Whenever the discussion regarding Hemp starts, the most common question which we hear people asking revolves around what it is? What is Hemp, and what is industrial Hemp? Are both these same? Well, we are here to put some light on the matter. Industrial Hemp and Hemp are both similar things. Industrial Hemp is the name of the crop. It is derived from cannabis Sativa and is used in industrial production. Typically the plant of industrial Hemp is 6 to 15 feet long. An acre of Hemp can provide a crop of around 700 pounds. These 700 pounds of the crop can further provide 530 pounds of meal and 22 gallons of oil, respectively.
The crop is a rich source of oilseeds and fiber. It is sold in the form of oil and seeds. Thus, the crops called to be dual beneficial. It is used in clothing, food, cars, construction material, cosmetics, and many other products. Industrial Hemp is grown widely in different countries for industrial purposes. In some regions, it is grown under government supervision as people usually confuse the crop with Cannabis drugs. In fact, in the USA, farmers cannot cultivate industrial Hemp unless they have a license issued by the USA’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The Global Significance of Industrial Hemp
Industrial Hemp became the high-value crop in industrial societies in no time. It is a cross-pollinating plant that grows at high speed. Thus, the hemp field’s cultivation brings about a large quantity of crops at the end of the season. It is profitable as it gets sold in different states in different industries. Firstly, industrial Hemp is a high fiber source, which makes it a demanding crop in the paper and textile industries. Secondly, oil extracted from its seeds has its significance, and people use it in the production of their cosmetics and a healthy table oil option. Thirdly, Hemp is very popular in the pharmaceutical market, making it high in demand in the medical industry. Last but not least recreational industries also require Hemp, so industrial Hemp gets used in these markets.
As the trend of using organic and environment-friendly products has increased, Hemp’s industrial demand has seen a spike too. The hemp plant has three types of different fibers in it. Phloem is the most extensive fiber in the plant, while the Xylem of the plant contains the shortest fiber segment. The longer fiber is more its value would be in the market. Industrial Hemp is mixed with some other sources of natural fiber, and linen is prepared in textile industries used by the clothing brands.
Furthermore, Hemp is also used to produce fiber products, biodegradable products, automobile, and paper products. Henry Ford used Industrial Hemp in the production of his Car’s body. In the same way, industrial Hemp is used by many automobile manufacturers in the production of their cars as a source of fiber. Consequently, over the years, Hemp has become a bioenergy crop. China is the primary producer of industrial Hemp in the list and Eastern Europe, South Korea, and Russia.
Hemp crops are used as the source of food since forever. Humans used its oil, seeds, flour, and powder as food. In modern times Hemp is used majorly by the diet-conscious segment of people. The oil contains the perfect combination of Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It has around 30% content of fatty acids in its composition. It is low in carbohydrates comparing to other oils. Thus, it is usually used as salad dressings and table oil. It is not desirable to use hemp oil on the flame. After a specific temperature, its enzymes may get denatured, and the oil can turn toxic.
Moreover, the Beauty industry also uses hemp seed oil. It is used as the essential oil in place of other artificially prepared oils. It has a pleasant aroma, and it goes easy on the skin. Thus, the demand for hemp crops for their seed and oil is relatively high, especially today, because of the increase in skincare beauty products and healthy eating. Canada is one of the top exporters of hemp seed oil in the world.
History of Industrial Hemp Regulation
Industrial Hemp crop has always been a controversial crop. The reason behind the opposition that Hemp faced or face even today comes from its derivation from Cannabis. In 1937 the production of hemp crop fell drastically after US law enforcement agencies asked the farmers to take permission from Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) before cultivating the crop. US law enforcement agency did so after it observed a close alliance between industrial Hemp and marijuana.
Furthermore, in 1970 the drug regulation authorities declared marijuana and Hemp the same since they are derived from Cannabis. After this, many western countries, including Canada, banned the production of Hemp crops in their region. But as the research on the crop intensified, perceptions on Hemp started to shift. It was found out that Cannabis can provide 66 different chemical compounds. Cannabidiol or CBD in layman’s language is an example of the previous claim. The CBD component is highly useful in the manufacturing of medicines and helps in treating the diseases like epilepsy.
Other than this, the hemp plant could grow in a harsh environment with significantly less water. It was naturally resistant to pests thus, it did not require a lot of pesticides. The investment in the plant was meager, and profits were huge due to its various benefits. This was why people started putting their money in industrial Hemp once again to know what exactly industrial Hemp was.
As a result, in 1998, Europe, Canada and America started their hemp crop production once again for industrial purposes. Some ground rules and government supervision were launched regarding the license for the crop. After that, seed oil and fiber were obtained from the hemp crop that these developed countries used in their industrial sector and export to other industrial societies. Additionally, in 2018 USA recognized Hemp as a schedule 1 drug, which made it a legal crop to grow all over the USA. Currently, the United States is developing its new regulations to cultivate Hemp, especially for new industries. It would make industrial Hemp a commodity that farmers would be easily able to grow for multi-purpose industrial uses.
Industrial Hemp: Uses and Products
Industrial Hemp has a long history with human beings. Back in the time, it usually was cultivated near nomads and early human civilization. As discussed earlier, each part of the crop is beneficial, and each part gets used to fulfill different purposes. Seeds of hemp crop are used to make hemp flour, which human beings consume all around the world. It is also used to prepare seed cake and the fodder of caters, which is not legal in many parts of the world. The leaves of the hemp plant are used for cattle bedding and mulch in landscaping and farming industries.
Additionally, the fiber of industrial Hemp is used in the textiles industry to prepare different fabrics. Automobile industries also use fiber in the production of a car’s body. It is good to use natural fiber as it is biodegradable and an easy and cheap source of fiber obtained from hemp crops. Fiber obtained is also used by biodegradable companies to manufacture straws, furniture, carpets, and ropes. The same fiber is required in the paper industry to manufacture papers and pulp. The construction segment also uses fiber as their essential material in building household roofs, which they obtain from hemp crops.
Similarly, oil extracted from Hemp has its demands. The food and beauty industry requires hemp oil in productions. Soaps, lotions, moisturizers, and primers are being prepared in cosmetics using hemp oil. On the other hand, people also use hemp oil like olive oil in their salads and other food consumptions. Thus, the whole crop is fitted and contains a lot of profit and benefits within it.
Current Situation of Industrial Hemp
The most frequently asked question regarding Hemp is, what is the potential of growing this crop? What is industrial Hemp, and what are the market challenges that the crop is facing? Well, we have an answer for you. Industrial Hemp is no doubt a very flexible plant. As we have discussed earlier, it has multiple uses in different segments of industries. The laws regarding the cultivation of Hemp are available. The license is required before crop production starts, and then there is a fluid production process and supply chain. However, there can be a clash in the domestic and global market regarding the field regulation as ground rules may differ from one place to another.
For example, in the USA state of Pennsylvania is developing the supply chain for Hemp. But the production rules and supply chain is already well developed in other states like Colorado and Kentucky. On the other side, globally, China and Canada are the largest Hemp producers, already have a developed market and supply chain for industrial Hemp. Thus, the market challenges differ for every country and at times for every state when it comes to Hemp production. So, before any producer decides to do Hemp’s production, they need to carefully and critically evaluate the cost-benefit and government policies.
The hemp plant has a couple of spices when it comes to production. The breed that farmers grow depends entirely on the purpose of Hemp and the time you harvest. For example, for seeds extraction, the 4 to 5 feet tall Hemp would be fair. Some Canadian spices which are smaller than 5 feet can also be used here. For the fiber, the farmer needs to grow the Hemp with traditional 6 to 8 feet of height. Hemp requires the soil to be neutral, neither very alkaline nor acidic. The PH of 7 is considered to be ideal for the growth of Hemp.
Another essential requirement for Hemp is dry soil. The damp soil would discourage the growth of Hemp since the plant is sensitive to soil crusting. It requires a minimal amount of water. Farmers usually find May the ideal month to sow the seed. However, some spices can be sown till mid-June (3 feet to 4 feet tall).
Bright Future for Industrial Hemp as Demand Continues to Grow
Hemp crop has a bright future as the plant is needed in various industrial production. It was not easy until recently to grow Hemp because of its close association with marijuana. But people have recognized its importance as well as its benefits. Different countries have laid different rules and regulations to cope with the issue of hemp plant production. US government has launched the free test lab of the crop. Producers would understand that if the specific substance in that plant is above 3%, it would be destroyed immediately. The plant is easy to dispose of as it is biodegradable. Thus it makes the plant much more environmentally friendly and sustainable crop for the future.
To sum it all up hemp plant no doubt has a lot of use in different products. It is not a very difficult plant to grow. The right amount of PH in soil and minimal water and pesticides would yield the best crop. At the same time, different breeds of Hemp can adapt and grow well in different environments. The different breeds can be harvested at different stages of growth according to their purpose. Thus, all of these aspects make a profit from the crop huge. Demand for industrial Hemp is sustainable, and needless to say, it will only grow from here onwards.
Furthermore, the clear instructions and rules and regulations before the cultivation have eased the whole process in many regions. Producers understand the reasons and consequences of rules laid out; thus, the plant has made a lot of progress. People have started enjoying its benefits a lot more in modern times.