Hop meets Hemp is this years Festival theme

The Hop Farm is one of the world’s largest collection of Victorian oast houses and was once a major supplier of hops to London breweries in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hop Farm is an exciting place to learn about Hop history whilst enjoy a full day of family fun and even meet their huge Shire horses.

We are living in a time of a Hemp renaissance – Hemp has just been removed from the controlled substances act in America and a  revolution is steadily happening all over the World – Governments are embracing the healing benefits and properties of Hemp and CDB derived products – Hemp no longer will be in a Niche market and is returning as a cash crop, needing little water, grows fast in poor soil without pesticides potentially freeing up scarce water supplies 

Hop and Hemp a amazing history of Prohibition

Even if you don’t know much about beer, you have probably heard of hops, a key ingredient in modern beer-making.  In addition to functioning as a preservative, hops provide beer with a unique flavor. The cone-shaped flower comes in a variety of strains, and connoisseurs can distinguish them by their aromatic bouquets.  Sound familiar?

Because of certain common structural features, Hemp the Cannabis sativa and Hops the Humulus lupulus are the two most economically significant species belonging to the same plant family—Cannabinaceae. While that doesn’t mean much, it is an interesting factoid Hemp and beer enthusiasts can celebrate.

Both Hops and Hemp are green, resinous flowers. They are similarly shaped as well—their buds appear as small cones. Hemp and hops leaves also share a similar structure. Larger humulus leaves and all Hemp leaves are palmately lobed, which means that the leaves come from a common point the way that fingers all spread from a single palm. In both cases, the leaves are serrated along the margins, giving them a jagged appearance. The leaves also always have stipules (small leaf-like appendages) at the base of their stalks. Finally, both hops and Hemp come in countless varieties or strains, each containing a unique set of flavors and attributes.

Of course, hemp and hops differ physically as well. For one, hops plants grow as vines while Hemp plants grow like trees or bushes. Hops vines can get much longer than Hemp plants can get tall—humulus vines can reach up to 30 feet while the tallest Hemp plants can stretch up to 20 feet. Hemp buds are much fuzzier and denser than hops flowers, which appear to have small, green, and almost translucent petals.

The shared chemical attributes between hops and hemp are apparent in the way that each plant smells. The compounds responsible for their flavorful scents are called terpenes. Terpenes are volatile chemical compounds that, in addition to smells, express therapeutic attributes as well. Some of the most common terpenes found in hops are beta-pinene, alpha-humulene, and myrcene. These terpenes are also commonly found in hemp plants.

Another chemical compound housed in both hops and hemp are their terpenoids. Terpenoids are derivatives of terpenes synthesized by the process of drying and curing of the two plants’ flowers. The terpenoid responsible for a hop’s bitter flavor is humulone. Humulone belongs to the class of compounds called alpha acids. The compound is also an antimicrobial—it has the antiviral and antibacterial properties that make hops a functional preservative for beer.

The terpenoid that has made hemp famous is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).  THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the mind-altering effects most cannabis enthusiasts seek when consuming pot unlike Cannabidiol—CBD—is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains makes it an appealing option for patients looking for relief

What Is CBD and why is it so popular now ?

A non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. After tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the plant, and has many potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety and seizure-suppressant properties. Cannabidiol can be sourced from both marijuana plants and hemp plants, which are legal in most countries as they contain minor amounts of THC.

“CBD is the yang to THC’s yin; it halts anxiety and elevates your level of chill without intoxication.”

A Similarly Legislated History

Both hemp and hops have been around for a while, and both industries have been shaped by prohibition. But hops differs from hemp in that it is a younger tradition and has outlived the national ban on the industry it is most associated with—alcohol.

Although beer—a mixture of malted barley, yeast, and water—has been around for ages (since the 5thmillennium BC), the introduction of hops into beer brewing became popular as recently as the 15thcentury. Before hops, beer was flavored with different combinations of herbs, spices, and other plant parts. However, hops’ microbial properties and its depth of flavor have made it the most popular choice today.

During the first half of the 20th century, alcohol was prohibited in US at the national level. Since the primary economic use of hops was in brewing beer, this definitely affected hops farmers, though its effect was surprising. According to an article by Rogue, simultaneously occurring global events mitigated the negative effects of prohibition. The cultivation and export of hops were not banned, so hops farms actually expanded, and farmers profited by exporting their product to European countries. These countries were known for their beer, but their farmland had been ravaged by the battles of World War I. By the time American alcohol prohibition ended, hops farmers were ready.

Hemp has had a much less fortuitous journey. Hemp has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for a much longer time than hops has been used to flavour beer. Like hops, hemp has been found to contain antimicrobial properties. More than that, contains antiemetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antiproliferative properties that are attributed to catalyzing the wave of medical marijuana programs popping up all over the country.

Despite its medical utility and relative safety as a recreational activity (you can’t overdose on hemp), some forms of Hemp THC has been illegal at the national level since the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. That act imposed significant sanctions on those who sold, purchased, or possessed cannabis. Cannabis prohibition reached its climax in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. That law, supported by the Nixon administration, classified cannabis as a Schedule I substance, or one that has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

As with the national alcohol ban, cannabis prohibition has not worked. Hemp is the most widely used illicit substance in the world. The world has also slowly begun to embrace the plant once again. Colombia, Mexico, Germany, Jamaica, Israel, Canada, and Uruguay are a handful of the countries that have revised their laws to be more inclusive of cannabis use for medical or recreational use. While it remains prohibited at the national level in the United States, over half of the fifty states have opted out of the national ban, electing to legalize cannabis for local medical or recreational use.

For beer lovers and cannabis enthusiasts, the relationship between Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus is no more than an interesting piece of trivia. However, one thing that the evolution of the hops and hemp industries has demonstrated is that prohibition doesn’t work, at least not the way that prohibitionists want it to. As Budweiser’s former marketing chief said about his decision to enter the cannabis industry, “When consumers want something, you ignore it at your own peril.”