What is hemp? Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.
Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a botanical class of Cannabis sativa cultivars grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use. Hemp typically has lower concentrations of total THC and may have higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD). The hemp plant is a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb. The slender canelike stalks are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves are compound with palmate shape, and the flowers are small and greenish yellow. The defining difference between hemp and marijuana is their psychoactive component: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp has 0.3% or less THC, while marijuana typically has 5% to 20% THC. Hemp-derived CBD ingredients, including plant extracts or isolates, have become extremely popular for use in foods, beverages, and food supplements. As a multi-use crop, hemp is considered one of the oldest plants cultivated to provide nutritional and medicinal benefits.
In the US, hemp was grown extensively by many of the original colonies and was an important crop in the US economy until the 19th century. In the early 20th century, hemp was increasingly regulated and eventually outlawed in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act. In 2014, the Farm Bill was passed, allowing the commercial cultivation of hemp in the US. Globally, cannabis was used in India in very early medical applications. People believed it could quicken the mind, prolong life, improve judgment, lower fevers, induce sleep, and cure dysentery. From northern New England down to Virginia, hemp was being widely cultivated. Colonial farmers grew hemp to be used for a multitude of purposes.
It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago.
It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. Hemp is also used for medicinal purposes and is a legal substance in many countries around the world.
What can Hemp be used for?
Hemp is a versatile and renewable resource and has many potential uses today.
- For paper, hemp stalks can be processed into a pulp, which can then be used to create paper. Hemp paper is considered to be more durable and eco-friendly than traditional paper. It is also more cost-effective, as hemp stalks are renewable and require less energy to process than traditional paper sources.
- For construction, hemp is used to create hempcrete, a material made from the fibers of hemp plants, which is used as an insulation material. Hempcrete is considered to be more sustainable and efficient than traditional insulation materials, as it is made from a renewable resource and has a low carbon footprint. Hemp paint is made from the seed oil of the plant and is used as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional paints.
- Hemp insulation is made from the fibrous stalks of the plant and is used as an alternative to traditional insulation materials, such as fiberglass or cellulose.
- Hemp biofuel is made from the seeds of the plant and is used as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels.
- Plastics can also be made from hemp. Hemp fibres are used to create bioplastics, which are recyclable and biodegradable, depending on the formulation. Hemp-derived cellulose has been promoted as an affordable and renewable raw material for plastics, and Henry Ford even built a car with a body made from hemp-derived plastic.
- Hemp fibres are also used to create clothing, rope, and cordages. Hemp is highly durable and strong and is often used in the production of apparels, fabrics, and other textiles.
- Hemp is also used in the production of concrete, as well as animal bedding and insulation. Hempcrete is a material made from hemp fibers, which is highly sustainable and efficient, and is often used as an insulation material.
- Hemp food products are made from the seeds and the oil of the plant and can be used as a vegan alternative to other sources of protein. Hemp is also used in animal feed, as it can provide a good source of protein for animals.
- Hemp is also used as a medicinal plant and is known to contain several cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, and more. CBD is the most widely studied cannabinoid and is known to have several health benefits including relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety, stress, and more.
Overall, hemp is a highly versatile and renewable resource and has many potential uses today, from paper and plastics to clothing and construction materials.