So what exactly is Industrial Hemp? For most people, the first thought which comes to mind when someone mentions “industrial hemp” to them is – marijuana. But, industrial hemp is very different from marijuana, specifically in terms of the potential to get someone “high”, as it contains very small amounts of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the psychoactive chemical).
Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana, yet , hemp is genetically different and distinguished by use and chemical compound makeup. The Industrial Hemp Program registers growers of hemp and samples the crop to verify that the THC concentration does not exceed 0.3% on dry weight basis, while Cannabis grown for marijuana can contain anywhere from 6 or 7 % to 20% or even more. That’s the long answer on the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. The short answer is that you could consume a field of organic hemp and wouldn’t be high.
So, if it’s not psychoactive, what exactly is hemp used for? Ever since the Neolithic Age when farmers in China first cultivated this plant, the use of hemp grew in order to fulfill many different needs people had through history. It is now used to make clothing, biofuels, foods, health products, body care products and even plastic composites. One source suggests that this “magical plant” is currently used to create more than 25 thousand different products – as many as petroleum. The U.S. hemp industry was estimated to be worth around 500 million USD in annual retail sales in 2012, and this number is quickly trending upward, according to Hemp Industries Association.
Here is a visual of an industrial hemp farm
6 different types of Industrial Hemp Seed varieties
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