• Elise Castelaz

Know Your CannaTerms - Hemp

The word ‘hemp’ tends to turn heads in the United States due to is association with the cannabis plant. Under the Controlled Substance Act passed in 1970, any form of cannabis species is considered a Schedule 1 drug, including hemp, on the federal scale in the United States. Although hemp is a part of the cannabis family, hemp and marijuana are not one in the same. The hemp plant contains trace amounts of THC, normally < .3%, classifying it separately from marijuana. Hemp is the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana and the two differ in function and cultivation processes. While marijuana is specifically bred and used for medical and recreational purposes, hemp has numerous useful applications in everyday life that won’t cause psychoactive effects as consuming marijuana can.

Three Parts

There are three parts of the hemp plant used to manufacture everyday products; the seeds, the bast fiber and the hurd.

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw or can be pressed into oil. The seeds are very nutritious and serve as a great source for plant-based protein and minerals, like calcium and iron. Hemp seed oil has shown to relieve symptoms of certain skin disorders, like eczema, and can help aid in digestion. The oil is used in various other items like self-care products, foods, and even paints.

The bast fiber of the plant creates a long band running along the inside of the stalk. This is the part of the plant that is mainly used to make hemp material for clothing, paper, construction materials, and many other products.

The hurd, the woody core of the hemp stalk, is more commonly made into pulp and can be used to make biodegradable plastics and hemp concrete. ‘Hempcrete’ has recently gained attention overseas since it serves the same purpose as concrete but acts as a natural substitute due to its low carbon footprint.

The hemp plant is dynamic and multi-purpose, and with constant efforts being made to create more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, this industry has unlimited potential.

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