Hemp and marijuana are both classified as cannabis in biological terms, although there are some important differences between the two. We’ll explore the anatomy, history, use, and legal status of the hemp plant in order to learn not just what distinguishes hemp from marijuana, but also what makes it such a viable and diverse crop.
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What is hemp?
Hemp is a dioecious plant, which means that it has male and female plants. It’s a Cannabis sativa L. variety. These plants have been utilized for a variety of purposes for over 10,000 years. Fiber is provided by the plant’s stems, protein is provided by the seeds, oils are provided by the leaves, and oils are provided by the smokable blooms. Hemp fibers can be used to make paper, clothing, textiles, rope, and even building materials.
From the stalk to the seed, hemp can be used to make fuel and feedstock in its entirety. For more particular usage, hemp is divided into four categories:
- Bast fibers
- Hurds, or shives
- Leaves and flowers
Hemp vs. marijuana: Does hemp also have THC?
Hemp produces a wide range of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. Hemp, on the other hand, produces insufficient THC to create drunkenness.
Although hemp does not produce considerable amounts of THC, it can produce high levels of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). Indeed, hemp-derived CBD is quickly becoming one of the most popular cannabinoid products on the market.
Many countries differentiate hemp from marijuana by the amount of THC produced by the plant. In the US, industrial hemp is defined as Cannabis Sativa L. that does not contain more than 0.3% THC. The European Union has set the limit at 0.2%, while in the UK the limit is zero, unless growers have a cultivation license to grow industrial hemp with no more than 0.2% THC
Can you smoke hemp?
Yes, to put it succinctly. While hemp does contain trace amounts of psychoactive substances, this does not imply that it will get you high. Hemp plants do not contain enough THC to create intoxication. Despite the fact that CBD is potentially psychoactive, it is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that does not produce a euphoric high on its own.
Smoking organic hemp, on the other hand, can be a pleasurable and efficient way to experience other cannabinoids like CBD if the objective isn’t to get high. It’s also never been easier to try new things now that organic hemp flower and pre-rolls are available online. While CBD candies and oil made from hemp are popular, smoking hemp allows you to self-titrate in real time, eliminating the need to wait for any mild effects to manifest.
Improved bioavailability is another advantage. When you inhale CBD, your bloodstream absorbs it far faster than when you consume an edible or take a tincture under your tongue. Your body will have considerably greater CBD access if you breath CBD-rich smoke or vapor. When you eat a CBD edible, it goes through your digestive system and loses some of its potency.
Consider using hemp wick to light your hemp flower for a cleaner burn. According to many users, raw hemp wick coated in beeswax produces a slow burn from all-natural components, resulting in a cleaner cannabis flavor than a lighter or match. It’s best if you have as much information as possible.
What is the purpose of hemp?
CBD oil is extracted from hemp leaves and flowers. More and more people are experimenting with CBD oil extracted from hemp plants as a wellness supplement, hence the ever-growing popularity of CBD-focused cultivation.
Hemp fibers are used in textiles, paper, building materials, and other industrial items. Hurds, also known as shives, are short woody fibers found inside the stalk. They’re used to make bedding materials, absorbents, particleboard, ceiling panels, compost, and other industrial things.
Bast fibers make up the stalk’s outer layer and are divided into three types: primary, or line fiber, secondary, and tow fibers. They are classified based on cell strength and cell wall thickness, which impact the fiber’s strength, durability, and application possibilities.
How is hemp processed?
Processors use many types of processing techniques on hemp seeds and stalks. The technique used depends on the purpose of the final product.
Hemp seeds can be eaten whole or refined into hemp seed oil and flour by being pressed or crushed. To make them more edible, these seeds are also hulled, or shelled. The rest of the shells, which are high in fiber, can be ground into flour.
Hemp stalks are processed through decorticating, a multistep method for removing the long fibers from the rest of the plant. This may entail field retting, which entails cutting the plants and laying them out in the field for four to six weeks. Any bacteria on the plant’s surface will tear down the outer layer of the stalk during this time. After that, the retted stalks are dried.
Water retting is another alternative. The stalks are swiftly dried after harvesting before being soaked in water for a few days. The water softens the outer layer of the stalks and promotes the growth of additional germs, hastening the process. Finally, chemical retting uses acids, bases, and particular enzymes to break down the compounds that hold the strong bast fibers together.
How is hemp cultivated differently than marijuana?
Cultivation and harvesting are two more significant variations between hemp and marijuana. Male hemp plants blossom substantially faster than female hemp plants and generate much less fiber. In contrast to marijuana fields, where all males are prohibited, most female hemp farms have sporadic males.
Male hemp plants generate pollen, which female hemp plants use to make seeds, which are either planted for future crops or sold as food. Male plants are often removed from marijuana fields in order to maximize the production of sinsemilla (seedless) flowers.
Hemp may be cultivated more densely than marijuana, which requires plenty of space to avoid mold or bacteria. The majority of marijuana crops are planted at a rate of one plant per four square feet. Hemp plants for oil are sown at a density of 40 to 60 plants per 4 square foot. Plants grown for fiber are planted even more densely, at a rate of 100 to 120 plants per 4 square feet.
Hemp plants, unlike marijuana plants, are almost entirely grown outdoors. Marijuana plants are usually produced in greenhouses or inside grow facilities. Because hemp is susceptible to the same predators, diseases, and insects that damage marijuana, many growers employ a crop rotation approach, which is planting different crops in the same site to limit the growth of these organisms and allow nutrients to return to the soil.
The farm’s location will dictate the order in which crops are rotated and the kind of crops that are rotated with hemp. On farms where hemp is not the primary crop, it can be planted as a rotational crop.
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