Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp is not marijuana. Although both hemp and marijuana are categorized as Cannabis Sativa, marijuana has an average potency of 5-15% THC (the chemical substance which gives marijuana its psychoactive properties) whereas hemp has less than 0.3 % THC. At this concentration, hemp has no psychoactive properties - sorry!!
Whole Hemp Stalk
Hemp is grown either primarily for its high (textile) quality bast fibre and the residual core material (hurds) or primarily for seed, where the hemp stalk is the residual material. When grown for seed, the whole stalk can still be separated into its components of bast fibre and hurds, but the bast fibre quality is no longer textile quality. There are numerous industrial applications for the whole stalk, however, ranging from interior car panels to super fine cigarette paper!
Hemp Bast Fibre
Hemp was traditionally grown for its valuable and versatile high quality bast (bark-like) fibres. This long, strong fibre accounts for up to 30% of the total weight of the hemp stalk. Once separated from the core material, the bast fibres are ready for further processing: refining for spinning and weaving into textiles, or for pulping into high quality pulp.
The hurds are the short fibred inner woody core of the hemp plant which comprises 70% of the stalk. A by-product of the process of extracting bast fibre from the hemp stalks, hurds were traditionally considered waste. Hemp hurds can, however, be used to produce a wide range of products including animal bedding and building materials.
Whole Hemp Seed
Hemp seeds (hemp grain) have exceptional nutritional value. They are an excellent source of protein, essential fatty acids (EFA's), vitamins and minerals. Hemp seeds can be pressed for oil, hulled to isolate the delicious hemp nut or are available whole either sterilized, toasted, or roasted.
The hulled hemp seed is commonly referred to as the hemp nut. Hemp nut is a highly versatile and nutritious source of protein. It is better tasting and more digestible than the soybean and is just as versatile. Hemp nut has become a primary ingredient in numerous food products.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seeds contain 30-35% oil by weight. Hemp seed oil is approximately 80% healthy polyunsaturated EFA's. Furthermore, the proportion of these oils in hemp seeds most closely match the ratios which have been determined to be most beneficial to human nutrition. Hempseeds are also the only edible seeds with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Hemp Seed Cake
After hemp seed is pressed for oil, the residual seed cake is a rich source of protein which can be ground into flour, used for brewing beer or as a highly nutritious animal food.
Environmental Benefits of Hemp
- Hemp requires little or no pesticides as it is naturally pest resistant, and when grown in rotation has been known to reduce pests in future crops.
- Hemp requires no herbicides as it is grown densely and naturally out competes weeds.
- Hemp's deep root system is effective in preventing erosion, removing toxins, providing a disease break, and aerating the soil.
- Hemp is a high yield fibre crop. As a result hemp can be used effectively in many applications as an alternative to wood or fossil fuels.