Industrial Hemp and Its Wide Range of Uses
Societies have been utilizing hemp for thousands of years. It is nothing new but in recent times hemp and cannabis have been portrayed in a negative light. Much of that has to do with the psychoactive effects of THC that is found in marijuana.
But what about industrial hemp? We are going to take a closer look at what industrial hemp actually is and the types of products that may use industrial hemp. It may broaden your horizons a little bit into how useful and helpful it can actually be in our daily lives.
What is Industrial Hemp
We need to get this out of the way right up front. Industrial hemp does come from the Cannabis plant. To be more specific it is derived from the Cannabis sativa L plant. This is likely the reason that hemp has been viewed with negativity. Oftentimes when the general population thinks about Cannabis they naturally gravitate towards Marijuana. Marijuna is known for its mind-altering effects because of the presence of THC, which is what causes these psychoactive effects.
One of the main differences between industrial hemp and marijuana is the amount of THC that is present. In the United States specifically, farmers must follow the guidelines laid out by what is called the Farm Bill. This states that “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with delta-9 tetrahydrocannbinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” With this small amount of THC present there are no psychoactive effects from any THC.
How and Where Is It Grown
Industrial hemp would be classified as a temperate region crop. It traditionally seems to thrive in more northern latitudes from around the 42nd to 45th parallel. That is why in the United States you will often find hemp farms in the Pacific Northwest. Now, in the US, you will often find prominent hemp production in the states of Colorado and even Kentucky. These areas don’t fall exactly within this specified range but they have still seen great success in growing industrial hemp.
There is quite a variety in recognized industrial hemp plants that can vary significantly in size and height. These different varieties are often cross-pollinated amongst themselves. Industrial hemp is a plant that grows quickly
What Is Hemp Used For
Industrial hemp actually has a wide variety of uses that many of us are not even aware of. When talking about hemp there are generally four different categories for how it is used. These would generally be classified as fiber hemp, oilseed hemp, hemp for medicinal uses, and hemp for recreational markets. When looking more at industrial hemp, with less than 0.3% THC, the uses fall more into the fiber and oilseed categories. We will look more closely at uses that fall more into those two categories.
Hemp Fiber Products
Hemp fiber products include things like textiles, cordage, and even paper. These are things that we depend in our day to day lives. When we are talking about textiles we are talking about things like fabrics and clothing materials. This can be things like shirts, jeans, belts, and wallets.
The hemp textile market has actually grown considerably in recent years. Consumers continue to push for more natural or organic products. We are continuing to push for things that do not contain harsh or dangerous chemicals.
You will also find hemp being used in mulch and even in the automobile industry for some molded fiber parts of cars and trucks. It’s commonly used in construction fiber boards, insulation, and art paper. There are just so many uses for hemp that most of us don’t really even realize.
Hemp Seed Products
Hemp seed has been used by humans for thousands of years. Some of the most common uses have been hemp seed, seed flour, seed powder, and seed oil. We are accustomed to seeing hemp grain in various health food products. Research has shown that the hemp grain has a very healthy blend of fatty acids.
Hemp seed oil has become a much more popular substitute for other industrial oils in things like cosmetic products. It can even be substituted in place of olive oil for things like salad dressing because of its flavor.
Maybe the most notable oil from industrial hemp has become CBD. CBD has gained global popularity in recent years due to its perceived health benefits in various different ways. There is ongoing research being conducted as to the short term and long term effects of using CBD products.
However, millions of people worldwide will attest to its various health benefits in their lives. The CBD industry has grown substantially in recent years and is projected to continue to grow in the coming years.
As you can see hemp has many uses. For a little bit more clarity here is a short list of some popular products that you might find hemp in.
- Energy bars
- Hemp coffee
- Hemp burgers
- Water with hemp
- Hemp beer
- Granola with hemp
- Hemp disposable utensils
How Is Industrial Hemp Used to Produce CBD
Once you have grown the industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC producers still have to be able to get the CBD from the hemp. It sounds simple but how do you actually make that happen? When you are looking at the hemp plant side by side with CBD oil the concept seems to become much more complex. The two most common and accepted ways to extract the CBD oil from the industrial hemp are CO2, and Ethanol extraction. We will take a brief look at each method along with some of the pros and cons of each method.
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Extraction
In a nutshell the CO2 method requires that highly pressurized carbon dioxide be passed through a series of chambers to separate the hemp. It is probably the cleanest method of CBD extraction. Although it is more expensive up front, in the long-run it is probably the cheapest method. You don’t have to continually buy ethanol.
Ethanol Extraction Method
Ethanol extraction is another good option and is preferred by some CBD brands because it does require less up-front set up costs. The cost of the equipment and facility that is needed for this method is much more inexpensive than for CO2 extraction. It is still an effective method of extracting CBD. One drawback to the ethanol method is that some of the leftover ethanol ends up staying in the finished products. This tends to taint the CBD oil with the leftover ethanol. Advancements in technology are helping to alleviate this problem.
Final Thoughts From The CBD Guru
Hemp has so many uses. Not only for the products of CBD oil but for everyday things like clothes, wallets, and other apparel. Hemp has been used in various products by humans for thousands of years. In recent history hemp has received some negative attention because of its relationship with Cannabis, and more specifically marijuana.
As you can see industrial hemp is far removed from marijuana. It is not at all a dangerous crop when guidelines are followed. On the contrary, hemp can be completely safe and a very diverse crop that can be used to produce a large variety of products.