On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2 to 3 acres of cotton. Hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long as cotton, and will not mildew.
Cotton grows only in moderate climates and requires more water than hemp; but hemp is frost tolerant, requires only moderate amounts of water, and grows in all 50 states. Cotton requires large quantities of pesticides and herbicides–50% of the world’s pesticides/herbicides are used in the production of cotton. Hemp requires no pesticides, no herbicides, and only moderate amounts of fertilizer.
On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. From tissue paper to cardboard, all types of paper products can be produced from hemp.
The quality of hemp paper is superior to tree-based paper. Hemp paper will last hundreds of years without degrading, can be recycled many more times than tree-based paper, and requires less toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process than does paper made from trees.
Hemp can be used to produce fiberboard that is stronger and lighter than wood. Substituting hemp fiberboard for timber would further reduce the need to cut down our forests.
Hemp can be used to produce strong, durable and environmentally-friendly plastic substitutes. Thousands of products made from petroleum-based plastics can be produced from hemp-based composites.
It takes years for trees to grow until they can be harvested for paper or wood, but hemp is ready for harvesting only 120 days after it is planted. Hemp can grow on most land suitable for farming, while forests and tree farms require large tracts of land available in few locations. Harvesting hemp rather than trees would also eliminate erosion due to logging, thereby reducing topsoil loss and water pollution caused by soil runoff.
Hemp seeds contain a protein that is more nutritious and more economical to produce than soybean protein. Hemp seeds are not intoxicating. Hemp seed protein can be used to produce virtually any product made from soybean: tofu, veggie burgers, butter, cheese, salad oils, ice cream, milk, etc. Hemp seed can also be ground into a nutritious flour that can be used to produce baked goods such as pasta, cookies, and breads.
Hemp seed oil can be used to produce non-toxic diesel fuel, paint, varnish, detergent, ink and lubricating oil. Because hemp seeds account for up to half the weight of a mature hemp plant, hemp seed is a viable source for these products.
Just as corn can be converted into clean-burning ethanol fuel, so can hemp. Because hemp produces more biomass than any plant species (including corn) that can be grown in a wide range of climates and locations, hemp has great potential to become a major source of ethanol fuel.
Literally millions of wild hemp plants currently grow throughout the U.S. Wild hemp, like hemp grown for industrial use, has no drug properties because of its low THC content. U.S. marijuana laws prevent farmers from growing the same hemp plant that proliferates in nature by the millions.
From 1776 to 1937, hemp was a major American crop and textiles made from hemp were common. Yet, The American Textile Museum, The Smithsonian Institute, and most American history books contain no mention of hemp. The government’s War on Drugs has created an atmosphere of self censorship where speaking of hemp in a positive manner is considered politically incorrect or taboo.
United States Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, used products made from hemp, and praised the hemp plant in some of their writings.
No other natural resource offers the potential of hemp. Cannabis Hemp is capable of producing significant quantities of paper, textiles, building materials, food, medicine, paint, detergent, varnish, oil, ink, and fuel. Unlike other crops, hemp can grow in most climates and on most farmland throughout the world with moderate water and fertilizer requirements, no pesticides, and no herbicides. Cannabis Hemp (also known as Indian Hemp) has enormous potential to become a major natural resource that can benefit both the economy and the environment.
While cannabis seeds essentially contain no cannabinoids, cannabinoids are found in higher concentrations in cannabis flowers, leaves, and stalks.
Those looking to experience cannabis’s beneficial effects often turn to cannabis flower, which can be smoked or extracted into tinctures and edibles.
Cannabis strains high in THC may produce a high and may be used for medical purposes, like pain management. Strains low in THC but higher in other cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), may also produce beneficial effects but won’t get you high.
Hemp, or cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC, can also be grown to create other kinds of products, including:
- animal feed
- food products, such as hemp seed, hemp milk, hemp protein powder, or hemp oil
Because hemp grows faster than trees and other crops, it’s considered to be a more sustainable way of making products like paper and textiles.
Hemp seed is quite nutritious, as it’s a complete protein that’s also high in fiber.
What Is Hemp and How Is it Different from Marijuana?
Even though hemp and marijuana are both the same species of plant, there are important ways in which they differ. Understanding these can help you navigate the cannabis market.
Why Are Hemp and Marijuana Different? A Peek into Hemp and Marijuana’s Genetics
Even though most botanists consider all cannabis plants to belong to the same species, they have often been split into two varieties: Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica.
Most people experienced with cannabis are familiar with this distinction as it has long been used as a basis for describing different strains of marijuana. Marijuana that was more energetic or uplifting was classified as a sativa, while marijuana that was more relaxing or sedative was said to be an indica. Additionally, these two varieties were said to differ in their appearance.
Even though this categorization remains popular today, it has been widely debunked by scientists. It is the strain’s chemical composition that will determine how it impacts you, and the labeling of a strain as indica or sativa does not align with where the plants evolved from.
Interestingly, a study examining the genotypes of 43 hemp samples and 81 marijuana samples identified a consistent difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is genetically more similar to C. indica and marijuana to C. sativa.
However, this same study revealed that marijuana and hemp plants still “share a common pool of genetic variation.” There exist marijuana strains that are more similar genetically to hemp and visa versa. This confusing genetic mix is thanks to thousands of years of human travel with cannabis seeds and selective breeding.
Is the Hemp vs Marijuana Distinction Useful?
Now that you understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, it’s time to examine it and see whether or not it’s helping consumers. To understand this, let’s first cover briefly the difference between popular cannabis products.
Cannabis Oil vs Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
Unless you go to a marijuana dispensary to purchase CBD oil, the CBD oil that you find is made exclusively from the hemp plant. This product is often referred as hemp oil, CBD oil, or CBD hemp oil.
You can further differentiate CBD oil as a full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate. Full spectrum hemp oil (FSHO) contains not only CBD but other phytonutrients found within, including up to 0.3 percent THC. Broad spectrum CBD oil also contains other phytonutrients, but it has been processed in such a way as to remove all THC. Lastly, CBD isolates are products that contain only CBD, so no THC, terpenes, or other cannabinoids.
Cannabis oil, on the other hand, is oil extracted from marijuana varieties of the cannabis plant. These oils can vary in composition, but they will usually have some percentage of THC, CBD, and other healthful plant compounds. CBD oil can technically be made from marijuana as it too can be rich in CBD, but most CBD-rich oils derived from marijuana will be termed cannabis oil or marijuana oil to avoid confusion.