. Waller lab specifically has
had a contract with the DEA and I think NIDA, National Institutes for Drug
Abuse, for 30 years. They're the only federally legal source of medical
cannabis in the United States. All this is state regulations for cannabis
growers and things like that.
But they differentiate the drug type, an intermediate type, which is a
cross between the drug and the fiber type and then the third being the
fiber type. Hemp is the fiber type and very, very low in THC. Most of the
products that are made have either zero or almost imperceptible or
undetectable amounts of THC. So they're not good candidates for people
getting high and there are tremendous benefits.
The hemp itself is one of the oldest textile and economic plants that's
been used, literally from Egyptian hieroglyphics as I'm researching the
history of cannabis. The oldest is in the Chinese literature, but you've
got Egyptian hieroglyphics showing hemp. You have excavations from tombs
both with hemp and cannabis products showing up, and seeds. Seeds were used
forever as a primary staple in India and China, and in Egypt.
The oil has been used. Extracts have been used. It's been part of religious
ceremonies in [Judao]-Christian historical times, even among certain sects
of Hindu today. Hindi people today, some consider cannabis to be a very
sacred plant. Actually, there's a drink made from it where you mix it with
other herbs and pistachios and milk. It's served as the beverage of choice
on the holy night of Sheva. That's still, today, among some sects in India.