What Is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp includes a number of varieties of Cannabis sativa L. that are intended for agricultural and industrial purposes. These varieties are grown for their seed and fiber content, as well as byproducts such as oil, seed cake, and other products. Industrial hemp is low (0.3 percent or less) in the hallucinogenic compound delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD) which is a non-euphoric cannabinoid found in all cannabis.

Is Industrial Hemp the Same as Marijuana?

No. Both are varieties of Cannabis sativa L., but marijuana is high in THC (6 percent or more) and low in CBD, while Hemp has less that 0.3% THC by weight. Many forms of marijuana are grown for purposes other than clothing and food, which makes it less durable than industrial hemp.

Where Is Industrial Hemp Grown?

Hemp is commercially grown in virtually every industrialized country in the world, including 34 states in the US under the Agricultural Act of 2014, or the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill enabled legal hemp cultivation in almost 70 years since hemp’s brief reintroduction as a critical crop during World War 2. The Canadian government reports that it “has proven to be a hardy, fast-growing, resilient and high yield crop. Industrial hemp has shown potential as an alternative to other, more traditional crops. Its short growth period of 85 to 120 days makes it well suited for cultivation in higher elevation. If planted at the proper time, it reportedly suppresses most weeds. Insect and disease problems must be managed like any other crop.”

What Is Industrial Hemp Used For?

Traditionally, industrial hemp was grown as a source of fiber that is principally used for medicine, textiles, rope, paper and building materials. In recent years, hemp seed has become a valuable source of food, feed, and oil. Hemp oil is low in saturated fats and is used as a base for pharmaceuticals, supplements, cosmetics, inks, lubrication, household detergents, stain removers, varnishes, resins, and paints.

Industrial Hemp Resources

National Hemp Association

National Conference of State Legislatures