Hemp 101: Fascinating Insights Into the Amazing Hemp Plant

Hemp 101: Fascinating Insights Into the Amazing Hemp Plant

The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) comes in many different varieties, one of which is the non-intoxicating variety called hemp, also known as industrial hemp. This article is about hemp but it’s often confused with marijuana so let’s deal with that right now. 

Is hemp the same as marijuana?

Yes and no. Let me explain. Marijuana does indeed come from the same cannabis species as hemp but it is genetically distinct, has a different chemical makeup, is cultivated differently and of course used differently because of its intoxicating effects. 

  • What does it look like? Industrial hemp can grow up to 20 feet with skinny leaves and most of the branches are near the top, whereas marijuana and medicinal hemp is a short fat bush with broad leaves. 
  • How much THC is in it? All hemp has low THC levels (maximum 0.3%, as required by law), whereas marijuana has high THC content (from 5% to 35% in different strains).
  • Can it make you ‘high’? Hemp can't because of its very low level of the euphoria-inducing chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas psychoactive cannabis (a.k.a., marijuana) can make users high.
  • How is it grown? Industrial hemp is an outdoor plant that grows in most climates and with minimal care, whereas marijuana and medicinal hemp are grown indoors in a carefully controlled, warm and humid atmosphere and then often transferred outdoors.
  • What is it used for? Hemp is used in a huge range of industrial purposes (see the long list below), whereas marijuana and medicinal hemp are used for medicinal and recreational purposes. 

What is the difference between medicinal hemp and marijuana?

The surprising answer is that the ONLY difference is the amount of THC. Again, marijuana has high THC and medicinal hemp to be legal must contain only a trace amount, 0.3% or less. 

What is industrial hemp used for?

  • HEMP SEEDS. This is the plant that is loaded with hemp seeds, thus it’s where we get hemp seed oil. The seeds are compressed and the extract is often considered a superfood due to its high omega fatty acid content.
  • TEXTILES including denim, clothing, fine fabrics, diapers, handbags, shoes (8000Kicks is one brand). There’s even a hemp fabric that is similar to linen. It’s produced in Italy. 
  • INDUSTRIAL TEXTILES including rope, cable, string, canvas, sails, carpets, netting, tarpaulins, caulking, insulation, sacking (burlap). 
  • PAPER PRODUCTS including newsprint, cardboard, eco-friendly packaging, printing paper, cellophane. Even printing inks.
  • FOOD PRODUCTS including hemp seed oil, hemp seed hearts, hemp protein powder, EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) food supplements.
  • BUILDING MATERIALS including oil paints, varnishes, fiberboard, insulation, solvents, coatings, acrylics, fiberglass substitutes, hempcrete [1] (which is highly fire resistant).
  • BODY CARE including soaps, shampoos, balms, lotions, cosmetics, sunscreen.
  • FOOD PRODUCTS including beer, milk, hemp seeds (often called a superfood because, for one thing, it has a healthy balance of omega fatty acids), hemp seed oil (which we use as the carrier oil for all our CBD products because it's nutrient-rich).
  • AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS including car bodywork (for example, the Renew Sports Car), biofuels such as hemp ethanol and hemp methanol. 
  • FURNITURE can be made from hemp bioplastics, for example, the Australian brand Zeoform. 
  • BIOPLASTICS. Now this is a fascinating area. Hemp bioplastics will biodegrade within 6 months, better still they are recyclable, non-toxic, and require no fossil fuels in their production. They are 3.5 times stronger than polypropylene and much lighter. Also, 3D printing can use hemp bioplastic as the input. Hemp plastic chess pieces, anyone? 
  • ENERGY STORAGE? Yes indeed. Back in 2014, Canadian scientists found a way to turn hemp fiber into nanosheets, from which they made supercapacitors - which are fast-charging energy storage devices. [2]
  • SOIL REMEDIATION? Yes, that too, because according to ecoReactor.org hemp is “able to absorb chemical substances from the soil, including the radioactive ones and some heavy metals. This in turn allows previously infected areas to be restored for safe agricultural use.” 

Is hemp seed oil the same as CBD hemp oil?

No, it’s not. Let me explain the differences by answering these three questions:

  • How is it made? Hemp seed oil is extracted from industrial hemp seeds by pressing them, whereas CBD hemp oil is extracted from the whole medicinal hemp plant. 
  • How much CBD is in it? Hemp seed oil has no CBD (or other cannabinoids), whereas CBD hemp oil is rich in CBD and other health-promoting cannabinoids. 
  • How does it benefit us? Hemp seed oil is regarded by many as a superfood because it’s a great source of plant protein and also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (which are great for heart health), whereas the CBD in CBD hemp oil helps to regulate body functions including sleep, mood, pain, immunity, appetite and hormones. CBD helps to stimulate the body’s natural cannabinoid production which assists in maintaining the optimal functioning of your endocannabinoid system. Please note: As a company providing CBD products to the American market, we are not allowed to make medical claims.

Which plant does your CBD come from?

When you’re new to CBD, you might assume that all CBD oils are the same. Not so. The law makes a critical distinction based on which hemp plant it came from. 

Hemp-derived CBD oils are legal (because they contain less than the mandatory 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol) whereas marijuana-derived CBD oils are illegal in most countries. 

This is why all of our CBD oils here at Go Hemp are hemp-derived and grown by non-GMO American farmers who use organic farming practices to produce the most healthy (and legal) CBD products that you can buy.

And it’s great for the planet too

In a report to the Australian government, titled The Role of Industrial Hemp in Carbon Farming, Good Earth Resources pointed out what a remarkable plant hemp is.

  • Hemp can grow on nutrient-poor soil, needs very little water and no fertilizer
  • Hemp improves the yields of follow-on crops
  • Hemp absorbs 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare (more than any other forest or commercial crop) and since it can grow 2 crops per year, annual CO2 absorption is doubled
  • Hemp grows rapidly, reaching 4 metres in 100 days, making it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, more efficient than traditional forestry which takes 20 years to mature
  • Hemp is environmentally friendly, naturally insect-resistant and uses no herbicides. [3]
  • And, as MinistryOfHemp.com points out, “hemp is known to have over 25,000 possible applications.” 

The hemp plant can do a lot, but one thing it CANNOT do is make you ‘high’. 

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[1] https://www.ponderingpot.com.au/national/how-cannabis-could-save-australian-homes-from-bushfires/
[2] https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2014/august/could-hemp-nanosheets-topple-graphene-for-making-the-ideal-supercapacitor.html
[3] https://hemp-copenhagen.com/images/Hemp-cph-Carbon-sink.pdf


By WriterGary.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.*

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