History of Hemp
The Hemp plant has been grown for thousands of years. World History of Columbia says that the weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago. According to studies, it is said that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 before Christ. Hemp fibers are one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, and are used to manufacture ropes, textiles, clothes, paper materials and much more. This was prevalent until alternative textiles and synthetic materials were discovered. The big industries such as the cotton industry took over and pushed down the hemp, and it eventually became illegal to grow and fell into oblivion. The hemp industry has today got a huge revival and is growing explosively. But due to smear campaigns from competing industries and government crackdowns there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the hemp plant.
Hemp in Sweden
Hemp also goes under its Latin name “Cannabis Sativa L.” and is related to so-called medical cannabis. Today hemp is also called industrial hemp because it is a crop grown by farmers all across Europe. Between 1971 and 2005 all hemp cultivation was prohibited in Sweden. Hemp is today grown and cultivated on around 130 hectares in Sweden. And it is entirely legal for Swedish farmers to cultivate certain varieties of industrial hemp as long as the hemp plant itself is below the legal limit of max. 0.2 percent THC.
Hemp is a very durable and fast growing one-year crop / herb with large and fingered, three to nine-fold leaves. It has the ability to grow on nutrient-poor soils in most climatic zones and at altitudes up to 3,000 meters above sea level. And in favorable cases it will crow to be nine meters high, in Sweden it grows to be about two meters high. Most hemp species grown are art builder and have male and female flowers on different plants, this is to cultivate so that seeds are formed.
The hemp plant is naturally organic because it is a plant that is very durable and resistant. This means that the hemp plant does not need to be sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides. All hemp is therefore organically grown even though it is not certified as organic. On the other hand, farmers who do not certify their crops may use artificial manure that does not meet the requirements for organic farming.
The Hemp plant is the world’s strongest natural fiber and is known to have over 50,000 applications/uses. It is used for ropes, textiles, shoes, paper, bags, nets, food, clothes, bedding for animals, lubricants, dietary supplements, herbal medicine, building materials, and cosmetics and skin care articles, to name a few. For example, hemp is widely distributed as textiles since it is naturally antibacterial and breathes in a way that makes the fabric cool in summer and heats / insulates in the winter. Hempcrete is hemp fiber mixed with a limestone powder and water solution, then solidified. This concrete is naturally free from toxins, mold resistant, flame resistant, strong and lightweight, and acts as a strong insolation while breathing. These are just a few examples of how versatile the hemp plant is.
Hemp as Food and a Superfood
Hemp has since been consumed for its unique nutritional profile and its high protein content. Hemp also has a good ratio/balance of omega fatty acids. The protein content unique as it is a protein source with a complete profile of the essential amino acids that the body can not produce. In addition the seeds contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and are rich in fiber. Hemp plant material on the other hand, is the most interesting part of the plant as it contains a large amount of natural cannabinoids, about 130 different cannaibnoids to be exact. Along with the many cannabinoids it is said that hemp contain up to 700 different compounds such as vitamins, minerals, terpenes, organic acids, enzymes and chlorophylls to name a few.
The Difference Between Hemp and Cannabis
So what’s the difference between industrial hemp and so-called drug cannabis or medical cannabis. Genetically there is a very small difference between the two, but the hemp plant has been developed more for its fiber and as food . industrial hemp is more bushy and contain only a maximum of 0.2% THC. The cannabinoid THC can at a higher concentration, (after conversion from its original form THCA to the form Delta 9 THC), give a psychoactive / intoxicating effect. Medical cannabis thus has a higher concentration of certain types of cannabinoids such as THC. There is therefore no possibility to get high by consuming or smoking industrial hemp due to the low concentration of THC. Also the ratios of the cannabinoids will play a roll in suppressing the effects of THC as the other cannabinoids counteract the psychoactive effect of THC in the body.
There are two main species/strains of the cannabis plant, sativa and indica. Industrial hemp is almost exclusively of the strain sativa. These are the Latin names used for the plants where sativa means day and indica means night. The sativa plants were traditionally used more on the day for its uplifting characteristics, while indica was seen as something you would take in the evening to unwind.
Since the hemp plant is related to medical cannabis, there are generally similar types of compounds in both plants, but only in different ratios. And traditionally, the hemp plant has been used in all cultures around the world as an important medicinal plant in various medicinal remedies.