Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 50,000 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.
Industrial Hemp (Industrial Hemp) is made up of varieties of Cannabis Sativa that contain less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is an annual broadleaf plant with a taproot and is capable of a rapid growth under ideal growing conditions.
The female flowers and seeds are indeterminate, meaning that there are both ripe and immature seeds on the same plants at the time of the grain harvest.
Fiber Industrial Hemp plants will grow 2-4 meters tall without branching. In dense plantings, i.e., seed drilled, the bottom leaves fall off due to lack of sunlight and the male plants die right after shedding pollen, generally 4-5 weeks into the growing cycle, lasting approximately 1 week. The stem has an outer bark that contains the long, tough bast fibers. They are similar in length to soft wood fibers and are very low in lignin content. Industrial Hemp rope, textiles and clothing is made from these fibers. The core contains the “hurds” or “shives” (short fibers), similar to hardwood fibers and these are used for building, particle board (MDF), pet bedding, as well as plastics.
For grain production the plant may branch and reach heights of 2-3 meters. Tall plants do not mean more grain and shorter plants are preferred for combing. In well structured and drained soil the taproot may penetrate 15-30 cm (12”) deep. In compacted soil the taproot remains short and the plant produces more lateral, fibrous roots.
Here is an interesting and enlightening assortment of Industrial Hemp facts
Industrial Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of Industrial Hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
Presidents Washington and Jefferson, both grew Industrial Hemp .Americans were legally bound to grow Industrial Hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. The federal government subsidized Industrial Hemp during the Second World War and the U.S. farmers grew about a million acres of Industrial Hemp as a part of that program.
Industrial Hemp seed is nutritious and contains more essential fatty acids than any other source. Industrial Hemp is second only to soybeans in complete protein content (but is more digestible by humans), is high in Vitamin-B group, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Industrial Hemp seed is not psychoactive and cannot be used as a drug.
The bark of the Industrial Hemp stalk contains bast fibers, which are among the Earth’s longest natural soft fibers and are also rich in cellulose. The cellulose and hemi-cellulose in its inner woody core are called hurds. Industrial Hemp stalk is not psychoactive. Industrial Hemp fiber is longer, stronger, more absorbent and more insulative than cotton fiber.
According to the Department of Energy, Industrial Hemp as a biomass fuel producer requires the least specialized growing and processing procedures of all Industrial Hemp products. The hydrocarbons in Industrial Hemp can be processed into a wide range of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to liquid fuels and gas.
Eco-friendly Industrial Hemp can replace most toxic petrochemical products. Research is being done to use Industrial Hemp in manufacturing biodegradable plastic products: plant-based cellophane, recycled plastic mixed with Industrial Hemp for injection-molded products, and resins made from the oil, to name a very few examples. Over two million cars on the road today have Industrial Hemp composite parts for door panels, dashboards, luggage racks, etc.
Industrial Hemp can be grown organically. Only eight, out of about one hundred known pests, cause problems, and Industrial Hemp is most often grown without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. Industrial Hemp is also a natural weed suppressor due to the fast growth of the canopy.
Industrial Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Industrial Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Industrial Hemp’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and it’s creamy color lends itself to the environment-friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical byproducts.
Industrial Hemp fiber paper resists decomposition, and does not turn yellow with the age when an acid-free process is used. A Industrial Hemp paper, of more than 1,500 years old, has been found. Industrial Hemp paper can also be recycled greater number of times than their wood-based counterparts.