The popularity of industrial Hemp has significantly increased. There is definitely a significant shift and perception regarding the use of cannabis products. This product has now been commercialized, and it’s being put into many uses. So, what is industrial Hemp? And what are some of its uses?
What is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial Hemp is a type of cannabis plant that was commonly grown as a commodity fiber crop. This mainly happened in the mid-18th century till the mid-1930s. The crop was considered illegal in the US for many decades before the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill that decriminalized its cultivation.
The Regulation History of Industrial Hemp
The history of industrial hemp regulation goes back more than 80 years ago. The US Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 made a close association regarding the two main types of cannabis plants and the required growers. They needed to first get approval from DEA. After this, the production of Hemp reduced significantly.
It should also be noted that other western countries also prohibited the growth of Hemp during this time. In 1970, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act categorized marijuana and Hemp as the same plant. They were both categorized as Schedule 1 drugs.
However, the laws began to gradually change. In the late 90s, for instance, some European countries and Canada started to research Hemp. This re-ignited the reproduction of hemp products such as hemp seed oil and hemp fiber. Besides that, there were other small-scale researches and production being done in the US. However, the hemp products were for imports.
Worldwide Importance of Industrial Hemp
Understanding what industrial Hemp is essential. We can’t deny the truth about Hemp since its use and benefits are quite diverse. But what is the global importance of industrial hemp? First, industrial Hemp is a crop that thrives in temperate regions. That’s why it’s commonly found in the northern latitudes from the 42nd to the 45th parallel. Geographically, Hemp grows well in the Pacific Northwest region.
One of its global importance is the annual cross-pollinating feature. This plant usually grows rapidly, and its development normally results in a massive accumulation of biomass. While there are several varieties of registered industrial Hemp, its two common uses include being a food and fiber source.
It’s worth noting that industrial hemp seed oil that’s usually extracted from the grain is popularly used as a healthy table oil. Besides that, manufacturers also use it in the production of nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and functional foods.
With more people turning to alternative medicine sources over the recent years, the value of cannabis Sativa has also increased. So, Hemp has quickly become one of the US’s valuable crops due to its many health benefits. Its natural compounds have drawn lots of pharmacological interest. Some of the economic products that come from Hemp include:
- Medicinal hemp products for commercial use
- Oilseed hemp
- Fiber hemp
- Hemp products for recreational use
The Great Uses of Industrial Hemp: Information Facts
The hemp industry growth is rapid because the plant has lots of uses. The brief history of Hemp indicates that in ancient times, it was for domestic use. However, the current industrial uses for this plant indicate that it has now been commercialized. Its common uses include:
The plant extract is used in the textile industry to make clothes. Ancient reports that the hemp plant was traditionally used to make fabric. It has definitely withstood the test of time with evidence dating back to 8,000 B.C.
It’s now being used to make sports clothing, jeans, and shoes, among others. What makes it popular are affordability and durability. Additionally, hemp products are known to support sustenance is they are environmentally-friendly.
It should be noted that hemp fabric also feels good to the skin. It’s smooth and resistant to bacteria. Furthermore, it also helps to provide additional UV protection.
Source of Fuel
Although this isn’t a popular use, the hemp plant can be used to make biofuel. Well, some manufacturers use cellulosic ethanol technology to create organic-based fuel. It’s a smarter, cheaper, and useful fuel source, especially when it comes to the development of supercapacitors. Note that supercapacitors can be used to provide energy to computers, electric vehicles, and other cordless tools.
There are some automobile manufacturers who use low-weight Hemp to design automotive interior. For instance, the i3, a BMW car model designed in 2013, was made with low-weight Hemp. In the end, it ended up weighing less than 800 pounds compared to its closest competitors in the market.
Besides that, Kestrel, a type of Canadian vehicle, is made with hemp stalks instead of fiberglass. This design also led to a significant reduction in its weight. Generally, it helps manufacturers to produce automotive products that are environmentally-friendly. Additionally, the vehicles end up with improved efficiency.
This is a versatile plant that can also be used to make paper. Well, the history of industrial Hemp and paper making goes back thousands of years. The pulp fiber can be used to make specialty papers such as banknote papers, filter papers, and cigarette papers. Compared to wood pulp, the paper from hemp pulp is almost 5 times stronger. Its, therefore, highly resistant to tearing and friction.
Hemp-based plastics are ideal for making various premium products. They have a high level of appeal among manufacturers. The plastic mainly contains cellulose, a biodegradable and environmentally-friendly product.
Generally, it’s considered to be one of the best sources of making bioplastic. The plant not only grows faster, but it’s also cheaper to make sustainable plastic products. So, the plant is good for the environment and economy.
As one of the plants that belong to the Cannabis species, industrial Hemp has several medicinal benefits. Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fatty acids, fiber content, and protein. They are, therefore, ideal sources of nutritional supplements.
The CBD compound in the hemp plant can also be used to support wellness. It can effectively improve both physical and mental health issues. This includes anxiety, stress, digestive complications, injuries, and joint pains, among others.
Note: there’s a huge difference when comparing CBD vs. THC. CBD is non-psychoactive with lots of health offerings. On the other hand, THC psychoactive is mainly used for entertainment purposes.
Industrial Hemp Today
Over the years, people’s perceptions and the laws regarding the cultivation, manufacturing, and industrial Hemp use have changed. Hemp products are now being used more than ever.
In terms of Marketing
After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products became legal to purchase without a prescription. However, the product needs to contain less than 0.3% THC content. Currently, there are many commercial programs for research and marketing purposes.
There are universities and other institutions researching the economic viability of Hemp. The pilot programs have shown beneficial insights on how this plant can be effectively cultivated and become a successful cash crop.
Industrial Hemp is now being marketed as a dual-purpose crop, a fiber, and a seed. As of 2017, the total retail value of Hemp was $820. Currently, it’s definitely worth a billion-dollar since its commercial value has increased over the last few years.
In Terms of Production
The cultivation process of Hemp for commercial use typically involves a spindly central stalk covered with leaves. Generally, Hemp is considered to be a low-maintenance crop; hence its cultivation is easy. Its typical height ranges between 6 ft. and 15 ft. However, different varieties, as well as climatic conditions, may alter things such as harvesting amount. But you can roughly expect around 700 pounds of grain from an acre farm. This can be used to produce around 22 gallons of oil and almost 530 pounds of meals.
Generally, this is a great crop that’s ideal for rotational use. You can use it to change the composition of your soil by cultivating it with other traditional crops. It’s useful in reducing disease and pest outbreaks while suppressing the growth of weeds. Its effectiveness in improving soil composition is due to its ability to provide excellent aeration and rebuilding the soil.
The Bright Future for Industrial Hemp
Due to its increasing popularity, industrial Hemp is expected to have an even brighter future. The legislation regarding its use is gradually changing across the world. So, it’s becoming one of the most important crops in countries where it was previously outlawed. Hemp is a profitable cash crop, and farmers can earn a good income from it. If it’s well-regulated the government, then the hemp industry will certainly become the next big thing for serious investors.
The Bottom Line
The popularity of industrial Hemp is based on its high level of effectiveness. Hemp is a versatile plant that has lots of uses. Besides that, it’s easy and affordable to cultivate and manufacture. Over the years, the laws regarding the cultivation and use of industrial Hemp have changed. So, the future of this plant is brighter.