Hemp is one of the oldest, most hearty and versatile plants on earth. It has been an important source of fibres, food and medicine throughout history. The industrial cannabis strain, known as hemp, produces fibre, oil and seeds.
The main market sections for hemp foods are the so called “superfoods,” “nutritious foods” and “bio foods.” Double or even triple digit growth in the sector is expected in the coming years as consumers turn to more healthy, “eco” oriented food products. Growing industrial hemp and the development of regional hemp processing and manufacturing facilities hold great potential to create thriving local economies, and to build industries that are more in harmony with nature by reducing our carbon footprint.
The most lucrative derivative of the hemp plant, CBD, has proven effective in a variety of illnesses and maladies. Its acceptance around the world is growing as studies prove its benefits to those suffering chronic pain and seizures along with a wide range of other afflictions. Major research and development projects are under way worldwide while sales of CBD continue double-digit growth year-on-year.
In the construction industry, variously processed hemp straw (shivs or hurds) is used as a main component in bricks, particle board, insulation, and hempcrete, a concrete-like mixture that can be plastered or sprayed onto interior and exterior walls. Hemp building materials reverse the damaging effects of greenhouse gases by locking up harmful CO2 emissions. In essence, these materials breathe. They are also stronger and lighter than those used in traditional construction, and provide natural humidity and thermal control – all in one layer.
Hemp hurds are excellent for insulation, paper, and can be used as an alternative ingredient for making plastics, because of their naturally high level of cellulose. It is also used as a premium-quality animal bedding material due to its high absorption properties, and can be pressed into pellets to create fuel for burning.
Hemp makes for long-lasting, comfortable textiles that can go into everything from lingerie to shirts, skirts and sweaters, to footwear, handbags and other small accessories. Hemp clothing is also antibacterial and antifungal – and it breathes! Hemp-based textiles are 100% organic, which means they are both people and planet friendly.