Hemp is the name of several varieties of a cannabis plant that grows primarily in tropical and subtropical areas. It is an evergreen perennial. The name is derived from the hemp fiber, which is collected from the stems and leaves. The word “hemp” comes from the Latin “hempium”, which means hair. In ancient times, the fiber from the leaves was woven into cloth, ropes, sails, and other fabric items. Hemp is most valuable for its fiber.
The fiber from the stems and leaves of this perennial plant are valued for a number of uses in modern industry. For example, it is used to manufacture paper, clothing, fuel (diesel, etc. ), and building materials. The hemp fibers are highly sought after for manufacturing purposes because of their fine, silky, strong, resilient, and flame-resistant qualities.
To date, Australia, Canada, Germany, the United States, and South Africa are the major exporters of hemp. The hemp plant is tall, aromatic, erect, and woody. The slender stalks are hollow, only at the base and top; the leaves are crescent-shaped, and the flower heads are large, green, yellow-purple, and flower buds are lilac in color. Hemp possesses a fatty acid content similar to that found in cotton; however, the sativa contained in the plants contain pectin, rather than starches.
Hemp is cultivated both indoors and outdoors. Indoor hemp is usually converted to a product like fibre or oil before being harvested. Outdoor hemp is cultivated by growing the plants indoors under controlled conditions. Hemp is cultivated primarily for its cashmere fiber, but it has also been grown for years as a source of biomass (e.g., fuel, building material, soil, and fertilizer) and as a substitute for alfalfa (used for cattle feed). The hemp industry is currently undergoing rapid development; however, the current status does not account for the vast amounts of remaining acreage that is earmarked for cultivation. The bulk of hemp growing takes place in China and India.
There are three basic types of hemp cultivation: indoor growing, outdoor growing, and bulk cultivation. Indoor growing requires frequent watering; however, continuous monitoring and watering are not necessary when growing outdoors. Hemp can also be grown in the hydroponic form, which is similar to a hydroponic garden, but in which the plants are grown in water-filled containers.
Like other crops, hemp must be grown in an ideal location with ample light, temperature, and air. In addition, the cultivation of hemp should take place in an area free from overhanging trees, brick or concrete buildings, tall grasses, thistle weeds, poison ivy, sand, rocks, gravel, and other obstacles that might hinder the normal growth of plants. Outdoor hemp cultivation is typically done in sunny areas, and this type of crop is highly desirable due to its high fiber content. Hemp has relatively low amounts of acid and nicotine and therefore poses less potential threat to pets and children. This plant is also known to have a low danger of cancer compared to tobacco.
There is some debate as to the actual amount of pesticides contained in hemp plants. Some studies state that over two million acres is used in the production of hemp products, while others claim only about five thousand acres is used. The main difference between these studies is based on the methodology of how each study is conducted; in short, the results may vary significantly.
Currently, under the National Organic Farming Act of 2021, hemp cultivation is allowed in the seven states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Colorado, Kentucky, and Illinois. In these states, hemp farming was previously regulated by the state government. Recently, the United States Federal Government proposed a revision to the National Organic Farming Act which could make changes to this section. Currently, under the current National Organic Farming Act, only three states (Wyoming, Vermont, and New York) have any official regulations in regards to hemp cultivation. According to the USDA, the new proposed Act would enable all 50 states to have some authority over hemp production. Currently, the farmers who grow and cultivate hemp are solely responsible for their own safety, but as long as no hemp products are accidentally ingested, the risk of harm is unlikely.