What is Hemp?
Hemp is a cultivar of Cannabis sativa. Cannabis sativa is one of the species of Cannabis plant. Hemp is often understood in relation to marijuana—another strain of the same species. While botanically they are from the same species of a plant, they are genetically different forms of cannabis. The two are distinguished on the basis of their use, chemical composition, and cultivation practices.
- Hemp is a cultivar of the cannabis Sativa plant.
- Hemp contains a high amount of CBD (cannabidiol) and very low amounts of THC.
- Hemp is an annual herb.
- Its cultivation practices depend on its intended use.
Anatomy of Hemp plant
Hemp is a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb. It has slender cane-like stalks that are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves of hemp are palmate in shape and the flowers are small and greenish-yellow.
The flowers of hemp that produce seeds grow together in elongate spike-like clusters. These grow on female plants. The flowers that produce pollen grow to form multi-branched clusters on male plants.
Different Hemp Plant Varieties
Not all hemp plants are the same. There are basically three types of hemp production:
- Hemp grown for CBD
- Hemp grown for fiber
- Hemp grown for food/seed
Every part of the hemp plant can be used.
- seeds- seed oil, edibles
- flowers- health foods, organic body care
- oil-based paints, plastics, and other nutraceutical products
- fibre – fabric, textiles, plastic, paper, and biofuel.
Uses of Hemp
Hemp is cultivated for use in the production of a wide range of products including nutritional supplements, foods and beverages, personal care products, fabrics and textiles, paper, construction materials, and some other manufactured and industrial goods.
- Textiles- durable, eco-friendly, color receptive, skin-friendly
- Medicines for arthritis, chronic pains, inflammation, anxiety, depression, cancer, epilepsy
- Skin care- anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-ageing properties; hair growth and hair fall control
- Sustainability- fuel, biodegradable items like bio-plastics
- Super food & Protein supplement- Rich in vitamins, minerals, omega 3& 6, protein rich
Chemical nature of Hemp
Hemp is the richest source of cannabinoid CBD in the cannabis species. In fact, the general characterization of hemp is done through plants that contain negligibly low amounts of THC (the dominant psychotropic cannabinoid in the cannabis plant). As opposed to THC, CBD is non-psychotropic which is why hemp is sometimes also called the non-high cannabis.
CBD makes up about 40-60% of the hemp plant. THC is present in negligible amounts that often range from 0.03-1%. In addition to these, it contains some other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Location & Topography
Industrial hemp is a unique plant in the sense that it is an annual crop. It is among the fastest-growing plants and requires no or minimal pesticides.
For a profitable hemp harvest, ideal places are away from the equator and closer to the poles. It is best to avoid steep altitudes of more than 400m above sea level. Hemp requires flat fields with good per-location in combination with hot days and cool nights.
Hemp can grow on as little as 1 hectare of land.