The hemp plant has been grown for thousands of years. Hemp fibres are one of the strongest natural fibres in the world and have been used to manufacture ropes, textiles and much more. This was prevalent until alternative textiles and synthetic materials were discovered. Big industries, such as the cotton industry took over and it eventually became illegal to grow hemp. The hemp industry today has had a huge revival and is growing exponentially.
Hemp is a durable and fast-growing crop with large and fingered leaves. It has the ability to grow in nutrient-poor soils in most climates, and at altitudes up to 3000m above sea level. In favourable conditions, it can grow to nine meters high, however, it is more usually around two meters tall. It has male and female flowers on different plants in order to pollinate and produce seeds.
The hemp plant is durable and resistant, meaning it does not need to be sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and we can, therefore, maintain its organic nature. There are two main species of the cannabis plant, Sativa and Indica. Industrial hemp is almost exclusively of the Sativa strain.
The Hemp plant is the worlds strongest natural fibre and is known to have over 50,000 applications. Not only as ropes and textiles but also as a superfood and herbal medicine. Hemp has been consumed for its unique nutritional profile, high protein content and a good balance of omega fatty acids. The seeds contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and are rich in fibre. Hemp plant material, on the other hand, is the most interesting part of the plant as is contains large amounts of natural cannabinoids, around 130 different cannabinoids to be exact. Along with these cannabinoids, it is said that hemp contains up to 700 different compounds such as vitamins, minerals, organic acids and enzymes to name a few.
Genetically, there is a very small difference between the two, but the hemp plant has been developed more for its fibres and as a food. Industrial hemp can only contain a maximum of 0.2% THC, which at a higher concentration can give a psychoactive/intoxicating effect. Medical cannabis, therefore, has a higher concentration of certain cannabinoids such as THC. There is no possibility of getting ‘high’ by consuming or smoking industrial hemp due to the extremely low concentration of THC.