What is Industrial Hemp, really? There isn’t any difference between “hemp” and “industrial hemp”. Both terms are synonyms, and “industrial” just describes the many uses hemp can have.
As for hemp per se, this is the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana. Both plants are species of the plant Cannabis sativa. The main difference between them is the amount of THC (that causes the high feeling). To be legally considered as hemp, the plant can’t contain over 0.3% of THC. There are numerous benefits of investing in the hemp industry, as it has many uses. Most people know it because of CBD oil and its therapeutic benefits. However, there is a lot more to this plant.
Industrial Hemp farming has become the ultimate trend around the world. Everyone is talking about it, and there are many reasons for that. Many say that industrial hemp is the “crop of the century” or the “ultimate billion-dollar crop”.
But is there any truth in these affirmations? Where does all this excitement about industrial hemp come from? Is it possible to profit from a hemp business? How big is the hemp industry? Is it the miracle crop some claim it to be? In this article, we will explain in depth many aspects of industrial hemp. Read on to understand more about the legislation, uses, and benefits.
The fiber can be used as a fabric, for paper and pulp, for insulation, carpeting, and paneling. It can also replace the irritating and non-biodegradable fiberglass. A fantastic example is an electric car, BMW i3. This vehicle has hemp in its door panels as well as other recycled materials.
Industrial hemp uses for the hurds include fiberboard, absorbent bedding for animals, and construction material. The hurd is also viable as raw material for plastics, paint, and sealant.
Hemp uses less water and can produce up to 260% more fiber than cotton. The process for hemp-based clothing is also cleaner. The hemp bleaching agents used are peracetic acid or hydrogen peroxide, less harmful to the environment. The cotton bleaching process uses heavy metals, chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, or benzidine. Such chemicals are linked to high environmental pollution.
When compared to cotton, hemp consumes one-third of the needed water. This metric, known as Water Footprint (WF), calculates the water required for textiles. But there are other advantages to the use of hemp for textiles over cotton.
A study by a university in the Netherlands adds even more benefits to hemp clothing. It says it’s softer, stronger, more durable, and more breathable than cotton. It is also flame retardant, not affected by UV rays, and moisture absorbent. Hemp fiber used for ropes and other naval equipment is more robust and durable.
In a shorter period, hemp can produce the same amount of pulp and in a smaller area than trees. The hemp plant has a longer and stronger fiber and is also more resistant. However, the costs of industrial hemp production for paper can be higher than that of wood. Currently, most of the hemp-based paper produced is used for cigarette paper.
The stems of the hemp plant can be used to build hempcrete. This building material can replace concrete blocks and drywall. Hempcrete can also substitute insulation materials, such as polyurethane or fiberglass. Hemp-based building materials can be the base of environmentally friendly buildings. These constructions have zero carbon emissions, high insulation, and energy efficiency.
Nowadays, many houses and buildings are made with drywall. However, this material can cause structural issues and health problems. The mold and other chemicals inside the walls can be harmful to people. These chemicals can trigger the sick building syndrome.
Walls built with hempcrete can absorb and balance humidity without growing any mold. These blocks are also known to be flame resistant and pest resistant. They have thermal regulating properties and are non-toxic. Hempcrete buildings can eliminate most of the culprits for many labor hazards. Hemp can also be the base for wood-substitute planks, as a replacement for oak.
Plastic pollution and the use of petroleum are urgent issues for the planet. There are some companies around the world investing in creating bioplastic. The materials include hemp pellets and hemp cellulose to make rayon, cellophane, celluloid, and other plastics.
There are also companies creating hemp-filled propylene, ethylene, and other plant-based polymers. Hemp bioplastic is biodegradable and can substitute fossil fuel, which is a big advantage. Using bioplastics for packaging food and other consumer goods could decrease plastic pollution. The packaging is responsible for half of all discarded plastics in the oceans nowadays.
Several societies knew hemp benefits and cultivated it for many purposes. An interesting fact about hemp is that not long ago, it flourished in the U.S. and around the world. It was the largest crop in the U.S., and people could pay taxes with the harvest.
Unfortunately, many countries followed the U.S. trend after the Controlled Substances Act passed in 1970. This act prohibited all cannabis plants, which included hemp.
Experts say that investing in the hemp industry is safer than in the cannabis industry. It is now more reliable to invest because of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the farm bill. It legalized hemp, making it another ordinary agricultural commodity in the United States.
And how much is the hemp industry worth? This market is estimated to reach up to $22 billion by 2022. So, getting into the hemp industry is not an opportunity to ignore.
Lately, hemp stocks have had consistent and significant growth without many losses. Thus, investing in the hemp business is considered safer than investing in marijuana or CBD business.
There are countless advantages to harvesting hemp. It can use less water, fewer pesticides, herbicides, and even cleans the soil. Compared to other similar crops, hemp is considered less stressful to the environment.
Hemp can also remove toxins from the soil in a process called phytoremediation. However, the plants harvested in contaminated soils are not suitable for ingestion products. The cultivation of industrial hemp also suppresses weed growth. Thus, hemp is great for rotation with cash crops.
First of all, if you’re interested in the cultivation of industrial hemp in the U.S., you need to get a license to grow hemp legally. To get it, you must pay attention to the laws and regulations in your state. There are different licenses for growing, researching, shipping, and other activities. It is advised to hire an attorney to apply for a hemp growing license.
Once you have your growing license in hand, you can start preparing the field and the soil. Many experts advise planting hemp seeds in the late spring. This measure ensures it starts growing at mild temperatures (60-80°F or 16-27°C).
After reading and understanding more about this booming industry, how do you feel? Are you excited as we are? The possibilities with hemp are endless!
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