Hemp is from the past, and for the future!
Hemp is the low-THC variety of Cannabis Sativa, so it will not get anyone high. Hemp has over 25,000 industrial uses, derived from three main resources provided by the plant - the outer stalk's long bast fibres, the inner stalk's wood-like hurds, and the seeds which provide both a nutritious and versatile oil and a protein-rich meal.
Hemp is the world’s strongest, most durable and most versatile natural fiber, and the world’s most environmentally-friendly crop. Hemp has the potential to supply all of our needs - from clothing to housing, fuel to foods, sacrament, medicine and more.
The environmental benefits of hemp result from it being sustainable to grow, while providing us with an incredible versatile resource. Hemp will grow almost anywhere, without the need for fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides, conditions the soil where it grows, and can produce more biomass per acre than any other crop (and therefore converts more CO2 to oxygen than any other crop).
Hemp seed oil can be used to make most things now made by petro-chemical industries (including powering cars).
Hemp was perhaps the first agricultural crop ever grown. Hemp has long been an industrial fibre because of its strength, versatility, and ease to cultivate. Materials made from hemp fibre have been discovered in tombs dating back to the 8th millenium (8,000 to 7,000 B.C.), and all major cultures across Europe and Asia record some involvement with the hemp plant. The Egyptians used hemp as medicine, the ancient Celts trading in hemp ropes, Buddist teachings recommended hemp for meditation, and eventually the entire British Navy was so dependent on hemp for sails and rope they carried sacks of hemp seed as a matter of course.
Hemp has long been an industrial fibre because of its steady availability, strength and versatility.
Hemp fiber, made from the stalks of the cannabis sativa plant, is the longest, strongest and most durable natural fiber known. Unlike it's cousin marijuana, Hemp contains no THC and is suitable for apparel, accessories, upholstery and building construction, with higher quality yarns constantly being developed. Hemp cloth can be dyed using current techniques for natural fibers. Hemp screens out around 95% of harmful UV-rays, and has excellent breathability and humidity absorbtion qualities. Paper made from the inner stalks (hurds) will not yellow or go brittle with age; it also needs no bleaching and may be recycled more times than wood pulp-based paper. The cultivation of hemp requires very few fertilisers or pesticides and so is better for the environment than nearly any other crop. Hemp is ecologically sustainable and actually conditions the soil where it grows. We can expect to see more natural-fibers in use and a movement away from synthetic fibers as concern for the environment grows.
HEMP FOR HEALTH
Hemp seed could substitute for meat in much the same way as soybeans do, and is the highest natural source of edible protein. The oil, cold-pressed from the seeds, is one of the best known sources of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) and contains a high proportion of beneficial amino acids. Hempseed oil contains the best natural source of Omega-3, 6 and 9, in the perfect ratio 3:1 for human consumption!
Hempseed oil is also an excellent emollient and moisturiser. It's great for the skin, hair, lips or wherever you need intensive moisturisation. The topical application of hempseed oil conditions the skin and protects against moisture loss.
WHO GROWS HEMP?
Hemp is produced in China, Russia, India, Nepal, France, Switzerland, Holland, Britain, Canada, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Syria, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, throughout South-East Asia and South America, Tasmania, Victoria and other states of Australia, and is now also grown in New Zealand!
INFORMATION FOR FARMERS:
* Hemp produces between three and five tons per acre.
* A total yield of 3.5 tons/acre with a 25% fibre content yields 1750 lbs of fibre and tow.
* Between 25 - 50% of this (440 - 875 lbs) can actually be spun into a textile-grade yarn.
* A cloth spun of number-10 hemp yarn, similar to a jeans denim, weighs about 400g/m2.
* One acre yields between 500 and 1000 square meters of this fabric.
* One million pairs of jeans would require only 2000 - 4000 acres.
* A typical seed crop yields 20 to 30 bushels per acre, or about 900 to 1300 lbs per acre.
* Wholesale prices for hemp seed in the USA vary between 20c - 90c per pound. (NZ 30c - $1.40)
* Farmers would therefore gross between US$375 - $1200 (NZ$575 - $1850) per acre.
* Pressing seeds for oil usually yields 25% oil by weight, therefore 14 - 21 gallons per acre.
* Hemp seed oil currently sells for between US$50 - $100 per gallon (NZ$77 - 153).
* Gross Income per acre would therefore be between US$700 -$2100 (NZ$1076 - 3230).
(source: Ed Rosenthal, 1995)
New Zealand farmers can expect a net income of at least $800 per acre per year. (NZ Hemp Industries Association). In comparison, New Zealand farmers are now earning $300-350/acre for sheep, $250/acre for cattle, and $330/acre for wheat (NZ Federated Farmers).
NZ HEMP LEGISLATION AND COMPLIANCE
Misuse of Drugs Act 1975
Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977
Misuse of Drugs Industrial Hemp Regulations 2006
Ministry of Health web page on hemp includes list of approved cultivars and application forms.
New Zealand Hemp Industries Association
Hemp Industries Association (USA)
Industrial Hemp Association of Victoria, Australia
Northern Rivers Hemp Association, Australia
Industrial Hemp Association of South Australia
International Hemp Association