Hemp is not Marijuana

Pure Hemp

Although both hemp and marijuana are categorized as Cannabis Sativa, marijuana has a potency range from 5-30% THC tetrahydrocannabinol (the chemical substance which gives marijuana its psychoactive properties) whereas hemp has less than 0.3% THC. At a concentration of 0.3% or lower, hemp basically has zero psychoactive properties.

Genetic Background

Botanically, hemp is classified as Cannabis Sativa L. (Cannabaceae). Cannabis is a diverse plant species including more than 500 different varieties. Marijuana being one of the distant cousins. Under regulations hemp is defined as having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Because of this low level, hemp is not suitable for pharmaceutical or therapeutic purposes. THC is created by the plant’s epidermal glands and these glands are not produced in the hemp seed. All Industrial Hemp grown in Canada is Non-GMO (Genetically Modified).

Hemp Fibre

Hemp Stalk

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 ultra thin Pure Hemp rolling 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.

Hemp Hurds

The hurds also called shivs 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.

Hemp Seeds

Pure Hemp Seeds

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 heart or seeds are available whole either sterilized, toasted, or roasted.

Hemp Hearts

The hulled hemp seed is commonly referred to as the hemp heart. Hemp heart 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 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, protein powder or as a highly nutritious animal food.


Environmental Benefits of Hemp

Hemp requires little or no pesticides as it is naturally pest resistant. 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, and aerating the soil. Hemp is a high yield fibre crop, known to be four times that of traditional wood sources. Hemp can be used effectively in many applications as an alternative to wood or fossil fuels. Hemp's abnormally high cellulose levels make it a perfect base for eco-plastics. 

Hemp's Ancient History

Pure Hemp

Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a piece of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.

The use of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) for pulp and paper manufacturing dates back more than 2,000 years. The oldest existing piece of paper in the world was discovered near Sian, in the Shensi province of China and has been date between 140 and 87 BC. This Chinese paper making craftsmanship was transferred to Arabic and North-African countries and from there to Europe. The first European hemp paper making took place in the early 16th century.

Until the early 19th century the only raw material commonly available for paper bio-composites making was rags from worn out clothes, sails and other textiles. Since clothing at that time was made solely of hemp, flax and sometimes cotton, paper was thus also made of hemp and flax fibres. With the onset of the industrial revolution, the world's demand for paper began to exceed the available rag supply. Although hemp was the most traded commodity in the world up to the 1830's, the shortage of rags lead to the development of the wood based paper.

Canadian Hemp History

Surprisingly to some, industrial hemp has deep roots in Canada. Hemp was one of the first crops that Samuel du Champlain planted at Port Royal and later Québec.

In 1606, French Botanist Louis Hebert planted the first hemp crop in North America in Port Royal, Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia, Canada). As early as 1801, the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Upper Canada, on behalf of the King of England, distributed hemp seed free to Canadian farmers. Hemp became the first crop to be subsidized when the government offered to pay premiums and bounties to the "deserving cultivators and exporters of hemp in the Province."

Fibre hemp cultivation continued in many regions to the 20th century. Through many Old World cultures, hemp seed also has a long tradition of in Canada: immigrants from Eastern Europe brought hemp seeds with them when they settled the Prairies. These they planted and used for fresh oil, baking and traditional dishes. Similarly, Chinese Canadians have also long eaten hemp for medicinal and dietary reasons.

In Canada and in the US, hemp was outlawed 70–80 years ago, because it was confused with other kinds of Cannabis. Hemp is often called industrial hemp to distinguish it from other varieties of the plant. In Canada, all commercial hemp strains are grown from seed under science–based regulations to maintain and ensure genetic identity.

After a half century’s absence from Canada’s fields and factories, hemp cultivation was again allowed in 1998, reawakening this country’s relationship to this interesting, fascinating, flexible life changing plant.

Since 1998, Canada has grown industrial hemp for seed and for fibre. Canadian farmers and businesses are interested in the growing business of hemp as it realizes its potential to produce healthy food and environmentally friendly products, including paper, textiles, bio-composites and sustainable building materials.

Canadian Hemp production was officially discontinued in 1938. In 1994, Health Canada began issuing hemp research licenses again. In March 1998, Health Canada allowed commercial production of the crop under a licensing system. Information on Hemp Regulations can be found at Health Canada’s web site.

 Today Canada’s hemp sector is growing to provide secure supplies of hemp seed and fibre raw materials for domestic and international markets, as well as many processed and conditioned value–added products. Canada’s federal hemp regulations help to create quality, safety and accountability. A supportive scientific research community ensures that essential and necessary research continues ~ critical for any crop.

As a fast–growing annual, hemp is a renewable, reusable and recyclable resource. Changing environmental in the world’s business community are helping to turn these green attributes into a valued quality.

Commercial Growth

As with many new crops, there has been considerable fluctuation of production acreage. In 2003, over 2,700 hectares (6,700 acres) were grown across Canada, mostly concentrated on the Prairies. In 2015 over 84,000 acres were licensed for cultivation. Hemp has been grown in Canada with success from coast–to–coast.

Legal Status Of Hemp In North America

 In the United States, Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp. In fact, Americans were legally bound to grow hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. In 1937 Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act which effectively began the era of hemp prohibition. The tax and licensing regulations of the act made hemp cultivation impossible for American farmers. Then came World War II. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor shut off foreign supplies of "manilla hemp" fiber from the Philippines. The USDA produced a film called Hemp For Victory to encourage US farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The US government formed War Hemp Industries and subsidized hemp cultivation. During the War US farmers grew about a million acres of hemp across the midwest as part of that program. After the war ended, the government quietly shut down all the hemp processing plants and the industry faded away again.

The Importance Of Hemp And The War Efforts

In preparation of war, mandatory cultivation laws were passed, and colonist increased their production of hemp, for paper and clothes. Colonist were convinced to take up arms, as they read pamphlets published on hemp paper. Thomas Paine in 1776 encouraged colonist to fight for freedom with Common Sense he writes “in almost every article of defense we abound. Hemp flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cordage.”

The founding fathers of this nation George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both promoters of hemp, as noted in their farm diaries spoke of their experiences as hemp farmers. Throughout Washington’s farm diary he spoke about the quality of seeds, always taking care to sow seeds in best areas on his farm. He documented the importance’s of cultivating seeds at the proper time taking care to pull the male plants from the females. In 1790’s Washington began cultivating “Indian hemp” which he said produced the best quality of plant, and noted its superior quality to common hemp mostly grown during that time. Both Washington and Jefferson disliked tobacco, and on occasion they would exchange gifts of a smoking mixtures, Washington reportedly enjoyed smoking hemp flowers, however there is no hard evidence.

Thomas Jefferson, was also a promoter of hemp, and during his tenure as Governor of Virginia he kept reserves of hemp, and in May of 1781, Jefferson used hemp as currency when money from the government was in short supply.

Jefferson believed hemp to be a superior crop to tobacco, which he said "exhausted the soil, used to much manure, provided no nourishment for cattle." Hemp on the other hand “was of the first necessity to commerce and marine, in other words to the wealth and protection of the country.” Around 1815 Jefferson received the first U.S patent for his hemp breaking machine, which reportedly did the work of ten men.

Kentucky was a large supplier of hemp, primarily because the soil would not sustain a grain crop. In 1792 its legislature levied a tax of twenty dollars per ton on imported hemp, this worked to Kentucky’s advantage and by 1850 domestic hemp crops increased and the amount of imported hemp dramatically decreased.

In the U.S, during the period from 1937 to the late 60's the U.S government understood and acknowledged that Industrial Hemp and Marijuana were distinct varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp is no longer recognized as distinct from marijuana in the U.S. since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. This is despite the fact that a specific exemption for hemp was included in the CSA under the definition of marijuana.

In 1994, the first 'modern' permit to grow hemp for research was granted to a Canadian company. In 1998, Health Canada passed regulations allowing for the commercial cultivation of hemp in Canada for the first time in 60 years. Hemp is now grown legally and extensively across Canada both for its fibre, seed and oil.

Hemp paper, clothing and other fibre products are clearly excluded from the U.S. policy of prohibition and have always been clearly LEGAL. The Drug Enforcement Agency, however, between 2001and 2004 took an aggressive stance toward hemp seed imports into the U.S., primarily from Canada. Citing the U.S. Zero tolerance policy towards drugs, the DEA tried to claim that minuscule tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels found in hemp seed foods (less than 10ppm according to Health Canada regulation) made them illegal in the United States.

In February, 2004, The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), representing over 200 hemp companies in North America and won their 2.5 year lawsuit against the DEA in a decision that permanently blocks DEA regulations that attempted to ban nutritious hemp foods such as waffles, bread, cereal, vegetarian burgers, protein powder, salad dressing and nutrition bars.

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