Hemp—Frequently Asked Questions

What is industrial hemp?

Industrial hemp is a crop belonging to the cannabis sativa family. It is a small-seeded, dicot, dioecious, photoperiodic plant. That is to say, it is a broadleaf plant and not a grass. It is a species of Cannabis Sativa plant which is specifically grown for industrial uses of the products derived from it. It can be refined into a plethora of commercial items including textiles, paper, clothing, paint, insulation, biodegradable plastics, food, and animal feed.

Is industrial hemp the same as marijuana?

No. Both industrial hemp and marijuana are varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. However, hemp is a variety that has low levels of THC and causes no psychoactive behaviour in the body. Marijuana is primarily used as a recreational drug but hemp has no such use.

Does consuming hemp cause psychoactive behaviour?

No. The psychoactive behaviour in the human brain is caused by a cannabinoid called THC. It is present in a great amount in marijuana but industrial hemp contains optimally minimal amounts of THC. The consumption of hemp does not cause any excitant behaviour or psychoactive actions.

Where is industrial hemp grown?

Typically, industrial hemp is found in the northern hemisphere. It is grown in Australia, Canada, Austria, China, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Korea, New Zealand, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Thailand, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Turkey.

Does hemp production require pesticide use?

Typically, growing hemp is free of pesticides and any other chemical fertilizers. Industrial hemp is a crop that requires minimal to zero amount of chemicals. It grows naturally in organic conditions and is healthy in that sense.

How is industrial hemp different from marijuana?

Industrial hemp and marijuana, though varieties of the same species of a plant, differ on multiple levels.

Chemical Composition

The prime cannabinoid present in hemp is CBD whereas that in marijuana is THC. This is the reason that marijuana causes extreme excitant behaviour in the body whereas hemp shows no such effects.

Appearance

Both marijuana and hemp are broad-leafed plants. However, marijuana leaves are skinner than hemp leaves and have a tight bud. Marijuana grows in a fat bush whereas hemp grows skinnier and taller.

Cultivation Environment

Industrial hemp and marijuana are cultivated in contrastingly different cultivation environments. Marijuana needs a carefully-controlled, warm, and humid atmosphere whereas hemp can grow in a relatively freer cultivation environment.

Marijuana and hemp plants are never grown together hemp pollen can considerable dilute the psych activity of marijuana.

Uses

Marijuana is primarily used as a recreational drug. Hemp, on the other hand, has multiple uses across various industries. Hemp is one of the earliest plants to be spun into a fibre and hemp fibre industry is a huge industry. Industrial uses of hemp include use in construction as building material, insulation, as biodegradable plastic, and paint etc. Hemp is continuously being used as food owing to its high nutritional value. Extracts of hemp oil are becoming a famous ingredient in beauty and skincare products.

What are organic and non-organic hemp products?

Organic hemp products are naturally produced products with minimal chemical interference. Both conventional (non-organic) and organic hemp oil are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical fertilizers. Both these plants are non-GMO (genetically modified organism) plants. However, non-organic hemp does use fertilizers at the beginning of its growth cycle.

To take an example of a product, CBD oil derived from organically grown hemp is rich in CBD. Organic hemp naturally contains high amounts of CBD. The same product derived from inorganic hemp tends to contain lesser amount of CBD and require more than usual amounts of plant to extract the same quantity of CBD oil.

Another difference is that of certification. Non-organic hemp, unlike organic hemp, does not undergo the same inspection and does not have to adhere to a long list of necessary guidelines to meet the certified organic standard.

How can hemp be used for food?

Hemp seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. They naturally contain all the essential fatty acids and oils along with high number of proteins and essential minerals. Hemp seeds do not contain any THC and are thus a perfectly safe addition to a diet.

They are easy to digest and provide the body with all the essential nutrients. They can be eaten raw, blended into smoothies, or as oatmeal. Hemp seeds are the only seeds containing essential fatty acids with almost no saturated fat. As a diet supplement, they reduce the risk of heart disease among other health benefits.

What are the benefits of hemp compared to other food crops?

The cultivation of the hemp plant requires little or no fertilizers and also naturally resists pest. It has deep roots which serve well for the soil. Hemp can grow on the same soil for as many as two decades without depleting the soil. The water requirement of the plant is also very less as compared to other conventional food crops.

Moreover, the hemp plant has natural healing and therapeutic benefits which make it a better food product.

Why is hemp better than cotton?

There are many reasons why hemp should replace cotton. From the plantation point of view, hemp requires less water, area, and fertilizers than cotton and thus leaves a minimal eco-footprint. From the product point of view, hemp can produce a wide number of products than cotton which is softer, cheaper, and more durable.

Does hemp food cause any allergies in the body?

The reported numbers of food allergies by people who consume hemp frequently have been rare but they do exist. Chemically, hemp is 100% organic and all-natural which makes it a great food with least or zero risks for the human body. But, since genetics and biology can’t be generalised to the core, hemp food can cause some mild allergic reactions in the body. These include irritation, swelling, puffiness of the eyes, skin rashes, running nose, sneezing, and conjunctivitis.

How can hemp be used for cloth?

Hemp is one of the first known plants to be spun into usable fibre. The stalk of the hemp plant has two parts—the bast and the hurd. The bast is used to extract hemp fibre which is then used to weave almost any kind of cloth. Fun Fact: The first pair of Levi’s jeans was made out of hemp. Hemp fibre is a natural fibre which, when compared to other naturally available fibres, shows more applicability.

Harvesting Hemp for Fibre

Hemp is grown closely spaced in a field until it sheds it leaves. The hemp is cut down and left on the field to be washed by the rain. During this time, the hurd of the stalks softens. (This is also the time when the plant returns the minerals to the soil). After the stalk has softened, they are brought to a machine which separates the bast and the hurd. The bast is then disintegrated into fibre.

How can hemp be used to make paper?

Hemp paper can be extracted from both the bast and the hurd. The paper derived from the bast is known as hemp paper and that derived from hurd is known as pulp paper.

Fibre paper was the first kind of paper whose first batch was made out of hemp in ancient China. It is thin, tough, brittle, and a little rough. It is stronger than pulp paper.

Pulp paper is not as strong as fibre paper but is softer, thicker, and preferred for everyday purpose.

The paper used today is made from chemical pulp. Hemp paper can be made without chemicals directly from the hemp hurd. Most of the hemp paper today is manufactured from the entire hemp stalk, bast, and hurd. Hemp paper presents an opportunity for humankind to create an affordable and eco-friendly paper that can be used for practically all needs.

How can hemp be used to make biofuel?

Hemp is an excellent source of high-quality cellulosic biomass. The seeds of the hemp plant can be used to create viable and sustainable diesel fuel. Hemp seed oil can further be refined to make hemp biodiesel which can be used in any conventional diesel engine.

Why is hemp better than petroleum?

Hemp is a biomass fuel which, as compared to petroleum, fossil fuel, is clean and potentially frees the environment from metals and sulphur. Also, creating biomass fuels does not cause an increase in the total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.

What is the difference between hemp and CBD?

Hemp is a plant which is sowed, cultivated, and harvested for its many uses. CBD is a phytocannabinoid which is a component present in the hemp plant. Many of the healing and therapeutic benefits of hemp are attributed to this component. CBD exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, anti-psychotic properties which have stemmed a lot of scientific studies.

Each hemp extract naturally contains CBD. However, because of the potential of CBD, an entire industry dedicated to CBD-based products has risen. Today in the market we have CBD oils, tinctures, vapes, chewing gums, and other similar products that allow for different and convenient consumption of CBD for various health benefits.

What is the difference between CBD derived from industrial hemp and marijuana?

CBD can be derived from both industrial hemp and cannabis. Both products see different regulations. Hemp-derived from cannabis is regulated as a cannabis product and can, more often than not, be sourced, produced, and supplied only from people with commercial cannabis license. This CBD is not an approved food additive. Marijuana contains more percentage of THC than it does of CBD and hence should not be added to food items.

CBD derived from industrial hemp, on the other hand, is safer to use as a food additive, diet and beauty supplement, and as a medicine.

Does hemp oil contain marijuana?

Typically, no. Marijuana in this question refers to THC (the psychoactive component). Hemp contains less than 0.3% of THC which gets reduced to an even lower percentage when hemp oil is derived. Hemp is primarily grown to make clothing, paper, biofuels, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, bioplastics, biofuels, and foods containing less than 0.3% THC.

Can using hemp oil result in a positive on a THC test?

This is highly unlikely. The THC content in hemp oil is essentially non-existent since hemp oil is derived from the hemp plant’s stalks and leaves. However, if you are using a product that contains even minimal level of THC, it can accumulate in the body over time and may show a positive. This is the reason it is always essential to research the hemp and CBD products you use.

Is CBD oil the same as hemp oil?

No. The difference between hemp oil and CBD oil can be tricky but it is important to understand. The primary ingredient in hemp oil is hemp stalk oil and not purified CBD oil. Hemp oil does not contain any added CBD or CBD oil.

CBD oil, on the other hand, is extracted to produce a product that contains optimal levels of CBD.

Do I need a prescription to buy and use hemp oil?

No, purchase and use of hemp oil do not need any prescription. But it is recommended that you consult with your health professional before using hemp oil or any other hemp-based product.

How to consume hemp oil?

Hemp oil can be taken with or without food. There are no formal limitations as to how long to take it for. Here again, consulting with your healthcare provider is recommended.

Is hemp legal?

This is perhaps the most important question to be asked and perhaps the question that has no definite answer. The legality of hemp varies from border to border. In some places, it is legal to produce and sell hemp or hemp-based products for industrial or health purposes. To use hemp as food, some put the restriction of THC content of less than 0.3%. There are different regulations across different regions, states, and countries. We recommend that you thoroughly understand them before buying and/or importing hemp or any hemp-based product.

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