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Bad Plant, Good Plant

Wonderful World of Hemp header

One of the main reasons that many people are apprehensive or flatly opposed to trying a hemp-derived product—such as a CBD sublingual oil—is because they are worried that it will get them “high”, and for one reason or another this is an effect they do not desire. Most of the time their reluctance is based on fear of the unknown or fear from antiquated misinformation.

Americans, along with citizens of other countries that take their lead from the U.S., can pin-the-tail on the “ass” by the name of Henry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S Federal Bureau of Narcotics who served in this position under six presidential administrations beginning in the 30’s. His string of lies regarding cannabis resulted in misinformation that has lingered in the minds of Americans for decades. Anslinger used racial prejudice as his number one platform, along with his own professional ambitions, to make cannabis a newly-discovered threat to (white) America. In the world according to Anslinger, and with no substantiated evidence, cannabis was a deadly, addictive drug. He enthusiastically instilled baseless fear into the minds of the American public by demonizing the plant and in 1938 released Reefer Madness, a ludicrous propaganda film. His ignorance was so profound that that he never made a distinction between the ancient, multi-use, utilitarian, industrial hemp and the recreational marijuana. It was all lumped together as one evil plant.

Differences between hemp and marijuana

Through decades of fictitious narratives, the one fact remains—that NO ONE has ever died from a marijuana overdose. But people love to hate this plant and continue to wage a war on an incredibly friendly, misconstrued, green neighbor of our planet. Cannabis has now finally been differentiated into either hemp or marijuana, has triumphantly emerged from the dungeons of shame and has proven to possess more benefit to humankind and our planet than anyone can ever imagine.

Nevertheless, it remains a challenge for those of us in the freshly, re-emerged hemp industry to get people to comprehend the major differences between Hemp—the serious, hard-working, innocent bystander—and its fun-loving cousin with its blemished reputation—Marijuana—who has now turned academic. Since both plants are scientifically classified as species of Cannabis—Cannabis sativa, C. indica or hybrids of the two—they inevitably possess numerous genetic similarities as well.

HelloHemp! is here to offer CR some of the best hemp-derived products from the U.S. market, and more importantly, to help heighten the appreciation, increase public knowledge and remove the stigma surrounding cannabis through the sharing of current news, information and research.

Donna is a Horticulturist and Hemp advocate. She transplanted her business HelloHemp! to Quepos, which offers top-quality, full-lab tested CBD products.
For more info: hellohempar.com, follow us on hellohempar.com, donnaporter@hellohempar.com or call/text/WhatsApp 6007-7779.


The American Arrival

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USS ConstitutionIt is hard to believe that there were times in history when hemp was such a significant economic crop that farmers were punished for NOT cultivating it. Its highly regarded status in England and Europe was a most influencing factor for its arrival into the Americas, along with its continued cultivation throughout Colonial America.

During the reign of England’s King Henry VIII in 1535, hemp cultivation was the law of the land and farmers had to set a portion of their acreage for hemp, otherwise, they would be fined. Henry mandated hemp cultivation to make rope, sails, nets and other naval equipment because it was the fiber of choice for maritime uses due to its natural decay and salt resistance and its adaptability to cultivation. Each warship and merchant vessel required miles of hemp line and tons of hemp canvas, which meant the Crown’s hunger for the commodity was great. Ship captains were ordered to disseminate hemp seed far and wide to provide fiber wherever repairs might be needed in distant lands.

At that time in history, England was a black sheep among European countries because of the Reformation – England’s split from the Catholic Church (the Brexit of today). To prevent another European kingdom from forcing England back into the fold, Henry assembled one of the world’s first professional navies.

The threat of invasion slowly became a reality under the reign of Henry’s daughter Elizabeth I, who faced war with Spain—the global superpower of the 16th century, so Elizabeth ordered even more hemp to be grown and made the penalties for breaking that law even stiffer. Henry’s and Elizabeth’s preparations paid off in 1588, when England’s hemp-outfitted ships destroyed the Spanish Armada. So, in an alternate history, Spanish might be the official language throughout North America if it were not for the hemp plant.

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Hemp Origins, Evolution & History

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Map showing origins It is nearly impossible to write about the origins of hemp without referencing its psychoactive cousin marijuana, because they originated as one, as Cannabis, and their histories are as intertwined as they are separable. Its origins and evolution are as complex and compelling of a subject as its multifaceted utilization and intricate composition. Initially, distinctions between hemp and marijuana were based on the route it took during its evolution, its adaptation and then later by its narcotic effect. Its history has been laced with the confusion of, is it one in the same or are they different and how? But it was not until the last couple of centuries that a scientific analysis of the percentage of one chemical component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), became the one distinguishing (and demonizing) factor that separated and characterized the two.

There is still so much that scientists need to uncover to fully comprehend the ancient history of Cannabis, and there are conflicting theories, but most researchers agree that its origins were in Central & South Asia. To this day, the flowering herb grows wild across vast grassland regions of Eurasia that spans western China and Mongolia through Kazakhstan and south toward India and the Middle East. But this does not explain how this one plant evolved so distinctly into either industrial hemp or the psychoactive marijuana. A much greater force than man could have been responsible—the force of nature.

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The Wonderful World of Hemp

Hello Hemp headerThe Journey

Hola, hola Quepolandians and visitors! It has been years since I last wrote for Quepolandia. My articles will still be plant-based, but this time the focus will be specifically on Cannabis sativa L./Hemp and its countless components, uses and benefits, including the ever-so-popular CBD/Cannabidiol.

First, a little of my background to shed some light as to why I feel sufficiently enlightened to be writing on this topic, which I hope will serve to inform and educate you readers on this extraordinary plant. My degree is in Horticulture, and I have been working with plants for over 40 years. Cannabis has been an interest of mine for decades, and I studied and worked with it it in my earlier years. But it was not until I discovered a book entitled Hemp Bound (at the former Jamie Peligro bookstore in Quepos) in 2017 that I realized what Hemp was and its enormous potential to humankind. This book was published in 2014—before we had even heard of CBD. Soon following that enriching read, Smoke Signals—A Social History of Cannabis by Martin Lee was next in queue. By then I was chomping at the bit for more knowledge and ready to return to the states to further my education on this plant and its blossoming, legal industry.

This is a good place to make this distinction: Cannabis includes both Marijuana and Hemp. Hemp is then categorized as either Industrial Hemp—which is grown for its stalk and seed, or Medicinal Hemp—grown mainly for CBD/Cannabidiol extraction. Medicinal Hemp is basically Marijuana with the THC—the psychoactive compound—bred out of it or to levels not to exceed 0.3%, which is the legal limit in the U.S. More on this in future articles.

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Natives and Exotics

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Heliconia wagneriana

Heliconia wagneriana

By Donna Porter

It is no exaggeration when we say that Costa Rica is a plant paradise. We, literally, live in the wonderful world of plants. Costa Rica contains over 5% of the world’s biodiversity of flora and fauna, while encompassing only .025% of the earth’s land mass. To put the country more into perspective (at least for those who know U.S. geography) it is about 4/5 of the area of the state of West Virginia, which is the 9th smallest U.S. state. Costa Rica consists of 12 different, eco-climatic zones, which range from the coastal lowlands to the cloud forests. Within these twelve zones grows over 11,000 species of native, vascular (has a xylem and phloem – not including mosses, lichens, etc) plants, including 1,500 species of trees, 1.300 species of orchids, 800 species of ferns and 200 species of bromeliads. These very impressive numbers have been attributed to the location of the country. It has been defined as a “bridge” between North and South America, which links these two continents together. For this reason it is believed that Costa Rica has inherited an astonishing diversity of plant (and animal) species from both continents. 


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Papaya – The Fruit of the Angels

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papayaBy Donna Porter

If you had to make a short list of tropical fruits to grow and to consume, papaya, Carica papaya, should be at the top of your list. Papaya – commonly called Pawpaw in parts of the world – is a super food whose health benefits outweigh those of many other fruits and vegetables. It is rated as one of the top three most nutritional fruits by many nutritionists. Christopher Columbus called it “the fruit of the angels”. That is a statement worthy of merit and some deep contemplation. 


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Bamboo – an ancient alternative

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By Donna Porter

bamboo

No one can dispute the exquisite elegance, beauty and allure of a masterfully-crafted and finely-finished piece of wood. Its brilliance and warmth, glass-like texture and intricately-designed natural grain are one of the most revered architectural elements known to man. It has graced castles and palaces of royalty and mansions of the rich and famous around the world, and will continue to do so at all expense. Tropical hardwoods such as Red and Cuban Mahogany, Primavera, Cocobolo, Teak, Purpleheart and Brazilian Cherry will forever be admired and cherished in the building and wood craft industries – unlikely to ever be fully replaced or forgotten. 


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Not Just Another Pretty Place

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By Donna Porter

gardenWhere do you go when you just want to forget about life for awhile – to relax, to reflect, to walk at a snail’s pace and breath it all in or to spend some passive time with family or friends away from your home?  Perhaps you go to the beach, or shopping, or to a park or for a drive.  Whether we are still of the working class or retired, our lives seem to be so full of physical and mental activity that we forget to stop…. and smell the roses.  Having a refuge – a safe and peaceful place to go – is healthy and essential for our overall happiness and well-being.


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The Power of Plants

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By Donna Porter

Plants can stir your emotions – induce in you a feeling – if not by their unparalleled beauty, then by their majestic nature.  Have you ever been in the presence of a plant and felt just a little humbled?  Awed?  Even slightly intimidated?  Perhaps, somewhere in your life, you have come upon a tree, for example, where you almost felt the need to fall down on your hands and knees to praise its magnificence and grandeur. Trees possess this power and ability more than most plants. 

Ceiba pentandra

Ceiba pentandra

In the northern latitudes and temperate climates of the world there are the humungous Northern Redwoods, the massive Tulip Poplars, the strong and mighty Oaks and the supreme Maples and Beeches.  Whether you are overcome by its dramatically huge trunk diameter or its sky-bound height or its overall grandness, trees can make us humans feel like tiny serfs in their almighty kingdom.  Their inherent power and beauty inclines one to address them as “your majesty”. 


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A Micro-Plant from the Past for Present and Future Use

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By Donna Porter

A million or so years ago, when the earth was younger and the seas covered the land and freshwater seas were abundant, billions of algae -like organisms developed.   All of the waters of the earth where inhabited by microscopic one-celled, algae-type plants called diatoms (Melosira spp.).  These diatoms absorbed the minerals (mainly silica) from the water, creating protective shells or exoskeletons for themselves. They lived in quantities beyond the mind’s ability to conceive and provided nutrition and sustenance for other forms of sea life. As they died, their exoskeletons sunk to the bottom of the sea beds where vast deposits- thousands of feet thick – were laid down. When the waters receded, these huge deposits were eventually covered with land and the shells fossilized and compressed into a soft, chalk-like rock called diatomite or diatomaceous earth (DE).  Geological upheavals over the eons have exposed these abundantly-rich sedimentary deposits.


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Tropical Flowering Shrubs – A Color Extravaganza

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By Donna Porter

With all of the boldly exotic-looking tropical beauties that we have to choose from to use in our gardens and landscapes, like Helcionias, Gingers, Aroids, Marantas and Crotons, we sometimes forget that we also have a fabulous selection of flowering tropical shrubs that add even more color, form, grace and pizzazz to our world and for our eyes to behold.  Unlike their aforementioned garden companions, flowering shrubs perform nearly year round and add a rainbow of color and flower form to your garden or landscape.  Below are just a handful of what I believe are some of the most noteworthy of the most commonly seen in our area and in a nice assortment of colors.  Remember also that most flowering shrubs give their best performance when sited in a location where they receive at least 6 hours of full sun.


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Marantaceae – One Shady Family

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By Donna Porter

Allow me to introduce you to one of the shadiest families I know of – the Marantaceae Family.  They love dark, damp, hummusy places….. but, are actually a fine and honorable group of plants that have even been known to pray.  These bold beauties exult and thrive in the shade, where their colors are more pronounced, rich and vibrant.  There simply could not be a lovelier selection of shade- loving plants than those that are found in the Marantaceae Family.  It is commonly known as the Prayer Plant Family due to the fact that a few of the species of this family (mainly Maranta leuconeura, commonly called “Prayer Plant”) rolls together its leaf edges and slants upward, like praying hands, in response to darkness.  This lengthwise cupping of the leaf is made possible due to a specialized joint on the leaf’s petiole (seen at the base of the leaf) called the pulvinus. The pulvinus allows this movement in the leaf and also makes for easy identification of this family.


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A Precious Plant with Plentiful & Promising Purpose

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If ever you had to choose but one plant amongst all of the other plants on the planet to co-exist with or you ever found yourself in a dire survival situation, which plant would you choose; which plant would you seek out?   (Hint – it is a tropical plant, that can grow up to 100 ft. in height, produces a nut and is the paradigm of the tropics and tropical beauty).  Well, if you chose the Coconut Palm, Cocos nucifera, then you chose wisely and your chances of survival would be high. In Malaysia it is called “the tree of a thousand uses” and in the Phillipines “the tree of life” – and these titles are highly warranted.


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Celebrating Our Essential Companions of Our Planet

hibiscusBy Donna Porter

Over numerous decades and generations, the world renowned song “Imagine” by John Lennon has touched the hearts of billions of people and made us all contemplate, at some time, living in a world united in peace – a oneness.  His lyrics have inspired us to imagine a world without a heaven, a world without countries, a world without religion, without possessions, a world without a need for greed or hunger. These were, and still remain, very thought provoking and profound words to encourage world peace.  But, sadly enough, here in the year 2011, these things are still so hard to imagine. Wars continue to rage around the world as does greed and hunger. John Lennon wrote these lyrics in the 1970’s – the era of the peace movement that was born due to the Vietnam War.


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The Araceae Family – More popular than they know

hibiscusBy Donna Porter

If there were ever a world-wide popularity contest of families in the plant world, without a doubt, the Araceae family and its members would win – hands down.  This family’s realm of existence extends from the most frigid of northern climates to the sweltering tropical rainforest of the southern hemisphere.  Its fame is not due to characteristics such as possessing exquisitely-beautiful or scented flowers (as the orchid), or deliciously- sweet fruit (as the mango), or intricate and outrageously- colorful foliage (as the croton).  The truth is that this family’s expansive recognition is mainly due to the fact that it can tolerate low-light conditions, adapt to low-humidity environments, scoff at neglect and travel well.  And, yes, their handsomely-bold and striking foliage has also greatly helped. This renowned family of plants includes an astonishing 108 genera and nearly 3,700 species.  With the assistance of man, its celebrity members have traversed the globe from their native tropical habitats into shopping malls, offices, hotel lobbies and homes of every climate imaginable.


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