What is Hemp?


Hemp FieldHemp, also known by its scientific name Cannabis Sativa L., is a versatile plant that has been agriculturally grown since ancient times. It is woody and grows tall, in all kinds of climate.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Hemp is the variety of the cannabis plant that secretes low-grade THC in negligible amounts of less than 0.3%. It is non-psycho-active and hence approved for industrial production. Marijuana is rich in THC, with content ranging from 2 to 20%. Unfortunately, hemp and marijuana are often confused as the same substance.

Learn more about hemp by reading Myths & Realities.

Hemp can be planted almost anywhere as it is weather-resistant. It also matures quickly and does not need herbicides or pesticides like cotton to grow well and produce high yield. Hemp produces the strongest natural fiber known to mankind. Its strength to weight ratio is actually higher than that of steel. As such, the industrial applications of hemp is now increasing from simply being used to make different kinds of textile such as clothing, rugs and shoes to producing tough material for construction of car components.

Hemp as food can also be made into practically anything: oil, milk, tea, butter, flour, protein powders, etc. It is one of the healthiest things in the world that you can consume!

A few facts:

  • The sub-species ‘sativa’ lends itself to industrial use since it makes very strong and durable fiber
  • The sub-species ‘indica’ is used for medicinal and recreational purposes, because of the low quality of fiber produced from it
  • The raw material is further processed as fiber, seeds, wood and oil for industrial, commercial and medicinal use
  • Hemp food products have become increasingly popular for health-conscious people, since 2007
  • It is used to make paper, plastics that are biodegradable, clothing, textiles, body care products, bio-fuel and construction materials like concrete and insulation
  • It helps conserve renewable and non-renewable natural resources

Hemp grows in a biomass at a very fast rate. The crop can be cultivated in the same soil year after year. It is eco-friendly, as it does not need herbicides for a good growth; the number of pesticides required is also low. China is the leading producer of hemp; other countries where it is legally grown are France, Spain and Ireland in Europe, North Korea and Japan in Asia, North Africa, Canada and Chile. Most of it is exported to the U.S.