The Hemp Primary Product
Hemp is an extremely versatile plant fiber derived from the Cannabis plant.
Since ancient times, hemp has been used to create cloth, rope, canvas, oil, and paper (among other things). Hemp can be grown naturally, without the use of pesticides, and it uses far less water than a similar yield of cotton would use. These properties make hemp the perfect fiber for environmentally friendly clothing & accessories.
Hemp is a bast fiber plant similar to flax, kenaf, jute and ramie. Long slender primary fibers on the outer portion of the stalk characterize bast fiber plants. The primary hemp fiber is attached to the core fiber by pectin - a glue-like soluble gelatinous carbohydrate. The primary hemp fibers can be used for composites, reinforcements and specialty pulp and paper
The hulled hemp seed or hemp “nut” remains after the removal of its hull. It contains 30 – 35%
protein and 35 – 40% essential fatty acids by weight. This superior nutritional profile makes it ideal for
a wide range of food applications. Whole hemp seeds are available sterilised, toasted, roasted and fractionalised
(cracked) forms, they are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.
Hempseeds are the only edible seeds with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Hulled hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein, better tasting and more digestible than the soybean. Whole hemp seeds can be toasted for snack food or ground into flour. Very versatile, hulled hemp seeds can even be processed into milk, cheese, ice cream, margarine and other foods. A healthful component of baked good, snack and protein bars, granola, sauces and dips.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp also produces an oil seed that contains between 25 – 35% oil by weight, which is high in essential fatty
acids (EFA). Cold pressed, unrefined hemp oil is light green, with a nutty grassy flavour. It is a superb nutritional
supplement for EFA and imparts a desired flavour into dressings, dips and spreads.
Antimicrobial properties make it an ideal base for soaps, shampoos and detergents. The hemp seed oil that is used for cosmetics and skin care products contains a high amount of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic acids), which makes it an important ingredient in anti-inflammatory skin care formulations. Intake of both ETA’s in sufficient amounts and proper balance is essential for prevention or treatment of a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, menopause, osteoporosis, atopic eczema, psoriasis and acne. Hemp oil industrial uses are in paints, inks, solvents, and binders and in polymer plastics and bio-fuel.
Hemp fibre has been probably been used by humans for more than 20,000 years. Hemp clothing and accessories have
become trendy in the U.S., with a market value of hemp products estimated above $23 million in 1996.
Primary fibres can be cut to shorter staple lengths to accommodate a variety of spinning systems. Hemp fibre blended
with wool, cotton, linen or other fibres, adds strength, durability, absorbency and breath ability, making hemp-blended
fabrics cool and comfortable to wear and touch.
The automobile industry uses the fibre in its pressed form for manufacturing parts such as door panels and dashboards. Hemp fibres are used in the production of insulation boards and batts for the building industry and are also highly demanded by the textile industries. Like primary fibre, it is biodegradable and possesses anti mildew and antimicrobial properties.
Whereas the core fibre is derived from the sturdy, wood-like hollow stalk of the hemp plant. Sometimes referred
to as "hurds", it is up to twice as absorbent as wood shavings, making it an excellent animal bedding
and garden mulch. It can be easily blended with lime to create a strong yet lightweight concrete or plaster. Its
high cellulose content means it can be applied to the manufacturing of plastics or biomass conversion to fuel.
Hemp hurd is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particleboard and core concrete construction moulds. By using a process that applies heat and compression, hemp hurd can be made into strong construction panelling, replacing dry wall and plywood that is fire resistant, with excellent thermal and sound insulating qualities.
When hemp hurd (the woody core of the stem) is mixed with a lime binder and water it creates a bio-composite substitute commonly know as Hempcrete. Hempcrete is lightweight cementitious insulating material weighing about a seventh or an eighth of the weight of concrete. Hempcrete regulates the temperature and humidity of a building; in some cases, completely eliminating the need for heating and cooling systems, resulting in huge energy savings. Hempcrete is carbon negative and the obvious choice for buildings aiming to achieve a low carbon footprint and the highest sustainable building code levels.