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Hemp Agro FAQ

Posted on January 1, 1999

What is Hemp?

For our purposes, Hemp is the plant called “cannabis sativa”. There are other plants that are called Hemp, but “cannabis” Hemp is the most useful of these plants. In fact, “cannabis sativa” means “useful” (sativa) Hemp (cannabis). “Hemp” is a durable plant that has been used since pre-history for many purposes. Fibre is the most well known product, and the word “Hemp” can mean the rope or twine in which is made from the Hemp plant, as well as just the stalk of the plant that produced it.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis is the most durable of the Hemp plants.

What are the benefits of Hemp compared to other food crops?

Hemp requires little fertilizer, and grows almost anywhere. It also resists pests, so it uses little pesticides. Hemp puts down deep roots, which is good for the soil, and when the leaves drop off the Hemp plant, minerals are returned to the soil. Hemp has been grown on the same soil for twenty years in a row without any noticeable depletion of the soil. Using less fertilizer and agricultural chemicals is good for two reasons; First, it costs less and requires less effort. Second, many agricultural chemicals are dangerous and contaminate the environment — the less we use, the better.

How about soy? Is Hemp competitve as a world source of protein?

Hemp seed protein more closely resembles that of the human body than soy; it is also easier to digest. Hemp contains a richer source of essential fatty acid oils than soy. These oils prevent heart disease and build the immune system. Hemp also resists UV-B light, which is a kind of sunlight that is blocked by the ozone layer. Soy beans do not take UV-B light very well. If the ozone layer were to deplete by 16%, which by some estimates is very possible, soy production would fall by 25-30%. We may have to grow Hemp or starve — and it won’t be the first time that this has happened. (Hemp has been used to “bail out” many populations in time of famine.

How can Hemp be used as a fuel?

The pulp (hurd) of the Hemp plant can be burned as fuel or processed into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline. The process for doing this is called destructive distillation, or “pyrolysis”. Fuels made out of plants like this are called “biomass” fuels.

Why is it better than petroleum?

Biomass fuels are clean and virtually free from metals and sulphur, but more impostantly, the carbon dioxide which is released when you burn biomass fuels did not come from under the ground, it came from the air. This way, the total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere does not change. When petroleum products are burned, carbon is added to the air, this may contribute to global warming through the “Greenhouse Effect” (a popular theory which says that certain gases will act like a blanket over the entire Earth, preventing heat from escaping into space.

How can Hemp be used for cloth?

The fibre (bast) of the Hemp plant can be woven into almost any kind of cloth. It is very durable. In fact, the first Levi’s blue jeans were made out of Hemp for just that reason.

Why is it better than cotton?

The cloth that Hemp makes may be a little less soft than cotton, (though there also may be special kinds of Hemp, or ways to grow Hemp, that can produce a soft cloth) but it is much stronger and longer lasting. (It does not stretch out.) For the same reasons mentioned above, Hemp is a better crop to grow than cotton. In the United States, the cotton crop uses half of the total pesticides. Cotton is a soil damaging crop and needs a lot of fertilizer.

What other uses for Hemp are there?

One of the newest uses of Hemp is in construction materials. Hemp can be used in the manufacture of “press board” or “composite board”. This involves gluing Hemp stalk fibre together under pressure to produce a board which is many times more elastic and durable than hardwood. Because it produces a long, tough fibre it is the perfect source for press board. Another interesting application of Hemp in industry is making plastic. Many plastics can be made from the high cellulose Hemp hurd. Plastics made from this way are more environmentally safe than those made from fossil fuels. “Bio-plastics” are not a new idea — way back in the 1930’s Henry Ford had already made a whole car out of them — but the process of making them do need more research and development. Unfortunately, companies are not likely to do this if they have to either import the raw materials or break the law.

What are the features and benefits of using Hemp products?

  1. Extremely durable fabric used in backpacks, duffel bags, snowboard covers.
  2. An environmentally friendly crop which uses VERY LITTLE herbicides and pesticides.
  3. Over 250 bi-products of the Hemp plant, including Hemp seed oil, animal bedding, pulp and paper, pressboard.
  4. Solid cash crop which yields approximately $470/acre on the open world market.
  5. Renewable resource to replace pulp and paper industry.

Is it legal to manufacture goods in North America?

Yes, it is legal to bring raw material into North America and manufacture it into a finished product for resale. If this is of interest to you please fill out our easy-to-use inquiry forms.