A History of Hemp
Hemp, or industrial hemp typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique
The etymology is uncertain but there appears to be no common Proto-Indo-European source for the various forms of the word; theGreek term kánnabis is the oldest attested form, which may have been borrowed from an earlier Scythian or Thracian word. Then it appears to have been borrowed into Latin, and separately into Slavic and from there into Baltic, Finnish, and Germanic languages. Following Grimm’slaw, the “k” would have changed to “h” with the first Germanic sound shift, after which it may have been adapted into the Old English form, hænep. However, this theory assumes that hemp was not widely spread among different societies until after it was already being used as a psychoactive drug, which Adams and Mallory(1997) believe to be unlikely based on archaeological evidence. Barber (1991) however, argued that the spread of the name “
Hemp is used to
Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into hemp meal, sprouted or made into dried sprout powder. The leaves of the hemp plant can be consumed raw in salads. Hemp seeds can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk, hemp juice, and tea. Hemp oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids.
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs treats hemp as a purely non-food crop, but with proper licensing and proof of less than 0.2% THC concentration, hemp seeds can be imported for sowing or for sale as a food or food ingredient. In the U.S., imported hemp can be used legally in food products and, as of 2000, was typically sold in health food stores or through mail order.
A 100-gram portion of hulled hemp seeds supplies 586 calories. They contain 5% water, 5% carbohydrates, 49% total fat, and 31%protein. Hemp seeds are notable in providing 64% of the Daily Value(DV) of protein per 100-gram serving. Hemp seeds are a rich source of dietary fibre (20% DV), B vitamins, and the dietary minerals manganese (362% DV), phosphorus (236% DV), magnesium (197% DV), zinc(104% DV), and iron (61% DV). About 73% of the energy in hempseed is in the form of fats and essential fatty acids, mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic, oleic, and alpha-linolenic acids.
Hempseed’s amino acid profile is comparable to other sources of protein such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS), which attempt to measure the degree to which
Hemp oil oxidises and turns rancid within a short period of time if not stored properly; its shelf life is extended when it is stored in a dark airtight container and refrigerated. Both light and heat can degrade hemp oil.
Hemp fibre has been used extensively throughout history, with production climaxing soon after being introduced to the New World. For centuries, items ranging from rope to fabrics, to industrial materials were made from hemp fibre. Hemp was also commonly used to make sail canvas. The word “canvas” is derived from the word cannabis. Pure hemp has a texture similar to linen. Because of its versatility for use in a variety of products, today hemp is used in a number of consumer goods, including clothing, shoes, accessories, dog collars, and homewares.
Main article: 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. However, hemp fibres are extremely strong durable and have been shown to be usable as a replacement for wood for many jobs, including creating very durable and breathable homes. The most common use of
The first example of the use of hempcrete was in 1986 in France with the renovation of the Maison de la Turquie in Nogent-
A panellized system of hemp-lime panels for use in building construction is currently under test in a European Union-funded research collaboration led by the University of Bath. The panels are being designed to assure high-quality construction, rapid on-site erection, optimal hydrothermal performance from day one, and energy-and resource-efficient buildings. The 36-month-long work programme aims to refine product and manufacturing protocols, produce data for certification and marketing, warranty, insurance cover, and availability of finance. It also includes the development of markets in Britain, France, and Spain.
Hemp is used as an internal plaster and is a mixture of hemp hurd (shive) mixed with larger proportions of a lime-based binder. Hemp plaster has insulation qualities.
Plastic and composite materials
A mixture of fibreglass, hemp fibre, kenaf, and flax has been used since 2002 to make composite panels for automobiles. The choice of which bast fibre 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).
Hemp paper varieties consisting exclusively or to a large extent from pulp obtained from fibres of industrial hemp. The products are mainly speciality papers such as cigarette paper, banknotes and technical filter papers. Compared to wood pulp, hemp pulp offers a four to five times longer fibre, a significantly lower lignin fraction as well as a higher tear resistance and tensile strength. However, production costs are about four times higher than for paper from wood, so hemp paper could not be used for mass applications as printing, writing and packaging paper.
Hemp and bead Jewellery
Hemp jewellery is the product of knotting hemp twine through the practice of macramé. Hemp jewellery includes bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, watches and other adornments. Some jewellery features beads made from crystals, glass, stone, wood and bones. The hemp twine varies in thickness and comes in a variety of colours. There are many different stitches used to create hemp jewellery, however, the half knot and full knot stitches are most common.
In recent years, hemp has been growing in popularity as a material used in shoes. Today you can find boots, athletic shoes, sandals and dress shoes that are made with 100% hemp fibre, or textiles that blend hemp fibres with materials such as cotton, jute, virgin polyester, and recycled polyester. The strength of hemp fibres
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
Hemp shives are the core of the stem, hemp hurds
Water and soil purification
Hemp can be used as a “mop crop” to clear impurities out of
Hemp crops are tall, have thick foliage, and can be planted densely, and thus can be grown as a smother crop to kill tough weeds. Using hemp this way can help farmers avoid the use of herbicides, gain organic certification, and gain the benefits of crop rotation. However, due to the plant’s rapid and dense growth characteristics, some jurisdictions consider hemp a prohibited and noxious weed, much like Scotch Broom.
Biodiesel can be made from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks; this product is sometimes called “
Filtered hemp oil can be used directly to power diesel engines. In1892, Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to power “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
Traditionally, hemp stalks would be water-retted first before the fibres were beaten off the inner
Only in 1997, did Ireland, parts of the Commonwealth and other countries begin to legally grow industrial hemp again.
Hemp is usually planted between March and May in the northern hemisphere, between September and November in the southern hemisphere. It matures in about three to four months.
Millennia of selective breeding have resulted in varieties that display a wide range of traits; e.g. suited for a particular environments/latitudes, producing different ratios and compositions of terpenoids and cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, CBN…etc.), fibre quality, oil/seed yield etc. Hemp grown for fibre is planted closely, resulting in tall, slender plants with long fibres.
Use of industrial hemp plant and its cultivation was commonplace until the
The seeds are sown from mid-April to mid-May with grain drills to4–6 cm sowing depth. Hemp needs less fertilizer than corn does. A total of 60–150 kg of nitrogen, 40–140 kg phosphorus (P2O5) and75–200 kg of potassium per acre for hemp fibre made before sowing and again later, maybe three to four weeks. When practised, especially in France double use of fibre and seed fertilization with nitrogen doses up to 100
Smallholder plots are usually harvested by hand. The plants are cut at 2 to 3 cm above the soil and left on the ground to dry. Mechanical harvesting is now common, using specially adapted cutter-binders or simpler cutters.
The cut hemp is laid in swathes to dry for up to four days. This was traditionally followed by retting, either water retting (the bundled hemp floats in water) or dew retting (the hemp remains on the ground and is affected by the moisture in dew, and by moulds and bacterial action).
Location and crop rotation
For profitable hemp farming, particularly deep, humus-rich,nutrient-rich soil with controlled water flow is preferable. Waterlogged acidic, compressed or extremely light (sandy) soils primarily affect the early development of plants.Steep and high altitudes of more than 400 m above sea level are best avoided. Hemp is relatively insensitive to cold temperatures and can withstand frost down to −5 °C. Seeds can germinate down to 1–3°C. Hemp needs a lot of heat, so earlier varieties come to maturation. The water requirement is 300–500 l/kg dry matter. This is around 1/14th that of cotton, which takes between 7,000 and 29,000l/kg, according to WWF. Roots can grow up to 3 feet into the soil and use water from deeper soil layers.
Hemp benefits crops grown after it. So, it is generally grown before winter cereals. Advantageous changes are high weed suppression, soil loosening by the large hemp root system, and the positive effect on soil tilth. Since hemp is very self-compatible, it can also be grown several years in a row in the same fields(monoculture).
Hemp plants can be vulnerable to various pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, nematodes, viruses and other miscellaneous pathogens. Such diseases often lead to reduced fibre quality, stunted growth, and death of the plant. These diseases rarely affect the yield of a hemp field, so hemp production is not traditionally dependent on the use of pesticides.
Hemp is considered by a 1998 study in Environmental Economics to be environmentally friendly due to a decrease of land use and other environmental impacts, indicating a possible decrease of ecological footprint in a US context compared to typical benchmarks. A 2010study, however, that compared the production of paper specifically from hemp and eucalyptus concluded that “industrial hemp presents higher environmental impacts than eucalyptus paper”; however, the article also highlights that “there is scope for improving industrial hemp paper production”. Hemp is also claimed to require few pesticides and no herbicides, and it has been called a carbon negative raw material. Results indicate that high yield of hemp may require high total nutrient levels (field plus fertilizer nutrients) similar to a high yielding wheat crop.
The world-leading producer of hemp is China, which produces more than 70% of the world output. France ranks second with about a quarter of the world production. Smaller production occurs in the rest of Europe, Chile, and North Korea. Over 30 countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China,Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary,India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland,Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The United Kingdom and Germany resumed commercial production in the 1990s. British production is mostly used as bedding for horses; other uses are under development. Companies in Canada, the UK, theUnited States, and Germany, among many others, process hemp seed into a growing range of food products and cosmetics; many traditional growing countries still continue to produce textile-grade fibre.
In the Australian states of Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, NewSouth Wales, and most recently, South Australia, the state governments have issued licences to grow hemp for industrial use. The first to initiate modern research into the potential of cannabis was the state of Tasmania, which pioneered the licensing of hemp during the early 1990s. The state of Victoria was an early adopter in
Queensland has allowed industrial production under licence since 2002, where the issuance is controlled under the Drugs Misuse Act1986. New South Wales now issues licences under
France is Europe’s biggest producer (and the world’s second largest producer) with 8,000 hectares cultivated. 70-80% of the hemp fibre produced in 2003 was used for speciality pulp for cigarette papers and technical applications. About 15% was used in the automotive sector, and 5-6% was used for insulation mats. About 95% of
Russia and Ukraine
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the Soviet Union was the world’s largest producer of hemp (3,000 km2 in 1970). The main production areas were in Ukraine, the Kursk and Orel regions of Russia, and near the Polish border. Since its inception in 1931, the Hemp BreedingDepartment at the Institute of Bast Crops in Hlukhiv (Glukhov), Ukraine, has been one of the world’s largest centres for developing new hemp varieties, focusing on improving fibre quality, per-hectare yields, and low THC content.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the commercial cultivation of hemp declined sharply. However, at least an estimated 2.5 million acres of hemp
In the United Kingdom, cultivation licences are issued by the Home Office under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. When grown for
Hemp was made illegal to grow without a permit in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act passed in 1970 because of its relation to marijuana and any imported hemp products must meet a zero tolerance level. Some states have made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal, but farmers in many states have not yet begun to grow it because of resistance from the federal Drug EnforcementAdministration, making “large-scale hemp growing” in theUnited States “not viable” as late as 2013. In 2013, after the legalization of cannabis in the state, several farmers inColorado planted and harvested several acres of hemp, bringing in the first hemp crop in the United States in over half a century. Colorado, Vermont, California, and North Dakota have passed laws enabling hemp licensing. All four states are waiting for permission to grow hemp from the DEA. Currently, Oregon has licensed industrial hemp as of August 2009. Congress included a provision in the Agricultural Act of 2014 that allowed colleges and state agencies to grow and conduct research on hemp in states where it is legal. Hemp production in Kentucky, formerly the United States’ leading producer, resumed in 2014. Hemp production in North Carolina resumed in
Hemp is possibly one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. An archaeological site in the Oki Islands near Japan contained cannabis achenes from about 8000 BC, probably signifying the use of the plant Hemp use archaeologically dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fibre imprints found on Yangshao culture pottery dating from the5th millennium BC. The Chinese later used hemp to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper. The classical Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 480 BC) reported that the inhabitants of Scythia would often inhale the vapours of hemp-seed smoke, both as ritual and for their own pleasurable recreation.
Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber summarizes the historical evidence that Cannabis sativa, “grew and was known in the Neolithic period all across the northern latitudes, from Europe(Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Ukraine) to East Asia (Tibet and China),” but, “textile use of Cannabis sativa does not surface for certain in the West until relatively late, namely theIron Age.” “I strongly suspect, however, that what catapulted hemp to sudden fame and fortune as a cultigen and caused it to spread rapidly westwards in the first millennium B.C. was the spread of the habit of pot-smoking from somewhere in south-central Asia, where the drug-bearing variety of the plant originally occurred. The linguistic evidence strongly supports this theory, both as to time and direction of spread and as to cause.”
Jews living in Palestine in the 2nd century were familiar with the cultivation of hemp, as witnessed by a reference to it in the Mishna(Kil’ayim 2:5) as a variety of plant, along with Arum, that sometimes takes as many as three years to grow from a seedling. In late medieval Germany and Italy, hemp was employed in cooked dishes, as filling in pies and