HEMP NATURAL FIBER
natural fiber is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant and is grown
specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products and is also
called Industrial Hemp. It can be refined into a variety of commercial
items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics,
paint, insulation biofuel, food, animal feed, etc.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDUSTRIAL HEMP AND CANNABIS AS A DRUG
industrial hemp and cannabis as a drug are derived from the species
Cannabis sativa. They both also contain the psychoactive
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but they are distinct strains of the
hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of
cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive
legality issues involved with industrial hemp vary widely between
countries, depending on the different drug laws of these countries. Some
governments closely regulate the concentration of THC and will only
permit hemp bred with a certain low percentage of THC.
hemp for industrial uses contains below 0.3% THC, while Cannabis grown
for medicinal or recreational use can contain anywhere from 2% to over
20%. The fear that the growing of hemp will make it more difficult to
control the use of the drug variety is still prevalent even though laws
are gradually changing over time.
Hemp is probably one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. Hemp
use archaeologically dates back to as far as the Neolithic Age in China
around 12,000 years ago. The first identified coarse paper made from
hemp goes back to the early Western Han Dynasty.
In Western Europe, the cultivation of hemp was not legally
banned until the 1930s, but the commercial cultivation had stopped by
then, due to decreased demand for and competition from increasingly
popular artificial fibers.
In Japan, hemp was historically
used as paper and as a fiber crop. In 1948, Marijuana was restricted as
a narcotic drug in Japan even though it was never widely used there
before. Hemp growers whose crop is used to make robes for Buddhist monks
and loincloths for Sumo wrestlers were exempted.
considered the strongest natural fiber in the world and is one of the
fastest growing plants. In the U.S., George Washington and many other
presidents cultivated hemp for rope. Levi Strauss patented his trouser
jeans in 1873 from the indestructible sailcloth made from hemp!
HEMP PLANT PARTS
Hemp natural fiber is called
bast and is one of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant. The bast
are the fibers which grow on the outside of the plant stalk. It is these
fibers that give the plants strength.
different processes to remove the fiber from the stem. Depending on
which process is used, the hemp may be creamy white, brown, gray, black
or green. The hemp plant produces a high fiber yield per acre. It can
produce 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax with
the same amount of land.
When grown as a
fiber crop, hemp grows to a height of 6-15 feet and up to .75 inches in
diameter without branching. To help ensure the plant grows straight, it
is densely planted (as many as 300 plants per square yard).
Hemp fiber has been used for centuries for
the manufacture of industrial materials. It was commonly used to make
sail canvas. In fact, the word 'canvas' is derived from the word
Hemp fiber, when mixed with fiberglass,
flax, and kenaf (a fiber plant native to east-central Africa), can be
used to make composite panels for automobiles, including Audi, BMW,
Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, etc. For apparel and furnishings, the fibers
can be 100% hemp, though it is usually blended with other fibers
including flax, cotton or silk, etc.
HURDS OR SHIVES
hurds or shives are the woody inner parts of core of the hemp stem.
These are broken into fragments and separated from the fiber. These
parts are typically used for animal bedding or litter or for
seeds can be used in many ways. They can be eaten raw, ground into hemp
meal, sprouted, or made into dried sprout powder. They can also be made
into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk
Hemp seeds are
important as a complete source of protein because they contain all the
essential amino acids. The seeds are also exceptionally rich in 2
essential fatty acids - Omega-6 and Omega-3 in a healthy optimal ratio
of 3 to 1 (6 to 3). They have been shown to benefit skin diseases and
provide relief from eczema.
Hemp seeds are
actually more nutritious and more economical to produce than soybeans
and the protein in hemp seeds can be used to produce just about any
product made from soybeans, such as tofu, veggie burgers, etc. It is
also more digestible than soybeans and it does
not have to be cooked or fermented first.
The seeds are
also a great source of vitamin E and B vitamins and minerals such as
phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and
zinc. They are also a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid
(GLA) which have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. The high
levels of GLA may reduce symptoms associated with PMS and menopause as
seeds contain high amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which
benefits digestive health. However, dehulled or shelled hemp seeds
contain very little fiber.
Find much more information on hemp, its plant parts, cultivation,
processing, uses, etc. as well as the future of hemp in the world and in
the United States in particular, please continue reading here.