The Hemp Plant
Hemp is a broad term that includes all varieties of the Cannabis genus that contain almost no THC – the chemical that makes marijuana psychoactive and produces the effects most commonly associated with getting high. Cannabis has several different breeds, however, it’s most infamously known for the marijuana strain (affectionately referred to as weed). Due to the similarity between the strains, many people often believe hemp and marijuana to be the same thing. The reality is that hemp actually refers to the non-drug variant that offers a host of industrial purposes, and is commonly grown for its fiber, Hurd, and seeds.
Uses of hemp
As we’re learning more and more about the plant, a better question might be: what isn’t hemp useful for?
Hemp seeds are typically used in food and other edible products. The seeds are usually hulled, and companies across the world have found hundreds of different ways to use them. They can be eaten raw or ground into a variety of meals, used to make milk, or can even be used as an incredibly effective protein powder.
Another common use for hemp seeds is to press them to produce hemp seed oil. While it’s a great option for a salad dressing, hemp seed oil can also be used in paint and ink. A large number of brands have recently started offering body care products that utilize large quantities of hemp seed oil, as there’s an increasing amount of health benefits associated with the product.
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Currently, Canada is currently the largest producer of hemp seeds – in 2015, 84,000 acres of our northern neighbor was dedicated to cultivating the plant! The particular strain of hemp most commonly grown in Canada is called Finola, which is the best option for seed cultivation, however, offer little use for their stalks due to the strain being particularly short.
The bast (Fiber)
Within the stalk of the hemp, there’s a long band known as bast fiber that runs the length of the plant. Though it might not look it, the fiber is incredibly strong – if harvested correctly, the resulting fiber is even stronger than steel! This means that the fiber harvested from hemp is often used in clothing, paper, and construction material industries – and much more.
It would take hours to list (and read) all of the many uses for the plant stalk, however, some of the main industrial uses – which number over 25,000 alone – are items that have a particular need for a strong material. This means that many bags, rope, netting, canvas, carpets, and clothing all use hemp fiber.
China is currently the largest producer of hemp stalks, and the industry is currently valued at over $200M. This is expected to grow as hemp becomes used for even more products, and in 1938 an article in Popular Mechanics called the plant a ‘billion-dollar crop’ due to the unbelievably strong fiber.
The Shiv (Hurd)
Hemp Hurd is the inner core of the hemp plant stem and is often called the woody core due to the way it looks. It’s highly absorbent and contains high quantities of cellulose, and is notable for having great acoustic and thermal properties. Currently, the Hurd can be used for two different methods:
- If the product is left untreated and isn’t refined, it can be used for many industrial and everyday products. Hemp Hurd currently plays a big part in the production of cement, insulation, and paper.
- When it’s used to make pulp, hemp
hurdis integral to the creation of biodegradable plastic. This is leading to the creation of products that are even easier to break down and recycle, meaning hemp is a far more sustainable material than most current options. The pulp created from hemp is also being used to create a hemp-based concrete – creatively named ‘hempcrete’. This has been gaining significant traction across Europe and in Canada, where hempcrete is being used to build property due to it having strong insulation properties as well as it being windproof. It’s once again a far more sustainable option, as it creates a much smaller carbon footprint.
- As well as the products listed above, hemp hurds
arealso being used as animal bedding, biodegradable garden mulch, and insulation-based construction materials.
Learn more about hemp
If you’re interested in learning more about the plant, we’ve compiled a couple of hemp-full links to help you on your way.
Hemp seeds are often referred to as the “perfect food”, due to the huge list of health benefits that we’re still discovering. This makes hemp seed an unbeatable supplement to add to anyone’s diet!
Hemp is often misunderstood due to its relation to marijuana. If you’re still not sure, you can read more on the topic.
Learn more about hemp
CBD Oil Adviser gathered a great collection of articles, videos, and books that can help you discover more about hemp.
Don’t call it a comeback: The revival of Hemp
After 40 years off-stage, how come hemp is suddenly in the spotlight?
‘The Miracle Crop’ – we’ve realized the benefits.
As the focus on hemp has increased dramatically, more facts and research have cropped up to help vouch for the plant. In recent years a big focus has been on highlighting how much of a nutritional behemoth the hemp seed can be, as well as how strong the fiber can be. One thing that ties together all 25,000 different uses for hemp is that in all of these products like CBD isolate gummies, hemp is almost always the most sustainable and eco-friendly option to use. This means that as the world gears up to battle global warming, hemp will become a key ingredient to combatting climate change.
Catching up – we’ve already been missing out
Until as recently as 2018, the United States has been the only industrialized country in the world that didn’t allow hemp farming. Every other country has already been utilizing the plant, and have even been incentivizing their farmers to put a bigger focus on hemp cultivation. There are countless hemp industries that the U.S. has neglected – China makes $200M every year with their hemp textile industry, while across Europe hemp is saving millions in industrial purposes.
Canada is the biggest exporter of the highly-profitable hemp seed, which demand grows for by 20% yearly, and offer the highest quality seed as they don’t use any pesticides on their plants. These are markets that the U.S. could easily be active in, but due to taking so long to legalize hemp farming we’ve only just begun.
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For such a small plant, the economic force is strong with this one
For farmers and small businesses, the implications of hemp are huge. Hemp import was legalized in 1998, and in 2014 it was estimated that we import almost $600 millions worth of the wonder plant. Now that lawmakers have caught on to the economic value of hemp, it’s opening the doorway to fortunes for so many entrepreneurs, farmers, and businesses.