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Hemp: Natural resource(Industrial hemp is grown in Europe, but China is the biggest producer)

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November 26, 2012 in Economics


Farmer Wilfried Arndt meassures the length of his hemp plants, Thursday, July 18, 1996 on his field near Uetz, about 30 kilometers north of Berlin


Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products.

The bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend.

The inner two fibers of hemp are more woody and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter.

The oil from the fruits (“seeds”) oxidizes (commonly, though inaccurately, called “drying”) to become solid on exposure to air, similar to linseed oil, and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics.

Hemp seeds have been used in bird seed mix as well.

A survey in 2003 showed that more than 95% of hemp seed sold in the EU was used for animal feed (bird seed, bait for fishing).

Hempseed is also used as a fishing bait.


Hemp seeds:

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into hemp milk (akin to soy milk), prepared as tea, and used in baking.

The fresh leaves can also be consumed in salads.

products include cereals, frozen waffles, hemp milk icecream, hemp tofu, and nut butters.

A few companies produce value added hemp seed items that include the seed oils, whole hemp grain (which is sterilized by law in the United States, where they import it from China and Canada), dehulled hemp seed (the whole seed without the mineral rich outer shell), hemp flour, hemp cake (a by-product of pressing the seed for oil) and hemp protein powder. Hemp is also used in some organic cereals, for non-dairy milk somewhat similar to soy and nut milks, and for non-dairy hemp “ice cream.”

In North America, hemp seed food products are sold, typically in health food stores or through mail order.


Typical nutritional analysis of hulled hemp seeds
Calories/100 g 567 kcal
Protein 30.6
Carbohydrate 10.9
Dietary fiber 6.0
Fat 47.2
Saturated fat 5.2
Palmitic 16:0 3.4
Stearic 18:0 1.5
Monounsaturated fat 5.8
Oleic 18:1 (Omega-9) 5.8
Polyunsaturated fat 36.2
Linoleic 18:2 (Omega-6) 27.6
Linolenic 18:3 (Omega-3) 8.7
Gamma-Linolenic 18:3 (Omega-6) 0.8
Cholesterol 0 mg
Moisture 4.7
Ash 6.6
Vitamin A (B-Carotene) 4.0 IU/100g
Thiamine (Vit B1) 1.4 mg
Riboflavin (Vit B2) 0.3 mg
Pyridoxine (Vit B6) 0.1 mg
Vitamin C 1.0 mg
Vitamin E 9.0 IU/100g
Sodium 9.0 mg
Calcium 74.0 mg
Iron 4.7 mg



Hand holding hemp seeds


Approximately 44% of the weight of hempseed is edible oils, containing about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs); e.g., linoleic acid, omega-6 (LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%). Proteins (including edestin) are the other major component (33%), second only to soy (35%).

Hempseed’s amino acid profile is close to “complete” when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy.Hemp protein contains all 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential ones adult bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities and ratios to meet the body’s needs. The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs.

  • Hemp substitute milk

  • Japanese hemp seed seasoning

  • Swiss hemp beer uses blossoms

  • Hemp seeds



Hemp oil can spontaneously oxidize and turn rancid within a short period of time if not stored properly; it is best stored in a dark glass bottle, in a refrigerator or freezer (its freezing point is –20 °C). Preservatives (antioxidants) are not necessary for high quality oils that are stored properly.

 Medicine: Medicinal cannabis

Hemp oil has anti-inflammatory properties although the best way to medicate with hemp is with hemp budder

  • Hemp balm


Hemp stem showing fibers.

Hemp fiber was widely used throughout history. Items ranging from rope, to fabrics, to industrial materials were made from hemp fiber. Hemp was often used to make sail canvas, and the word canvas derives from cannabis. Today, a modest hemp fabric industry exists, and hemp fibers can be used in clothing. Pure hemp has a texture similar to linen.

  • Hemp dress

  • Hemp dress

  • 100% hemp fabric

  • Hemp sack (Japan)

Building material: hempcrete

Concrete-like blocks made with hemp and lime have been used as an insulating material for construction. Such blocks are not strong enough to be used for structural elements; they must be supported by a brick, wood, or steel frame.

The first example of the use of hempcrete was in 1986 in France with the renovation of the Maison de la Turque in Nogent-sur-Seine by the innovator Charles Rasetti. The Renewable House was the UK’s first home made from hemp-based materials. Construction was completed in 2009. The first US home made of hemp-based materials was completed in August 2010 in Asheville, North Carolina

  • Hemp fiber board

  • Hemp thermal insulation

  • Hemp interior thermal insulation blocks

  • Hemp acoustic ceiling insulation

  • Concrete block made with hemp in France


 Plastic and composite materials: Bioplastic

A mixture of fibreglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used since 2002 to make composite panels for automobiles. The choice of which bast fiber to use is primarily based on cost and availability. Various car makers are beginning to use hemp in their cars, including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Iveco, Lotus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen and Volvo. For example, the Lotus Eco Elise  and the Mercedes C-Class both contain hemp (up to 20kg in each car in the case of the latter).

In 1941, Henry Ford, produced a car whose plastic frame was partially made of hemp and whose engine could be powered by hemp fuel.

Ford car 1941
Henry Ford, right, with a car made of farm products such as soy, hemp and flax



  • Hemp plastic interior of a car door

  • Hemp plastic automobile glove box

  • Hemp plastic column, automobile

  • Hemp composite sink basin


Jewelry: Hemp jewelry

Hemp and bead Jewelry

Hemp jewelry is the product of knotting hemp twine through the practice of macramé. Hemp jewelry includes bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, watches and other adornments. Some jewelry features beads made from glass, stone, wood and bones. The hemp twine varies in thickness and comes in a variety of colors. There are many different stitches used to create hemp jewelry, however, the half knot and full knot stitches are most common.


Hemp rope

Hemp rope was used in the age of sailing ships, though the rope had to be protected by tarring, since hemp rope has a propensity for breaking from rot, as the capillary effect of the rope-woven fibers tended to hold liquid at the interior, while seeming dry from the outside. Tarring was a labor-intensive process, and earned sailors the nickname “Jack Tar”. Hemp rope was phased out when Manila, which does not require tarring, became widely available. Manila is sometimes referred to as Manila hemp, but is not related to hemp; it is abacá, a species of banana.

 Animal bedding

Hemp straw animal bedding

Hemp shives are the core of the stem, hemp hurds are broken parts of the core. In the EU, they are used for animal bedding (horses, for instance), or for horticultural mulch. Industrial hemp is much more profitable if both fibers and shives (or even seeds) can be used.

 Water and soil purification

Hemp can be used as a “mop crop” to clear impurities out of wastewater, such as sewage effluent, excessive phosphorus from chicken litter, or other unwanted substances or chemicals. Eco-technologist Dr. Keith Bolton from Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, is a leading researcher in this area. Hemp is being used to clean contaminants at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. This is known as phytoremediation – the process by the cleaning radiation as well as a variety of other toxins from the soil, water, and air.

Weed control: Weed control#Organic methods

The dense growth of hemp helps kill weeds, even thistle.

Hemp, because of its height, dense foliage and its high planting density as a crop, is a very effective and long used method of killing tough weeds in farming by minimizing the pool of weed seeds of the soil. Using hemp this way can help farmers avoid the use of herbicides, to help gain organic certification and to gain the benefits of crop rotation per se. Due to its rapid, dense growth characteristics, in some jurisdictions hemp is considered a prohibited noxious weed, much like Scotch Broom. It has been used extensively to kill weeds in agriculture.


Biodiesel sample

Biofuels, such as biodiesel and alcohol fuel, can be made from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks, and the fermentation of the plant as a whole, respectively. Biodiesel produced from hemp is sometimes known as “hempoline”.

Filtered hemp oil can be used directly to power diesel engines. In 1892, Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to fuel “by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils, which earlier were used for oil lamps, i.e. the Argand lamp.”

Production of vehicle fuel from hemp is very small. Commercial biodiesel and biogas is typically produced from cereals, coconuts, palmseeds and cheaper raw materials like garbage, wastewater, dead plant and animal material, animal feces and kitchen waste.


Made from hemp

Hemp products for sale

Hemp can be used in a wide variety of products, including:

  • Food (flour, oil, roasted seeds, salad dressing, wine, beer, cheese, biscuits)
  • Paper (books, envelopes, newspapers, magazines)
  • Furnishings (blankets, carpets, napkins, rugs)
  • Cosmetics (hair conditioner, lip balm, shampoos, soaps)
  • Textiles (clothes, bags etc)
  • Source: Hemp Industries Association

Hemp, once a major US crop, has been banned for years because of its close association with cannabis.

But several states now want to resume hemp farming, and two states voted this month in favour of legalisation of cannabis.

Hemp  weaves its way throughout the nation’s history.

The sails of Columbus’ ships were made from it.

So was the first US flag.

It was used in the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was printed.

Founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both cultivated hemp on their land.

The cord around the US Constitution was reputedly made from hemp.

Hemp cannot be grown in the US, it can be imported and used to manufacture paper, textiles, rope, fuel, food and plastics.

Hemp a versatile crop  popular with US consumers – a 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the annual US retail hemp market could exceed $300m  in value.

Texas Republican Ron Paul has introduced four bills to the House of Representatives aimed at making hemp farming lawful.

most recent of these, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, attracted 22 co-sponsors.

In August 2012,  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, co-sponsored a bill with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden in the upper chamber which would exempt Hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

Some 17 states have passed hemp-related legislation and 10 (Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia) have approved bills to remove barriers to its production

Hemp like marijuana,  contains tetrahydracannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical in much smaller doses relative to marijuana .

US federal Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) adopts a zero-tolerance policy towards THC

Cannabis remains an illegal drug under federal law  .

Hemp cannot be grown without a DEA permit and the agency remains opposed to its cultivation.

under federal law, all cannabis plants ( all plants of the genus cannabis) are marijuana.

DEA and the states are set to go to  court-States such as Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, Montana and West Virginia have backed its legal cultivation.

voters in Colorado and Washington state have legalised for the regulation and tax of marijuana .

Hemp field, 1942, Fayette County, central Kentucky
Hemp crop in Fayette County, central Kentucky, 1942  (hemp was more profitable than corn and soya beans )
as far back as 1607, the crop was produced in Virginia.

From 1619, all planters in the colony were required by law to grow it 



Marijuana vote

In ballots held on 6 November, residents of Colorado and Washington voted to legalise the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use

the medicinal use of marijuana were on the ballot in three states, including Massachusetts, which passed the proposal.


During World War II, ”Hemp For Victory” was so crucial to the military effort  that farmers who grew it had their sons  exempted from military service.


‘Why famers want to grow hemp’

 farmer   Wayne Hauge, 54, with  2,400 acres (971 hectares) of arable land in North Dakota campaigns for the legalisation of industrial hemp.

Wayne Hauge

farmer for over 30 years. Both his great-grandfathers were farmers.

“I just think industrial hemp would be profitable to grow. It’s an easy crop to cultivate – it’s practically a weed.

“With all crops, you need rotation. Industrial hemp merely provides another option.

“I’m 50 miles from Canada, there are people not far north of here growing hemp.

It seems logical to conclude it would work down here too.



hemp requires much less irrigation, and around half as much land as cotton to produce the same amount of textile.

In 1998 canada  legalised the growth of hemp under licence, Industrial hemp is  also grown in Europe, but China is the biggest producer.

Hemp vs Marijuana


Hemp and Marijuana are two different types of the same plant. They look very much alike. The difference lies within the chemical composition of the plants. Marijuana gets its psychoactive characteristics because of a high level of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the authorised hemp only contains 0,3% of THC.

Farmers who are interested to cultivate hemp must know that the hemp seed must be certificated. The seed is strictly inspected.

In a lot of countries hemp cultivation is still prohibited. In Europe, it’s Germany and France who plays the leading part in the adjustment of some surpassed laws.











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