Hemp is also called industrial hemp. That is because this versatile plant is used for more than fifty thousand applications! Because hemp does not deplete the agricultural land, requires little water and can yield up to 8 tonnes of fiber per hectare, hemp is a popular agricultural product. But what is there to use from the hemp plant? And for what?
It is no wonder that hemp is used so widely. Everything can be used! Hemp fibers are the strongest natural fibers in the world. Let us therefore look at the applications per part of the hemp plant
Let’s start at the bottom of the plant; the roots. Hemp roots contain many nutrients for other plants. That is why the roots are used for organic compost and plant food. Roots are also processed into food supplements and cosmetics.
The stem is where fiber hemp owes its name. The woody parts of the stem are widely used as building material. In pressed or laminated form, it is stronger and lighter than concrete and is therefore used in the construction of houses. Hemp is especially popular among people who think about the impact of building materials on our living environment. Hemp grows to maturity within a few months and requires minimal attention and water. As a result, the ecological footprint of a house with a hemp skeleton is very small. In addition, hemp building materials are also biodegradable. There is no more durable material that is so strong in construction.
The woody parts also make insulation material, fiber boards and even recyclable, biodegradable plastic. With the hemp fiber stem, dashboards for top quality cars, cardboard and printing paper are made.
The bast fibers are much finer and also see wide applications. Think of curtains, rope and burlap bags, but also fine fabrics, shoes and fashion. It depends on how fine the fibers are spun. Hemp clothing is more durable than cotton clothing and just as colourfast.
Leaf and flower
The leaves and the flower tops contain the well-known cannabinoids; CBD, CBG and CBC. These cannabinoids are used in a variety of food supplements and cosmetic products such as:
- CBD oil
- CBD tea
- CBD balms
Nowadays, a complex process is used to extract these valuable substances. This process can be cold and hot. If the plants are not heated to obtain the cannabinoids, the healthy substances will not be lost. Sometimes the extract is still heated. Then the naturally occurring substance CBDA is converted to CBD, which increases the percentage of CBD, makes the taste more pleasant and other substances are lost. To make CBD oil, this extract is added to a base oil. And the base oil can also be extracted from the same plant.
Hemp seeds are perhaps as widely applicable as the stems. Firstly, hemp seeds are broken and peeled for direct consumption. Hemp seed is packed with healthy fatty acids and amino acids (proteins). Hemp seed contains approximately 30% fats and 29% proteins. It is a fable that only meat contains sufficient variation in proteins. For that reason, pure vegetable hemp protein powder is also produced; a nutritional supplement that vegan bodybuilders swear by.
Because the fat percentage of hemp seeds is so high, it is also an excellent source for pressing oil. This oil is therefore often chosen as the base oil for CBD oil. Another application in the food industry is hemp flour for baking gluten-free bread.
Hemp and weed are strictly separated in the Netherlands. However, because the plants are very similar, the plant names are often used interchangeably. You often hear in the news that “a hemp farm” has been rolled up. This always means weed farm. The difference lies in the permitted percentage of THC; the substance that makes you high. In the Netherlands, that limit is 0.2 percent for plants. There is even a list of approved types of hemp that can be grown with a permit. Weed, on the other hand, may not be grown and is punishable. The policy of tolerance makes this point complicated.
Long live hemp
Hemp isextremely versatile. Hemp has been given an important place in daily life that is often not even noticed. Regarding supplements, we see a large expansion of products in the near future. More variation in forms such as candy, products for pets and hemp seed oil with CBD for example. We also see products with an emphasis on other cannabinoids.