THC-Free Might Not Mean Zero THC!

Image result for thc freeThere’s a buzzword alive-and-well in marketing hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) rich products; Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-free. Industrial hemp is defined by its scant THC content, with the legal threshold in the United States being anywhere below 0.3%. The threshold set by the European Union is slightly lower at 0.2%. Switzerland says hemp should be <1% THC, Thailand says 0-3%, and wet, wild and wonderful West Virginia in the US boldly states <1% THC as well.


According to the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control, hemp is a colloquial term used to describe any Cannabis plant cultivated for fibre and seed. It will generally contain very low levels of THC, but potentially high CBD. As ‘hemp seed oil’ is an extract of Cannabis seeds and does not contain any extracts from the Cannabis plant, by the Australian Government’s definition, ‘hemp seed oil’ is not a ‘drug’. 

Image result for hemp seed oil

The Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control states ‘hemp oil is defined as an extract of Cannabis and, for the purpose of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (the Act), an extract of Cannabis is any substance obtained by separation of components from a plant in the genus Cannabis. The Act implements the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 (Single Convention) which states an extract of Cannabis is a drug (wrongly described, however). But, by this incorrect definition, hemp oil is also a drug

The Single Convention and Australian law are silent on the levels of THC in Cannabis extracts and deems all extracts of Cannabis as drugs, regardless of specific cannabinoid levels. Therefore, in Australia, ‘hemp oil that is deemed a medicinal Cannabis product may only be accessed by prescription from a doctor granted Special Access Scheme Approval or has Authorised Prescriber status and may only be imported under a licence and permit to import. Image result for thc free

Related imageHistorically the international definition of hemp was developed by a Canadian researcher, Ernest Small, in 1971. His arbitrary 0.3% THC limit became standard around the world as the official limit for ‘legal’ hemp, after he published The Species Problem in Cannabis. In his book, Small discussed how “there is not any natural point at which the cannabinoid content can be used to distinguish strains of hemp and ‘marijuana’”. 

Despite this he continued to “draw an arbitrary line on the continuum of Cannabis types and decided that 0.3% THC in a sifted batch of Cannabis flowers was the difference between hemp and ‘marijuana’”, and this continues to add to the controversy and confusion as to what truly constitutes the difference between Cannabis and hemp.

Image result for botanical name of a plant consists of ‘Botanical Latin’ words, denoting a generic name (the genus) and the specific epithet (the species)A simple botany lesson shows the botanical name of a plant consists of ‘Botanical Latin’ words, denoting a generic name (genus) and the specific epithet (species, usually two words, can be three). Cannabis sativa L., is a member of the Cannabaceae  family.  Cannabis is the plant genus, sativa (Latin for ‘cultivated’) is the species (included in many plant species names, e.g., rice is Oryza sativa L.), and the ‘L’ (not always used) denotes the authority who first named the species, Carolus (Carl) Linnaeus, Swiss botanist considered the ‘Father of Taxonomy’. Cannabis sativa L., is;
– an annual,
– herbaceous – denoting or relating to herbs (in the botanical sense), 
– usually dioecious – either exclusively male or exclusively female,
– or monoecious – having the stamen (male, pollen-containing anther and filament) and the pistil (female, ovule-bearing) in the same plant (hermaphrodite).
Thus, as the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party of Australia so rightly point out, Cannabis is a herb!

Image result for decaf coffee

Across the United States (and other jurisdictions where Cannabis use is legal) there are products that are technically legal to ship across state or country borders, depending on the THC potency. Perhaps to the chagrin of those seeking the entourage effect, many companies are opting for what they’re calling THC-free’, which, like caffeine-free, implies there is 0% of the substance. However, depending on how the product was created, THC-free might not really mean there’s no THC, just like caffeine-free and decaffeinated beverages are not the same. Decaf coffee still contains some caffeine.

A CBD product made with isolate might represent a true THC-free product. A broad-spectrum product that has lots of other phytomolecules like cannabinoids and terpenes requires THC removal, perhaps through a method like supercritical fluid chromatography. What’s important to know, though, is that in cases where the THC has been removed there still might be traces of it present. When a laboratory measures how much THC is in a given sample, they are limited in how low they can accurately quantify.

THC free

Labs have limits of detection and quantitation for their methods, and these metrics can vary from lab-to-lab. Additionally, there are gradients in detection technology, such as the use of ultraviolet (UV) detector versus mass spectrometry. The sensitivity of the method changes depending on the sophistication of the detection technology. What this all means is that one lab may not detect THC, while another might employ a different method that does. And while all labs can ensure compliance through measuring the required limits of THC content mentioned above, to say that a product is 100% THC-free could be misleading. One fate of this could be in workplace drug testing.

There have been many stories across North America of prospective employees losing out on a job because they bought a CBD product and tested positive for THC when drug tested. One method used by laboratories performing urinalysis (in the US) typically measures down to 50 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml). Other thresholds might be 5 to 100 ng/ml, but regardless, these are very small concentrations. Some will measure THC metabolites in hair samples and these tests can often get to even lower quantities such as 1 picogram per millilitre (a picogram is 1/1000 of a nanogram).

Image result for thc free

Thus it’s important to differentiate between truly THC-free products and those products where the laboratory who provided the certificate of analysis (CoA) just didn’t detect the THC with their validated method on their instrumentation. So be careful when selecting CBD products and note that if you look at the CoA of a product and next to Δ-9-THC, it says n.d., that means not detected and not necessarily free.

Adapted from Free at Last, but is it Really Free?Myth and Reality: Cannabis and Hemp


Why Cannabis is a Superfood

Image result for cannabis superfood

Americans are supposed to get five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day. This equates to roughly two cups of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables. Although this is the recommended amount that should be eaten according to the USDA (United States Dietary Association), most of the American population don’t even come close to meeting this recommendation. In Australia, government dietary guidelines recommend about five serves of veggies per day (where a serve is defined as around 75 grams) and two serves of fruit a day (a serve is about 150 grams). As you can see, serving sizes vary based on the country an individual resides in. Fortunately, a plant consumed for centuries due to its plethora of medicinal, therapeutic and nutritional benefits, Cannabis sativa, has more recently attracted the label superfood from numerous researchers and physicians, whom note Cannabis is worthy of incorporation into the human diet in some way or another. 

Cannabis many medicinal and therapeutic benefits are well established, but the nutritional benefits of Cannabis are still gaining recognition and public coverage. ‘Superfoods are unprocessed foods rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, often derived from fruits, vegetables and herbs. Under this definition, numerous doctors believe Cannabis can be grouped into the superfoods category. Besides Cannabis’ array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits, the plant is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. In general, there are various parts of Cannabis that can be consumed, such as leaves, stems and buds, heated or not. To reap Cannabis’ nutritional benefits though, consuming raw parts of the plant is the way to go.


Hemp seeds contain a multitude of nutritional benefits that can help improve one’s diet. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa (same species), but is grown to produce industrial and commercial products including food, animal feed and other useful materials like rope, textiles, paper and hempcrete. Generally, hemp seeds are consumed for their high nutrient and protein content, especially by vegans and vegetarians. Additionally, hemp seeds are consumed for their fatty acid content in the form of Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s. Overall, humans need to consume a regular amount of fatty acids, particularly due to benefits they have on our heart and brain. Research has found when one consumes Omega fatty acids, inflammation can be reduced, ADHD and arthritic pain can be better managed and high cholesterol can be combatted.

The presence of Omega fatty acids in hemp seeds is worth noting because they also help in the area of protein production. Hemp seeds serves as a much healthier alternative for those who don’t consume fish but need to get their serving of fatty acids. They’re an excellent source of Vitamin E (and other tocopherols), zinc, magnesium, iron, liver enzymes, antioxidants and protein. Not only is hemp extremely versatile, some of its other nutritional benefits include: vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, high plant-based protein content, high Omega fatty acids content, simple to digest, FODMAP suitable, paleo, ketogenic and diabetic-friendly.

Image result for cannabis superfood

Although various cannabinoids deliver medicinal and therapeutic benefits when they’re heated up or decarboxylated, the true nutritional benefits come from the consumption of raw cannabinoids. Some raw cannabinoids’ benefits:

  • Improve productivity and efficiency of cells within the body
  • Initiate the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to activate antioxidant release
  • Released antioxidants act as a ‘cleaner’ by removing damaged cells from the body
  • When orally ingested, therapeutic benefits are achieved more effectively
  • Can be incorporated into diet in numerous ways

You can grind up raw Cannabis leaves, buds or stems to use as seasonings or toppings for salads, soups, stews, oatmeal, porridge etc. Also, juicing raw Cannabis leaves is nutritionally beneficial, according to Dr William Courtney. He recommends using 20-30 big leaves or two or three raw buds daily to reap numerous nutritional and therapeutic benefits. You can also grind up raw Cannabis parts and add to smoothies, shakes and sauces.


All humans and mammals have an ECS, one of the most integral physiological systems involved in the establishment and maintenance of one’s health and creating homoeostasis across all bodily systems (balance). This system plays a vital role in the functioning of the brain, endocrine and immune tissues. The ECS plays a significant part in the secretion of hormones associated with reproductive functions and stress responses. In addition, the ECS regulates homeostasis and influences the function of the food consumption centres of the body’s central nervous system (CNS) and gastrointestinal tract activity. Throughout our bodies are endocannabinoids and their receptors (CB1 and CB2), which are within the brain, connective tissues, glands, immune cells, and various organs. Within each tissue, the ECS plays a role in maintaining homoeostasis, which is the maintenance of a stable internal environment regardless of different instabilities in the external environment.


One study stated the following about this integral system: “This system plays a significant role in a wide range of physiologic processes and behaviours including neurogenesis, neural development, immune function, metabolism and energy homoeostasis, synaptic plasticity and learning, pain, emotional state, arousal and sleep, stress reactivity and reward processing/addiction to other drugs of abuse”. Overall, not only is Cannabis medically and therapeutically beneficial, this plant and byproducts of it can be nutritionally beneficial if raw forms of it are consumed. Whether you want a vitamin, nutrient, or mineral boost or an improvement in your well-being, try consuming raw cannabinoids and/or hemp seeds and see how much it improves your health and lifestyle.

Adapted from Top three reasons why cannabis is a powerful superfood


Hemp Creates Environmentally Friendly Products


In 2017, Hemp production expanded beyond Eurasia and Canada to include three more countries: Greece, Malawi and the United States

Hemp is a genetically diverse and variable crop which can be used in an estimated 50,000 different products across a wide spectrum of industries: from textiles to food products, building materials to bio-plastics, nutraceuticals to nanomaterials, ethanol to animal bedding. The introduction of industrial Hemp-based materials in the consumer products marketplace has been growing steadily over the last two decades as more industrialised countries allow farming, processing and manufacturing. But why is Hemp so important? Hemp is carbon negative. Like all plants, Hemp removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, only much, much faster. Trees for instance, take 20 years to grow, while Hemp by contrast, matures in three to four months and depending upon the climate can be replanted several times a year. If you’ve ever wondered why Hemp was used for rope, sails, clothing and paper for thousands of years, it’s because Hemp fibres are incredibly strong, dense with the carbon that Hemp sucks out of the air.

So when Hemp is used to manufacture a durable good like a car, all that CO2 Hemp removed from the atmosphere, is sequestered (carbon sequestering). Making everything we possibly can from Hemp is an effective means of reversing some of the effects of the environmental damage caused by climate change. Advancements in decortication techniques are the foundation of Hemp refinement and product innovation technology. Canadian Greenfield has developed manufacturing machinery that takes raw Hemp (from the field) and processes it. Once processed, the raw Hemp gets separated into fibres, hurds and leaves. These separate Hemp derivatives allow for special elemental mixing to produce unique Hemp products in mass production. Some intriguing products that use industrial Hemp as either a primary or secondary raw material include, but are not limited to, the following:

hemp sunglasses

Sunglasses and Ski Goggles

In 2014, Sam Whitten, a product design student in Glasgow, Scotland, noticed a gap in the Hemp market; sunglasses. Hemp Eyewear prototypes were made by hand, initially at school. Whitten and business partner Bradley Smith raised over $46,000 dollars to create their sustainable, eco-friendly company, achieving their goal of promoting hemp as a renewable resource through innovative design. Hemp Eyewear utilises leading edge sustainable technology and traditional artisanal techniques to manufacture glasses. Each frame is a handcrafted composite of Hemp and flax fibres, making them strong and lightweight. The average pair of Wayfarer sunglasses weighs >42 grams (1.5 ounces), an Hemp Eyewear pair weighs less than half that. Hemp Eyewear’s Carl Zeiss lenses are made from >70% biological materials and the glasses are individual, with no two fibre patterns the same. They are vegan, recyclable and the packaging is sustainable. Hemp Eyewear also designs and sells phone cases and backpacks (rucksacks). Bosky MK2 Snow Goggles (designed in Portland, Oregon, US, made in Italy) feature a flexible plant-based urethane frame, tear-resistant Hemp ventilation system and non-toxic 100% recycled Polartec fleece face cushioning. In a crowded marketplace, the Bosky goggles are the first polyurethane foam-free product and hemp ventilation system to make it to commercialisation.

Clothing and Accessories

Jersey Tank 2.0Why Hemp clothing? Hemp fabric has proved to be far superior to its counterparts in almost every way. Hemp fibre is more porous and breathable, allowing your skin to breathe. Hemp fibre is the most durable of any plant and is eco-friendly and sustainable whereas cotton is a water-intensive crop and uses 25% of the world’s pesticides. Hemp requires 50% less water to grow than cotton and requires no use of pesticides. Most Hemp T-shirts available in the US market are mixed with a little bit of organic cotton. It’s typically a 60% Hemp / 40% cotton mix. They’re some of the most durable shirts you’ll ever wear. Hemp fibre is stronger than synthetics, insulates extremely well, protects from UV rays and fights mildew and bacteria in sweat. This means Hemp garments stay fresher for longer and can actually biodegrade, which eliminates landfill. By far the most important aspect is it does not leach micro-plastics onto your skin and into the environment during or after washing. Micro-plastics are tiny plastic particles which shed from garments and plastic items over time, byproducts of the petrochemical and synthetics industries.hemp handkerchief

When synthetic materials are cleaned, damaged, put into landfill, discarded into waterways or the ocean, it all contributes to a huge global problem of mass pollution. The micro-plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans is causing harm to the environment and living organisms. We must cut down on all plastics or switch to bio-plastic alternatives and fully natural products. As a global society we have become accustomed to wearing synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester and unfortunately these fabrics are extremely damaging to the environment. Many industries use synthetics because they are cheap. But this is not acceptable when we have alternatives like Hemp that can last longer and do not pollute the environment. We must produce and utilise these materials and enact real change by demanding better responsibility from the clothing industry.

Benefits of Hemp Paper

1 acre of Hemp can produce as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees over a 20 year cycle.

Hemp stalks grow in 4 months, whereas trees take 20-80 years

Hemp has higher concentration of cellulose than wood, the principal ingredient in paper. Hemp can have have over 70% cellulose content, trees are made up of at most 40% cellulose, requiring toxic chemicals to remove the other 60%. 

Hemp has lower lignin content than wood. Hemp contains 5-24% lignin whereas
wood has 20-35%. This is advantageous as lignin must be removed
from the pulp before it can be processed as paper.

Hemp paper is more durable than trees. Hemp paper does not
yellow, crack, or deteriorate like tree paper.

Wider use of Hemp paper can help sustainability efforts to reduce deforestation.


Paper and Packaging Products
Hemp has been an ingredient in paper-making since the advent of paper by the Chinese almost 2,000 years ago. For the last 130 years, Hemp has been all but eliminated from the paper-making process with the development of wood-based pulping. Today Hemp is making a comeback with speciality papers and new processing techniques, from bio-refining to 21st century decortication technology breathing new life into the market. Several entities are looking at a variety of Hemp raw materials to incorporate into numerous paper products that include fine-art paper, packaging board stocks, soft tissue products, rolling papers and commercial grade printing paper in a variety of different paper weights. Green Field Paper Company in California, US, has been making commercial grade Hemp paper since the 1990’s. Tree Free Hemp provides Hemp-blended paper products, custom Hemp printing services and Hemp packaging. Creative Paper TasmaniaThe Hemp for their paper is grown  and milled throughout North America and printed in northern Colorado (Tree Free Hemp is part of the Colorado Hemp Company), utilising local sources for production and services. Advocates for Hemp and sustainability, they are committed to promoting the message Hemp is a viable product. In Australia, harvest waste from the Tasmanian Hemp Industry is salvaged by Creative Paper Tasmania for their handmade paper. The stalk of the Hemp plant is used in combination with white cotton, to create a distinct natural colour for their resulting strong, fine-grained, beautiful paper.

American companies like Sana Packaging are creating composites from Hemp and corn. Sana Packaging’s products are created using Hemp hurd, the fibrous woody core of industrial Hemp, combined with corn to create a composite ‘bioplastic’. Working with domestically-sourced materials ensures sustainability of the products. “Our Hemp is sourced domestically in Kentucky, processed in North Dakota and we manufacture in Minnesota and Arizona. All American made, all American supply chain” said a company representative. Hemp.Press targets the Hemp packaging can be part of reducing dependence on single-use, unsustainable packaging.Cannabis industry with products that replace boxes or display cards made from trees with Hemp paper. Matthew Glyer opened Hemp Press in 2013 in Oregon and became the proprietor of the first exclusively Hemp paper print shop in the US, the only printing company of its kind. “Our big goal is to keep manufacturing in the United States and to source the fibre from the United States”, Glyer said. 

Previously, the primary source for Hemp fibre was Canada, where the government both subsidised and funded the industrial Hemp industry. However, since funds for Hemp research and production dried up a few years ago, growers and enthusiasts in the US have been searching for a way to bring the industrial Hemp industry to the US. “Currently, we do not really have the infrastructure to process hemp fibre”, Glyer said, expressing a desire to inspire farmers to actually grow Hemp. Glyer and his colleagues want to turn Hemp into a mainstream agricultural commodity and they hope their printing business will help people see Hemp as a useful and sustainable crop that could help save the planet. These companies are involved in lobbying to change Cannabis laws. Currently, most US states with legal medical or recreational Cannabis programs prohibit the re-use of packaging at Cannabis dispensaries. If those laws changed, consumers would be able to bring their Hemp packaging back to the dispensary to be refilled with fresh flower, extract, or pre-rolled joints.

Hemp Composites for Automobiles

Renew designs and manufactures exotic,

Renew, “Ultra-Low Carbon Footprint” (ULCF) Sports Car (Hemp Biocomposite). Manufacturing processes are as close to carbon neutral as possible. Lightweight, low-carbon footprint body can be configured in petrol (gas) or electric versions.

High-end automobile manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Volkswagen are using Hemp-based composites and plastics for interior door panelling, dashboards, body moulding and hemp-based textiles for interior upholstery. Auto manufacturers and even budding independent aircraft entrepreneurs are looking to include more Hemp and natural fibre products into their production models to lighten, strengthen and make their products more fuel- efficient and environmentally friendly. 

BMW, one of the largest car manufactures in the world, is utilising industrial Hemp based biocomposites in their “i3” electric car. By lowering the weight, engineers have increased the distance the electric car can travel. The BMW i3 is said to be made from 95% recyclable materials. Hemp can be used for a variety of industrial applications but, one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding is the use of Hemp fibres as a reinforcement in bio-composites. Plant materials such as soy, canola, or corn can be mixed with Hemp to achieve a 100% biocomposite but, German car companies like Mercedes, Audi and BMW choose to blend plant based materials with thermoplastics to achieve superior composites that can hold any shape and a resulting material that is two-to-three times stronger than steel. Hemp bio-composites can also be modelled into almost any shape to create a variety of different products that include interior substrates, furniture, surfboards, kitchen counters, flooring for houses and a number of other finished goods.


Hemp Food

Hemp foods have been categorised as super-foods and are the leading market driver for Hemp products in the United States. There are dozens of Hemp-based food brands lining shelves at natural grocers like Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s as well as big-box retailers like Sam’s Club, Costco and Target. In Australia, major supermarket chains have only recently jumped on the bandwagon with Australian and imported Hemp products. Online suppliers like the Hemp Store (New South Wales) have been supplying patrons for years with a limited range of products but that same range is now exploding with legalisation of Hemp foods for human consumption Australia-wide in 2017 (finally)! High in protein, balanced in Omega 3, 6 and 9, full of antioxidants, amino acids and other essential nutrients, products including Hemp milk, hulled and toasted seeds, energy bars, Hemp seed oil, cereal and Hemp protein powder are finding their way into the diets of health-conscious consumers.

Skincare Products

hemp balm

Hemp skincare products are better than conventional products, offering a superior ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 is great for smoothing and firming skin and helps improve skin cell structure, ridding cells of waste products. Hemp oil is also packed with vitamins;

  • Vitamin B6 encourages firmer skin by providing beneficial fatty acids
  • Vitamin C is an essential building block of collagen that helps skin elasticity, tone and brightness
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that encourages healthy skin-tissue growth

And finally, key amino acids in Hemp oil prevent wrinkles and allow the skin to retain more moisture, helping with dry skin, eczema or psoriasis and stretch marks.

dr bronners liquid soapThe ingredients list on a shampoo bottle probably contains many unrecognisable ingredients. Hemp boutique brands which use only natural formulations offer the best results. Hemp is used in soaps because of its unsurpassed essential fatty acid (EFA) content, which makes the soaps smoother and less drying. Dr. Bronner’s  is a leading US soap brand that uses Hemp. Around for over 100 years and a popular choice, they use all organic and sustainable ingredients suitable for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

raw elements hemp sunscreenUsing Hemp products can help in a myriad of unique ways. Hemp supplies hair with significant amounts of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, zinc, phosphate, iron and magnesium. Vitamin E works to prevent split ends and keeps hair colour vibrant. Zinc helps strengthen hair follicles and prevents hair loss altogether. Hemp also enables the process of keratin creation, which helps develop stronger and more resilient hair and can prevent serious hair loss as a result of iron deficiency. Hemp has a comedogenic rating (comedo, the least severe form of acne, is the result of a clogged pore) of 0 out of 5, which means that it will not clog pores. Hemp reduces the redness of pimples and prevents future breakouts. Hemp’s high levels of Omega-3 fatty acid content directly treats skin conditions including acne. Vitamin D boosts elasticity, stimulates collagen production, enhances radiance and lessens lines and the appearance of dark spots on the face. Hemp increases skin elasticity and water retention capacity. Hemp balm products ease muscular aches, reduce swelling and pain, promoting full body healing and raising melatonin levels thousands of times higher than normal. Hemp boosts the skin’s UV defence and neutralises damaging free radicals. Hemp also makes hands softer while being naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal.

Hemp versus Conventional Body Care Products

Type Type of Oil Scent Effect on Skin Eco-friendly?
Hemp Products All natural plant based Hemp oil Natural aroma with a subtle nutty, earthy undertone Nourishes skin with variety of minerals and vitamins Yes, completely renewable
Conventional Products Originated from crude oil Contain >30+ ingredients to offer heavy fragrance from chemicals Often drys skin and hair, negatively alters microbia balance on skin No, contains synthetic and toxic chemicals

Hemp Building Materials

Sustainable building practices are on the rise to create more resource-efficient models for construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition. Using industrial Hemp fibre and hurd derived from the stalks, dozens of products are being created that are environmentally superior to the wood and petroleum-based products that have traditionally been used.

Hemp hurd and lime create one of the greatest building materials known to man - Hempcrete!

Hemp hurd and lime create one of the greatest building materials known to man – Hempcrete!

Industrial Hemp can be made into insulation, Hempcrete, particle board, plaster, roofing, flooring and finishing products such as caulking, sealants, varnishes and paints. Using these materials offers significant environmental benefits including regulating warm and cool temperatures and reducing energy costs. Hemp is also non-toxic and is considered a carbon-sink as it traps carbon dioxide (CO2) when it accumulates.

Hemp Nanomaterials

One of the most exciting innovations in the last few years is the development of graphene-like nano-sheets used for supercapacitor electrodes created from industrial Hemp bast fibre. This material exhibits excellent electrochemical performance at a significantly lower cost to that of industry standard graphene materials. Researchers in Canada have been producing favourable data that indicate Hemp-based supercapacitors offer an affordable next generation energy source to replace rechargeable batteries for applications such as electric cars, power tools and mobile devices. Biomolecular engineers discovered Hemp can be converted into battery materials, specifically carbon nanosheets and supercapacitors, and are being explored as a source of clean, green, renewable energy. Among the pioneering groups in this field is CQuest Partners LLC, a green technology startup in New York that received a hefty state grant to develop a research facility. CQuest’s Hemp-based supercapacitors have been tested and outperform current commercial models while operating under freezing temperatures of upwards to 93.3°C (200°F), although Hemp carbon nanosheets cannot do everything that graphene does. With the global push towards renewable energy, however, Hemp based carbon nanosheets are revolutionary, not only for their cost effectiveness and availability versus the more popular graphene but because of their mass market potential. 

Hemp has shown promise as a low cost, higher efficiency alternative to Graphene.

Hemp has shown promise as a low cost, higher efficiency alternative to graphene.

Hemp 3-D Printing Filament and Bio-plastics

Hemp is making it’s way into a variety of plastic-based applications and manufacturers are beginning to take a serious look at greening up their offerings with Hemp while reducing the use of petroleum and synthetic materials. Several developers are working on 3-D printing filaments made from industrial Hemp and other plant-based materials. Kanesis (Italy) and Matterlabs are just two companies exploring small-scale 3-D Hemp printing ideas. Envirock Rapid Building Systems has developed a full-scale onsite Monolithic 3-D Building System that prints dome-style structures from >18 sq.m. (200 sq. ft) to >167 sq.m. (1,800 sq. ft), in one or two level configurations. Significant advancement of Hemp-based 3-D printing technology is envisaged in the coming years. In Australia, Nimbin Hemp Products offers a range of Hemp 3-D printing filaments among other upcycled and recycled filaments. Mirreco, another Australian company, has developed carbon-neutral hemp panels that can be 3D printed into floors, walls and roofs, “helping build the world-wide Hemp industry from the ground up with our revolutionary, cutting-edge Hemp processing technology in order to create fully sustainable ‘off the grid’ building solutions”.

Currently, bioplastics represent about 1% of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced annually. As demand is rising and with more sophisticated materials, applications and products emerging, the market is growing by 20-100% per year. According to market data compiled by European Bioplastics, global production capacity of bioplastics is predicted to grow 50% in the medium term, from approx. 4.2 million tonnes in 2016 to 6.1 million tonnes in 2021.

“Hemp cellulose can be extracted and used to make cellophane, rayon, celluloid and a range of related plastics” reported Sensi Seeds in 2014. “Hemp is known to contain around 65-70% cellulose and is considered a good source (wood contains around 40%, flax 65-75% and cotton up to 90%) that has particular promise due to its relative sustainability and low environmental impact”. While 100% Hemp-based plastic is still a rarity, some “composite bioplastics”, made from a combination of Hemp and other plant sources, are already widely in use. One of the most provocative examples of Hemp’s potential plastic future could come from LEGO Group, maker of the ubiquitous building block toy, which announced plans to invest $150 million to look into replacing petro-plastics with sustainable materials by 2030, promising to phase out fossil-fuel based resin entirely.could hemp plastic be used for legos

Pure cellulose extracted from recycled and reclaimed papers, industrial Hemp, discarded natural fabrics, waste and renewable plants, is sustainably transformed into a strong, durable, flexible base material called ZEOFORM™. An Australian company has developed and patented a revolutionary eco-friendly industrial material, derived from raw cellulose, the most abundant source of fibre on the planet. Similar in look, feel and function to a dense hardwood, ZEOFORM can be sprayed, moulded or formed into infinite shapes, sizes, colours and variations, including specialised substrates for unique applications in any industry requiring woods, plastics and resins for manufacturing. ZEOFORM is truly 100% eco-friendly, with no glues, binders, chemicals or additives of any kind. A unique patented process produces a beautiful, versatile, extremely strong material for thousands of products used every day, worldwide. ZEOFORM could replace plastic and wood composites.

Comparing the mechanical properties of ZEOFORM with numerous hard plastics and composite chipboards, ZEOFORM competes favourably for compression and tensile strength, hardness and durability etc without any toxic ingredients. ZEOFORM’s biggest advantages are its only two ingredients; plant fibres + water. Plant fibres are the largest renewable resource on the planet and ZEOFORM has the potential to offer a non-toxic process chain from fibre in the field to finished product with full biodegradability after products are discarded. ZEOFORM is a non-polluting biomass resulting in low net carbon emissions.

Hemp for Soil Remediation and Reclamation

In 2017, Gavin Stonehouse, a graduate student in plant biology at Colorado State University, started cultivating Hemp in a special soil mixture dosed with varying levels of selenium. A mineral that occurs naturally in most of the western United States, selenium is also a nasty environmental pollutant when produced in excess by industrial and agricultural activities. Stonehouse wanted to find out if Hemp could handle the selenium. If the plants thrived, it would be an important first step towards proving claims that industrial Hemp naturally cleans soils contaminated with a multitude of toxic substances, known as ‘bioremediation’ or ‘phytoremediation’. The Hemp was super tolerant of the selenium, said Stonehouse. Not a single plant died and only a few, exposed to the highest doses, showed signs of stress. The implications of the experiment go beyond just potential for healthier soil. “If you can clean up the environment and still get a commercial product” says Stonehouse, “you are killing two birds with one stone”. 

The term ‘phytoremediation’ was coined by scientist, Dr Ilya Raskin, of Rutgers University’s Biotechnology Centre for Agriculture and the Environment, who was a member of the original task force sent by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to examine the Chernobyl site. In 1998 industrial Hemp was planted for the purpose of removing contaminants near Chernobyl. “Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find” said Slavik Dushenkov, a research scienst. “For the specific contaminants that we tested, Hemp demonstrated very good phytoremediation properties” said Dushenkov. In Belarus, site of the original Chernobyl disaster, they are using Hemp to help clean up the soil and processing the Hemp into biofuel. 

Phytoremediation is a process that takes advantage of the fact that green plants can extract and concentrate certain elements within their ecosystem. For example, some plants can grow in metal-laden soils, extract certain metals through their root systems and accumulate them in their tissues without being damaged. In this way, pollutants are either removed from the soil and groundwater or rendered harmless. In 2001, a team of German researchers confirmed the Chernobyl results by showing Hemp was able to extract lead, cadmium and nickel from a plot of land contaminated with sewage sludge. In 2011, hundreds of farmers in Puglia, Italy, started testing the theory, planting Hemp in a long-term effort to clean up fields disastrously polluted by a massive steel plant. Farmers have since been cleared to sell harvested Hemp fibre for industrial use.


Hyper-accumulatory nature of Cannabis sativa L. is shown by accumulation of various metals (mg/kg) in industrial areas (Heavy metal contamination and accumulation in soil and wild plant species from industrial area of Islamabad, Pakistan’ 2010)

Concentration of metal (mg/kg) Root Shoot
Lead 29 mg/kg 30 mg/kg
Copper 29 mg/kg 18.2 mg/kg
Zinc 27 mg/kg 43.9 kg/kg
Nickel 13.6 kg/mg 11.3 mg/kg
Cobalt 24.7 mg/kg 14.8 mg/kg
Chromium 29.7 mg/kg 14.5 mg/kg

Industrial hemp uses less water than traditional crops like corn and cotton all while replenishing nutrients to soil.Industrial hemp has long been considered a good rotational crop because of its ability to detoxify and replenish the soil with nutrients from crops that use pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. It has also been tested with favourable results for phytoremediation in areas where lands are contaminated with various pollutants such as heavy metals, crude oil, chemicals and solvents. Industrial hemp uses less water than traditional crops like corn and cotton all while replenishing nutrients. Taking that one step further, several companies have been developing products using the hurd for oil and chemical spill reclamation as well as loss-circulation materials. Hemp hurd is porous, extremely absorbent and performs like a sponge. Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC has two products on the market currently: DrillWall for loss-circulation materials and SpillSuck for oil and chemical spill reclamation.

Expanded from Hot consumer products made from Hemp


Hemp Can Help Detoxify You and Your Home

hemp-can-detox-your-home-heroMany of us are living in one of the largest chemical experiments in history. Over the past century and a half, new chemicals and compounds never before seen on earth have become part of everyday life. Over the past 30 years, 100,000 new industrial chemicals were approved for commercial use in the United States (US) alone. In fact, if you live in an industrialised country, scientists estimate that you carry an average of 700 synthetic chemicals or contaminants in your bodily tissues at any given time. These chemicals come from the air, water, food and exposure to consumer products on a daily basis. While you can’t escape exposure to harmful chemicals altogether, you can choose to make your home as safe and clean as possible. Hemp products can offer a hand to help detoxify your home.


You spend one-third of your life sleeping which means you develop a very intimate relationship with your mattress and bedding. Unfortunately, most mattresses are now coated with flame-retardants1, formaldehyde2 (a known carcinogen), pesticides and chemicals that cause respiratory and skin irritation. These chemicals leak into the home environment, but thankfully there’s a way to reduce toxic exposure while you sleep. Organic hemp mattresses and bedding. Hemp is more durable than cotton and is bacteria, mould, fire and insect resistant. As a 100% natural material you won’t have to worry about sleeping on cancer-causing chemicals all night. Natural mattresses are a bit more of an investment than some of the mass-produced synthetic mattresses, however, so opting for hemp bedding will help you begin detoxing your house while saving up!

1-hemp-can-detox-your-home-beddingHemp is stronger than any other natural fibre, with approximately eight times the tensile strength and four times the durability of cotton and providing the highest UV protection of any natural fabric. Using hemp ensures long lasting bed linen (up to 10 years with normal use), making the initial cost an economic investment. Hemp progressively softens with every wash, without losing its shape, has superior inherent absorbency and breathability which helps promote good sleep. Hemp is warm in winter, cool in summer and is a natural insulator due to its hollow core fibre, a characteristic it shares with wool (without the scratchiness). Hemp is naturally hypo-allergenic, anti-viral, anti-mould and anti-bacterial, excellent for asthma and allergy sufferers.

  • Hemp/latex mattress (Australia)
    • natural latex core, with hemp or hemp and organic cotton covers
    • made without glues or harmful chemicals
  • Hemp and organic cotton/hemp sheeting, imported and/or Australian grown organic cotton/hemp

Another way to clean up the home is to get rid of products that cause an excessive amount of waste. Disposable paper towels and napkins are mostly treated with dyes and bleach and more often than not, they’re not made from
 recycled materials. US company Restalk has engineered a paper made from the stalks of the cannabis plant. “Our paper prototype is a great start, but we are really just scratching the surface. There is a real viability for our material to be integrated across several sectors, whether it be in the form of composites, bio-plastics, textiles, or even 3D printing. There are many practical and cutting edge applications”, said one of the co-founders of Restalk. 

On the left is processed cannabis waste and Restalk’s prototype paper on the right

Swapping out disposables for some high-quality hemp (or cannabis) products reduces your exposure to bleach and dyes while further reducing your carbon footprint. Sourcing household items made from hemp is easy, a quick online search turns up many stockists in Australia from wholesale to retail and designer, home-grown and imported. A raft of environmentally friendly home-wares is available, naturally anti-bacterial and anti-mould tea towels, aprons, bags, cushion covers, napkins, serviettes, table runners and chair covers.

Carpet is perhaps the biggest air filter in many homes, yet carpeting is often sprayed with flame retardants (volatile or semi-volatile organic compounds, VOC’s3 or SVOC’s, which can become airborne or collect on dust particles we inhale) and other harmful chemicals. Flame retardant chemicals have even be measured in tree bark. Research shows the highest levels are found in densely populated areas, such as Toronto, Canada, but high levels are still found even in remote regions of Indonesia and Nepal. Stain-resistant carpets use the chemical perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOAshown to be completely resistant to biodegradation) to repel stains, which has been linked to a range of health problems, including cancer and thyroid issues.

Carpet is also often made with synthetic materials that increase the carbon footprint of the home. Hemp rugs provide a safe, natural alternative to synthetic carpeting. Hemp has a low carbon footprint as the plant converts C02 into oxygen better than treeshemp1__armadilloco. If you’re in the market for a new carpet, opt for untreated, natural materials such as hemp, sisal or wool. To keep your rug in place, wool or natural latex backing are two non-toxic, fire-resistant options. Meticulously hand-crafted, sustainable hemp area rugs are available worldwide from companies like Armadillo & Co. According to the company, their rugs are produced to the highest ethical standards, embrace fair trade practices and benefit local schools in the weavers’ villages. The company aims for its rugs to lie lightly on the earth”.

It’s always nice to breathe in fresh air from natural environments. In the US in 1989, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) studied house-plants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common VOC’s. Lucky for us the plants can also help clean indoor air on earth, which in some areas is far more polluted than outdoor air. Other studies have since been published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science, further proving the science.


“Ozone, the main component of air pollution, or smog is most often associated with outdoor air but it also infiltrates indoor environments like homes and offices and with people in industrialised countries spending as much as 80-90% of their time indoors, eliminating ozone is a health priority. University researchers studied the effects of three common house-plants on reducing ozone concentrations in a simulated indoor environment and found positive results”.


So, why not bring a little bit of nature back into your home? If you’re a casual cannabis grower, keep a plant or two near a south-facing window to help clean the air in your home. To further protect yourself, keep a cannabis plant in the kitchen and use fan leaves and small buds in dishes like you would use basil or other culinary herbs. If you’d rather save cannabis for your vaporiser or making medibles’, spruce up your house with some other plants. The recommendation of NASA is to use 15-18 good-sized house-plants in 203 mm (6-8 inch) diameter containers in a 170 m2 (1,800-square-foot ) house to detoxify your environment and give you a decent amount of fresh, clean oxygen.



Skin care is another big area of concern as far too many skin and personal care products found in supermarkets and elsewhere contain phthalates4 (endocrine disruptors), among other toxins. Phthalates are chemicals that act like hormones in the body and are linked to triggering death-inducing signalling in testicular cells, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm and birth defects in the male reproductive system. Studies have also linked phthalates to obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2 and thyroid irregularities.


How to avoid phthalates in skin care? Read the labels and avoid products that list “fragrance” or “perfume” as these terms usually mean hidden phthalates. Avoid shampoos and skin care products with long lists of synthetic ingredients and find phthalate-free personal care products with the help of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep online database. Most of all, choose organic hemp or (where it is legal) cannabis (cannabis skin care/topicals). There arehemphempbodylotion several great skin care lines that contain hemp seed oil. Not only is hemp nutritious for your skin, but it is filled with antioxidants that protect your DNA from environmental damage. If you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, there are quite a few great choices, including;


Expanded from 5 Super Easy Ways Hemp Will Detoxify Your Home10 toxic items in your home that might surprise youFlame retardants in your home can harm youHealth and the environment: A compilation of evidence, Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement and Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors

1. Flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s have been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe – even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones and disrupt their activity which can lead to lower IQ’s, among other significant health effects. Several kinds of PBDE’s have now been phased out, but they are incredibly persistent, so they’re going to be contaminating people and wildlife for decades to come. In 1999, Swedish scientists studying women’s breast milk discovered it contained an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in flame retardants and the levels had been doubling every five years since 1972!

2. Formaldehyde (a volatile organic compound, VOC) is found in almost all areas of the home. Sources include foam insulation, resin in particle board, plywood, carpets and upholstery fabrics. Formaldehyde behaves as a common odourant at low concentrations and as an eye, skin or airway irritant at higher concentrations. Higher levels can even cause throat spasms and a build-up of fluid in the lungs, leading to death. Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction. Although the short-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure are well known, less is known about its potential long-term health effects. Studies of workers with high exposure have shown an association to several cancers including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukaemia. The weight of evidence led the International Agency for Research on Cancer to classify formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.

3. Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) is the collective term for vapour-phase, carbon-based chemicals. Hundreds of VOC’s have been identified from sources which include paints, solvents, pesticides, building construction materials and office equipment. VOC’s are known irritants of the respiratory system and can trigger inflammation and episodes of bronchial obstruction in susceptible individuals.

4. Phthalates are the group of chemicals in plastics that make them flexible and unfortunately, they’re everywhere, but you can limit your exposure by avoiding reusable plastic bottles, supermarket food wrapped in cling wrap and by transferring food from plastic takeaway containers to glassware when reheating (or avoiding takeaways altogether).

Why You Should Be Using Hemp – Flour, Oil and Seed


A quick nutritional summary of hemp:

  • Complete protein

  • All essential amino acids

  • 100% vegan

  • Dairy-free

  • Gluten-free

  • Easy to digest

  • High in healthy omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids

Hemp seeds are nutritionally rich, one of the most nutritious foods in the world, consisting of over 40% fat, over 30% protein and more than 10% carbohydrates. They are high in dietary fibre and contain iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium and phosphorous in appreciable quantities. Three tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds (hemp ‘hearts’) can provide nearly half the daily value of magnesium and phosphorous. They are rich in vitamin E and D, with vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6 represented as well. They are also an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) and an exceptionally rich source of the two essential fatty acids (EFA’s), linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Dietary PUFA have been gaining great interest in recent years as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents.


An imbalance in the omega-3/6 ratio is a leading cause of disease today (as shown above). Most people don’t consume enough omega-3’s, but that’s not because naturally occurring omega-6’s are bad for you. The problem is relying too heavily on processed and fast foods made with commercial vegetable oils, high in omega-6’s. If everyone only ate fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds no one would ever have an omega-3/6 ratio out of whack and it wouldn’t be an issue! Boost natural omega-3 intake, limit vegetable oil consumption and enhance omega-6’s with GLA-rich foods like hemp seeds!


The hemp seed ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is around 3:1, deemed optimal for human health. PUFA’s naturally suppress appetite which can have weight loss benefits. Eating 3-4 tablespoons of hemp seeds with breakfast is known to curb hunger pangs throughout the day and help increase the metabolic rate too. The high nutrient content of hemp makes it a perfect ally in the fight against the craving for unhealthy sweets. Hemp seed food products offer a healthy dose of dietary fibre, which helps regulate blood glucose. When you keep your glucose levels steady, you’re much less likely to experience energy crashes and aren’t as likely to crave sugar to fill the void. The soluble and insoluble fibre accelerates the movement of food through the digestive tract and helps clean the colon of toxins. Fibre that passes into the large intestine undigested feeds the microbes there and healthy intestinal flora is associated with not only digestive health but also good immune function.


Of the 20 amino acids required to form the hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules synthesised in the human body, the essential amino acids must be obtained from food. Hemp seeds contain the essential amino acids; eight amino acids the human body cannot make and two more the body cannot make in sufficient quantity. Animal proteins are called complete because they contain all amino acids in the right proportions but plant proteins usually lack one or more. Hemp happens to be one of few plant sources of complete protein, i.e., containing all the essential amino acids.

amino2b2Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, whole or decorticated (shelled). When decorticated, hemp seeds make a great substitute for pine nuts in pesto and other sauces, or lightly toasted instead of other nuts. By cold pressing you can extract an oil that is rich in PUFA’s. If taken regularly, 2 teaspoons to 3-4 tablespoons of oil a day helps in lowering excessive levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, along with triglycerides (the major form of fat stored by the body). The majority of the body’s cholesterol is LDL, known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol because having high levels can result in heart disease and stroke. It is always good to use hemp oil raw, not to affect its natural properties. 


Nutritionists recommend adding two teaspoons of hemp seed protein to a morning smoothie as a way to naturally encourage lower blood pressure, improve triglycerides, lower levels of LDL cholesterol and raise High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the ‘good’ cholesterol). Laboratory studies have shown hemp seed protein can decrease blood pressure, lower the possibility of blood clot formation and help heart health and recovery after a heart attack or cardiac episode. Hemp seed protein is an excellent source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), both of which have been related to decreased risk of heart disease. 


Mature hemp plants with harvest-ready seeds

GLA is found in various plant seed oils alongside hemp, including borage and evening primrose oil and is used for conditions that affect the skin including systemic sclerosis, psoriasis and eczema. It is also used for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), high cholesterol and other blood fats, heart disease, metabolic syndrome (Syndrome-X), diabetic nerve pain, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, depression after childbirth, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Some people use it to prevent cancer and to help breast cancer patients respond faster to treatment with the pharmaceutical tamoxifen.

Researchers are providing evidence that many people with cancer, diabetes and skin allergies do not make enough GLA and could benefit from supplementation. In addition to helping cancer pharmaceuticals work better, studies have shown that GLA can slow or stop cancer. A Google Scholar search, gamma linolenic acid prevents cancer, returns 11,200 results (2012-2016). GLA and GLA-rich foods like hemp seeds have also been observed to help people with:


Hemp protein powder. The green colour is from the natural chlorophyll found in plants that provides the body with alkaline protection against inflammation

When comparing the amino acid profile with other protein sources, hemp protein is fairly high in tyrosine, arginine (greater than other plant sources), aspartic acid and alanine (higher than other sources). Complete protein sources are very difficult to find in the plant kingdom but hemp is not unique in having all the essential amino acids in its embryonic seed. Flax seed also contains all the essential amino acids as do many others in the plant kingdom. What is unique about hemp seed protein is that 65% of it is globulin edestin and 33% albumin; the highest in the plant kingdom.

Globulins are one of seven classes of simple proteins and edestins, found in seeds, are plant globulins. Globulins along with albumins are classified as globular proteins. All enzymes, antibodies, many hormones and haemoglobin (among others) are globular proteins which carry out the main work of living. Albumin and globulin are two of three major types of plasma proteins. Plasma is the fluid portion of blood that supplies nutrients to tissues. Plasma proteins serve as a reservoir of rapidly available amino acids should any body tissues be in need.


The best way to ensure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edestin, and 33% albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seed gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health and provide the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. 

The human diet should be a whole food one and hemp food derivatives can help prevent nutritional deficiencies. The addition of hemp flour (rich in protein and fibre) in dough helps lower the glycaemic index (GI) of food prepared. Vegans use hemp seeds and flour for their protein intake. Hemp flour is naturally gluten-free and highly digestible, so people with gluten intolerance and other food sensitivities can safely ingest hemp. Added to other flours for coeliacs, hemp flour enriches them with nutrients while improving the flavour.


Hemp bread made from flour which is de-fatted raw hemp seed, milled and sifted.

Considered a ‘wholesome-food’ on account of containing all three macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and unsaturated fats) and several micro-nutrients (an element or substance required in trace amounts for normal growth and development of living organisms) in favourable proportions, hemp seeds have the potential to combat nutritional deficiencies in deprived communities. Unless there are special nutritional needs, however, the one precaution with hemp seeds being rich in calories should be to consume them sparingly, from 10-30 grams a day. Add 10-20% hemp seed flour to any other flour, to make bread, pizza or pasta, adding extra nutrients and enriching the fibre content of the food. 


As a cosmetic product, hemp seed oil is an excellent moisturiser and is often included in lip balms, lotions and soaps. Hemp seed oil is known to penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cell growth; the recipe for smooth, soft skin. A few drops rubbed into the skin helps combat ageing, giving skin elasticity and preventing stretch marks. Pregnant women should rub it on their abdomen one to two times a day in addition to ingesting 2-4 teaspoons per day, alone or as a condiment. Hemp seed benefits for skin and hair go a long way to improving dry, red, flaking skin.


Hemp seed oil is also good for your hair, just rub it on and leave for 15-20 minutes before you shampoo (once a week). Hemp seed flour can also be used as a facial scrub; it cleans the skin, nourishes it and has a soothing action. Just mix hemp seed flour with a little honey, some Aloe Vera gel and a few drops of lavender essential oil for normal skin, a few drops of lemon essential oil for oily skin and a few drops of hemp seed oil for dry skin. Since hemp seed oil is good for skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, it is a good idea to eat at least a couple of tablespoons of hemp seed every day to maximise these benefits.

hh_superfood_lIn hemp foods there is negligible to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or about the same amount as opiates in poppy seeds! The neuro-active principle cannabinoid is present in significant quantities only in the female inflorescences (flowers) of certain strains of the Cannabis sativa L., plant, not in hemp cultivars, used for industrial and food purposes. However it is good to note that even cannabis with a very high THC content is non-toxic; water is more dangerous! Drinking seven to ten litres of water in a short time causes death. Cannabis has no official lethal dose (LD-50 is the rating which indicates dose necessary to kill 50% of test animals “as a result of drug-induced toxicity”) as it cannot kill, it is not physiologically possible (unless a very large bale of it falls on you)! Not convinced? According to the US National Cancer Institute in 2011, 

“Because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur”. 

The hemp food sector is growing worldwide and the growth is evident, considering this kind of food, after having been used by man for thousands of years, had become almost unobtainable because of an unjustified prohibition that still terrorises people around the world. However, future prospects are excellent and not just for the food market growth. This plant provides ecological derivatives that can replace thousands of highly polluting products. Producing hemp also helps purify the soil and the air.

Phytoremediation or decontamination of soil using hemp in Chernobyl

There is still much work to do, to continue to break down prejudices. It is necessary to give greater visibility to this inhumanely demonised plant and its seemingly unlimited derivatives. The re-evaluation of hemp is leading to an increase in its use in food, bio-construction, bio-fuels, production of plastics, textiles, wood substitutes and medicines with considerable benefits to health, ecology and economy.


Adapted from Hemp Food Perfect For Our Metabolism Says NutritionistA Dietitians Perspective On Cannabis9 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Hemp SeedsHemp Seed Nutrition, Hemp Seed – Most Nutritious Complete Food Source, Hemp Seed Benefits and Nutrition Profile, Hemp Protein Powder: The Perfect Plant-Based ProteinGranny Storm Crows List – 2016Gamma Linolenic Acid 


Hemp Seed – Most Nutritious Complete Food Source

Cannabis sativa L. has been an important source of food, fibre and medicine for thousands of years. Seed of the plant grown for human consumption, hemp seed, contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) necessary to maintain healthy human life. With over 30% oil and about 25% protein, substantial amounts of minerals, dietary fibre and vitamins, no other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form. Our body needs amino acids in ample quantity so they can make proteins such as the globulins. Adequate amounts of the right kinds may not be available to the body most of the time through a regular diet. So even though your body may have enough essential amino acids available to avoid onset of nutritive deficiency diseases, it may not have enough to produce immunoglobulins compulsory for the immune system to combat infection.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD), includes conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke and kills one Australian every 12 minutes. One of Australia’s largest health problems and one of the biggest burdens on the economy, there were 159,052 deaths in Australia in 2015 (81,330 male and 77,722 female) and the leading cause of death was heart disease. Cancer accounted for 46,003 or nearly 29% of all deaths in Australia in 2015. In 2016, it is estimated 130,466 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (72,048 males and 58,418 females). Researchers believe cancers erupt when the immune system response is weakened. Pioneers in the fields of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe CVD and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils that turn essential fatty acids into carcinogenic killers. And if this is not scary enough, more are succumbing to immune deficiency diseases than ever before. Sadly it is ignorance of human nutritional needs that will cause this overwhelming majority to die slowly from these afflictions – the greatest killers in affluent nations.


There are eight amino acids the human body cannot make and two more the body cannot make in sufficient quantity, so they are essential to life. A diet without any one of them will eventually cause disease and death. These essential amino acids, along with others the body makes from them, are chained together in accordance to genetic guidelines (via RNA formats from DNA blueprints) into structural proteins and enzymes (globular proteins) that give body to life and carry out the mechanics of living. Nearly three quarters of body solids are proteins. The body is literally constructed and maintained by an infinitely complex system that builds proteins from amino acid sub-units. Every amino acid consists of an amine (organic compound containing nitrogen) and a carboxyl (denoting the acid radical COOH, present in most organic acids) bound to the same carbon atom. All but the smallest amino acid have one, more or less complex, carbon containing side chain connected to the carbon atom shared by the amine and carboxyl groups.

1aminoacidThe amine group of one amino acid unites with the carboxyl group of another forming a peptide link. Proteins are made of amino acid peptide chains in specific sequences. The number of possible amino acid peptide combinations is infinite. Peptide chains can bend, twist and unite with other peptide chains by forming weak hydrogen bonds between nitrogen and oxygen atoms along the chain. Amino acids can also form bonds through side chain linkages. All three types of amino acid bonding methods contribute to the infinite possibility of protein shapes and reactivity potentials. Though each species builds proteins unique to itself, life can tailor new ones if challenged by the pressures of existence.

When comparing the amino acid profile with other protein sources, hemp protein is fairly high in tyrosine and arginine (greater than other plant sources) and high in aspartic acid and alanine (higher than other sources). Hemp is known as a complete plant based protein source because it provides the essential amino acids. Complete protein sources are very difficult to find in the plant kingdom, as plants often do not have the amino acid lysine. Hemp is not unique in having all the essential amino acids in its embryonic seed. Flax seed also contains all the essential amino acids as do many others in the plant kingdom. What is unique about hemp seed protein is that 65% of it is globulin edestin and 33% albumin; the highest in the plant kingdom. 


Globulins are one of seven classes of simple proteins. Simple proteins are constructed from amino acids and contain no non-protein substances. Globulins are in seeds and animal blood. Edestins are in seeds and are plant globulins. Globulins along with albumins are classified as globular proteins. All enzymes, antibodies, many hormones and haemoglobin (among others) are globular proteins which carry out the main work of living. Albumin and globulin are two of three major types of plasma proteins. Plasma is the fluid portion of blood that supplies nutrients to tissues. Plasma proteins serve as a reservoir of rapidly available amino acids should any body tissues be in need.

Plant seeds contain albumin and globulin. Albumin is the nutritive material that fills the space in the seed between the embryo and the seed coat. The embryo needs albumin to fuel its initial growth until photosynthesis begins. Globulin edestins within the embryo guarantee this new life has the enzymes necessary for metabolic activity. Globulin is the third most abundant protein in the human body. Globulins perform many enzymatic (causing reactions to take place) functions within the plasma itself. More importantly, they are responsible for the natural and acquired immunity a person has against invading organisms. The body uses globulin proteins to make antibodies which attack infecting agents (antigens) that invade the body. Globulins like gamma-globulin are absolutely essential to maintain a healthy immune system. They neutralise alien micro-organisms and toxins.

hemp-seed-close-upDuring digestion proteins in food are broken down into amino acids. The amino acids are then taken into the body and reassembled into human proteins according to need and the availability of the amino acids necessary to make specific proteins. The body needs the necessary kinds of amino acids in sufficient quantity in order to make proteins such as the globulins. Proper quantities of the right kinds may not be available to the body much of the time. So even though the body has enough essential amino acids available to prevent deficiency diseases, it may not have enough to build quantities of immunoglobulins necessary for the immune system to repel infection.

The best way to ensure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edestin, and 33% albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seed gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health and provide the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. Eating hemp seed could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. For example, in 1955 it was proven hemp seed could treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis (Czechoslovakia Tubercular Nutritional Study), a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.

Globulin AntibodyAntibodies are globulin proteins programmed to destroy antigens (any substance eliciting a response from lymphocytes: bacteria, viruses, toxins, living and dead tissue, internal debris, etc). Circulating in blood plasma like mines floating in a harbour, antibodies await contact with the enemy, then initiate a cascade of corrosive enzymes that bore holes in the antigen surface causing it to break apart. Antibodies are custom designed to neutralise or disintegrate one specific type of antigen.

White blood cells called B cell lymphocytes seek out and lock-on to antigenic proteins or sugars on the invader’s surface. The B cell then uses that lock and key pattern to make antibodies tailored to that antigen only. It will also make clones of itself called plasma cells. Most of the clones begin producing antibodies for that antigen. Others become memory cells which may spend years wandering through the bloodstream looking for that specific antigen. If the body is exposed to it again the memory cells lock-on to one and it begins producing plasma cell clones and a flood of antibodies that wipe out the invader. One lymphocyte can divide into hundreds of plasma cells in a few days. A mature plasma cell can make about 2,000 antibodies every second for the few days it lives. This is how the body acquires immunity. 

The body’s ability to resist and recover from illness depends upon how rapidly it can produce massive amounts of antibodies to fend off the initial attack. If the globulin protein starting material is in short supply the army of antibodies may be too small to prevent the symptoms of sickness from setting in. Hemp seed is the premier seed provider of globulin starting material, the highest in the plant kingdom. Eating hemp seed will ensure the immune system has the reservoir of immunoglobulin resources needed to make disease destroying antibodies.

Hemp Seed Nutrition Facts

(approximate serving size 30 grams)

170 calories per serving (130 calories from fat)


% of Daily Value*

Total fat

14 g


Saturated fat

1 g


Trans fat

0 g


Polyunsaturated fat

11 g


Monounsaturated fat

2 g



0 g



0 g


Total Carbohydrate

2 g


Dietary Fibre

1 g



<1 g



10 g














*Percent Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Almost 25% of calories in hemp seed comes from protein, which is relatively high. Based on weight, hemp seed provides protein almost equal to beef and lamb with 20-30 g of hemp seed providing around 10-11 g of protein. 

Vitamins and Minerals (phytonutrients) per 100 g Hemp Seed

  • Calcium (145 mg)

  • Copper (2 mg)

  • Iron (14 mg)

  • Magnesium (483 mg)

  • Manganese and Zinc (7 mg each)

  • Phosphorus (1160 mg)

  • Potassium (859 mg)

  • Riboflavin (0.1 mg)

  • Thiamine (0.4 mg)

  • Vitamin A (3800 IU mg)

  • Vitamin B2 (0.11 mg)

  • Vitamin B3 (2.8 mg)

  • Vitamin B6 (0.12 mg)

  • Vitamin D3 (2277 IU mg)

  • Vitamin E (90 mg)


Hemp Seed Fatty Acid Composition

  • 65% Linoleic acid – Omega-6

  • 22% Alpha-linolenic acid – Omega-3

  • 9% Oleic acid

  • 4% Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA)

  • 2% Stearic acid

  • 2% of an Omega-3 fatty acid

  • Stearidonic acid

  • 5% Palmitic acid

Omega-3 and Omega-6 relative amount appears to be 3:1

Therapeutic benefits of hemp seed include (but not limited to);

Cancer – According to the American Cancer Society, many people with cancer do not make enough GLA (Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolite of linoleic acid) and could benefit from supplementation. In addition to helping cancer drugs work better, studies have actually shown GLA can slow or stop cancer as a standalone treatment. Hemp seed’s perfect fatty-acid profile of Omega-3 fats and GLA helps naturally balance inflammation levels and strengthen the immune system.

Cardiac (Heart) health – 3:1 balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids promotes cardiovascular health. Key ingredients in building a healthy heart include fibre, plant-based protein, healthy fats and less sugar. Hemp seed has all these and consumption may alleviate the risk and threat of heart disease through various mechanisms such as:

  • Nitric oxide is a gaseous substance that makes blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered levels of blood pressure and lowered risk of heart disease. Hemp seed consists of high amounts of the amino acid arginine which aids production of nitric oxide in the body. 
  • In a large group study comprising more than thirteen thousand people, increased arginine intake was allied with reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). C-reactive protein is an inflammatory marker associated with heart disease.
  • The GLA readily present in hemp protein has been associated with decreased inflammation of heart vessels which may reduce the risk, severity and onset of heart disease and cardiac disorders (including stroke).

Nutritionists recommend adding about two teaspoons of hemp seed protein to a morning smoothie as a way to naturally encourage lower blood pressure, improve triglycerides (the major form of fat stored by the body), lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad) and raise HDL cholesterol (good). Laboratory studies have shown hemp seed protein can decrease blood pressure, lower the possibility of blood clot formation and help heart health and recovery after a heart attack or cardiac episode. Hemp seed protein is an excellent source of arginine and GLA, both of which have been related to decreased risk of heart disease.


Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy – Hemp seed may decrease spikes in blood sugar. 

Digestive Health – High in insoluble (80%) and soluble (20%) fibre, hemp seed provides more than enough bulk to keep your gastrointestinal system regular. Additionally, this healthy mixture of roughage feeds probiotics (beneficial micro-organisms found in the human gut) and helps secure a more robust immune system. Fibre is a vital part of the diet and is associated with better digestive health. Whole hemp seed is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre and an indispensable source of nutrients for friendly digestive bacteria. 


Hormonal – GLA, an essential Omega-6 fatty acid, naturally balances hormones. Research in the 1980’s observed hormone-like substances called prostaglandins play a key role in helping the body function smoothly. It was discovered prostaglandins help smooth muscles contract, control inflammation and body temperature and are vital to other body functions. Hemp seed GLA is known to be a necessary building block for some prostaglandins and researchers have surmised GLA supplementation is necessary for proper hormone health, which is probably why the up to 80% of women worldwide who suffer  from psychological and physical symptoms brought about by premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have been helped by it. These symptoms are very likely manifestations of sensitivity to the hormone prolactin. GLA, present in hemp protein, produces prostaglandin E1, which alleviates the effects of prolactin and may also reduce symptoms associated with menopause. 

Obesity – Hemp is known as a natural appetite suppressant and can help you feel full for longer. Health professionals recommend adding hemp seed to breakfast to help curb hunger throughout the day. Rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, hemp naturally cleanses the colon and reduces sugar cravings. 

Rheumatoid arthritis – A six-month study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found consuming the stand alone GLA found in hemp seed reduces arthritis symptoms by 25% compared to placebo at 4%.  This, along with the fact hemp seed has an ideal ratio of Omega-3/6 fats along with other minerals, helps naturally reduce inflammation. Health professionals recommend a tablespoon of hemp seed oil daily. 

Hair/Nails/Skin – Hemp seed benefits skin and hair, going a long way to improving dry, red, flaking skin. Eating a couple of tablespoons of hemp seed daily maximises benefits for skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. Oil from the hemp seed is known to penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cell growth; the recipe for smooth, soft skin is to use a home-made skin cream combining hemp seed oil, shea butter and essential oils like lavender or rosemary. Medical research has shown hemp seed protein helps improve blood concentration levels of essential fatty acids in eczema sufferers and provide relief from itchiness, irritation, improve dry skin and reduce the need for pharmaceuticals.

GLA and GLA-rich foods like hemp seed have also been observed to help people with ADHD, hypertension (high blood pressure) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).



Expanded from HEMP SEED: THE MOST NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE FOOD SOURCE IN THE WORLD, with Heart disease in Australia, Hemp Protein: The Ultimate Guide, Causes of Death Australia 2015, Truth About HempSurvey of minor fatty acids in Cannabis sativa L. fruits of various origins, Hemp Seed Benefits and Nutrition Profile

Hemp Production Around The World


Hemp is a powerhouse of sustainable solutions with a track record of success globally. The Hemp Business Journal calculated United States (US) sales of hemp products in 2015 to be 25% greater than their 2014 total of $400 million (the Hemp Industry Association [HIA] estimated US hemp product sales in 2014 at $620 million). Thirty-six countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and North America permit hemp production.

China: Hemp Powerhouse

Wild hemp in China near a river.Unlike the US and many other countries in the twentieth century, China never banned the production of hemp despite strictly prohibiting the psychoactive forms of Cannabis sativa. Hemp has been part of Chinese culture for thousands of years and as a result, they have discovered its countless uses and benefits, securing over half of the 606 hemp patents recorded by the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation in 2014. It is not surprising the world’s most populous country and second largest economy is also the largest producer of hemp in the world, accounting for half of global production.

China is the largest supplier of raw and processed hemp fibre for the US, which imported US$36.9 million worth of hemp in 2013. In the first eleven months of 2013, China exported hemp yarn worth US$11.9 million, increasing sales by 145.2% from the previous year. Chinese companies in the Cannabis industry have in recent years achieved “sales revenue [of] about six or seven times the value of their fixed assets”. US Congress should reflect on how they are limiting American research and development for hemp products, which gives the US’ main economic competitor an advantage.


Hemp Farm in China (with many more in the background)

India: Old Hemp History and New Hemp Industry

iStock_000056282140_LargeIndia, the world’s second most populous nation with the sixth largest economy, is another Asian country with a long history of hemp use. An ancient Hindu text even calls Cannabis sativa, “sacred grass”. Unlike China, modern India banned hemp cultivation until 1985. Hemp production was federally permitted, though individual states controlled the licences and refused to issue them. Consequently, India’s hemp industry is only beginning to build momentum.


The Indian Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA) formed in 2011 to promote and support hemp industries. Uniting with national and international organisations in 2014, IIHA established the first Indian HEMP conference. At the end of 2015, the state of Uttarakhand became the first in India to legalise hemp production and the Ministry of Textiles sees this first step as a way for Indian farmers and industry to capitalise on the US$800 million global hemp market.

South Africa and Malawi: Hemp Permitting

South Africa was the first country on the continent to legalise hemp production, but it has yet to issue a commercial permit. While South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council has tested hemp varieties suited to the climate (from European cultivars) and labelled hemp as an “agricultural crop”, efforts to amend legislation are underway, meanwhile, all hemp must still be imported. The Department of Health controls the issuing of research permits, which involves applying to possess a ‘narcotic drug’. Thus there are no commercial farms yet in South Africa despite hemp having no psychoactive component. Sectors that have been identified as suitable for South Africa include:

  • Agri-fibres for car parts (dashboards, door panels etc.)
  • Eco-friendly paper
  • Natural cement, bricks and insulation for housing
  • Animal bedding
  • Nutrition from the essential fatty-acid rich seeds

First Hemp House constructed in South Africa

Job creation will be a natural spin-off from the introduction of this new industry. In essence, hemp could help alleviate three of South Africa’s most pressing issues:

  • Housing
  • Malnourishment
  • Job creation

The National Agri-fibre Initiative (NAFI) has been launched to boost the agri-fibre industry in South Africa and is making headway with regard to creating awareness and lobbying support for the fledgling industry. Hemporium, located in Cape Town, has been importing and developing hemp products in South Africa for around fifteen years. They collaborated with partners on three year hemp trials in Western Cape that proved very successful in showing cultivar behaviour and production. Similarly, Malawi permitted Invegrow to conduct research trials in November 2015; their vision for the future of hemp cultivation is, by December 2016, the Malawian government and Invegrow hope to begin commercial hemp production, a boon for the Malawian people and their economy. Since Malawi is predominantly agricultural based it stands to benefit considerably from hemp as a new cash crop by creating raw materials for export or value-added products. However, it is vital that a regional market is developed to bring hemp out of the ‘niche’ market and into the mainstream.


Hemp under cultivation in Malawi in 2016

In Malawi, the Dangerous Drugs Act does not distinguish between Cannabis (‘Indian hemp’ or ‘chamba’) and industrial hemp. Thus terminology proves to be a major challenge. However, the Act does in fact indicate products from Cannabis could be produced under a licence, such as with morphine and could be imported for consumers as food, for example. Since many other countries worldwide have amended their definitions, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, there are many examples to draw from. This legislative procedure will take time but in the meantime trials will be conducted to test THC levels, cultivars and markets. Trials started in 2015 with licences from the Ministry of Agriculture and Health with the project attracting interest from the highest office in the country, the Office of the President & Cabinet.

Chile and Uruguay: Hemp Havens

In Chile, hemp has been an important industrial plant since its introduction by the Spanish around 1545 and Chile leads South America in production. For several years, Chile has hosted the largest hemp trade fair in South America and the event is spreading to other countries adopting hemp legalisation.
Hemp has found such a place in Chilean culture that many are surprised to learn that ‘cañamo’ (hemp) and Cannabis are related plants. Many farmers wonder how a plant that can be made into so many useful products for living and working on the farm could turn out to be of the same species as Cannabis.

Chilean farmers recognise there are industrial hemp varieties and also there are Cannabis varieties and that they are as different as night and day. Chilean law still respects this difference and there have always been provisions allowing for legal cultivation of Cannabis as hemp. In present-day Chile there are very few hemp farms, but there is a concentrated effort preparing for a resurgence in hemp cultivation and new hemp industries are being developed. Many of the recent developments have been in response to the international demand for hemp products. Much of the work is centred around assuring the propagation of acceptable non-psychoactive varieties and new product research and development. Pristine natural climate, rich soils and long agricultural traditions make Chile a natural place for a resurgence in hemp cultivation.

In December of 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to “fully legalise the research and developlegal-cannabis-in-apotheek-uruguayment, as well as cultivation, distribution, sale and consumption of non-synthetic cannabinoids and hemp”. This historic move was primarily an effort to stop drug cartels, but also to benefit the country’s people and their economy; corporations have already been issued licences to grow industrial hemp. Uruguay has set a precedent for the world which should pay close attention to their experiment as it progressively unfolds.

Hemp is a globally traded commodity worth over US$1 billion and growers in Uruguay are preparing to cash in. The CEO of International Cannabis Corp., (one of only two licensed Uruguayan Cannabis producers) Guillermo Delmonte, said “Recreational Cannabis is regulated by the government and we sell what the government lets us sell. In the hemp market we can produce all we can to meet demand”.


Given how difficult the country’s industry roll-out has been and just weeks before selling its first ounce of Cannabis at pharmacies, International Cannabis is already betting hemp will be a much bigger market than selling the psychoactive plant, according to CEO, Guillermo Delmonte. The company plans to start cultivating hemp in September 2016. Meanwhile, national Cannabis sales should begin in Uruguay in a “matter of weeks” National Drugs Board chairman Juan Andrews Roballo said. The global market for hemp is set to grow beyond its current $1 billion as more countries legalise production. International Cannabis is already in advanced talks with five European and South American pharmaceutical and food companies to supply additives like hemp oil and hemp-based extracts for medical products, Delmonte said.


Europe: A Thriving Hemp Community

Germany hosted the world’s largest industrial hemp conference in June, the 13th International Conference of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). Growing participation reflects the growth of the hemp industry throughout the continent and the world. European hemp production for 2016 is estimated to top 60,000 acres, indicating a 300% increase over a 5 year span. Moreover, a German hemp production company became the first in the world to obtain an International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) for two of its hemp products and more are set to be accredited this year.


Balkan hemp harvest celebration (Slovenia)

The certification process involves rigorous ecological testing of the company’s supply chain, so this primary endorsement strongly reflects hemp’s status as a sustainable and environmentally friendly crop. In addition to Germany, hemp cultivation is prevalent throughout Europe, though it is most prominent in France, Romania and Hungary. Slovenia has been growing hemp for over a decade and many farmers and industry leaders there see hemp as the sustainable and profitable crop of the future. Hemp’s many uses and minimal resource requirements will help end dependence on fossil fuels in addition to replacing more expensive crops controlled by global seed corporations.


Hemp being harvested in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Australia: Hemp Legalisation Down Under
Similar to the US, Australia still maintains federal regulations on hemp production, even though individual states, starting with Victoria, began licensing farmers to grow it in 1998, but farmers are restricted to growing fibre and construction materials as politics has prevented them from access to booming worldwide hemp food markets. Other jurisdictions followed Victoria’s lead, however, including Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. The 2008 Hemp Industry Act permitted hemp cultivation in New South Wales. In 2014 Australian hemp producer Ecofibre said of the industry: “What we are producing presently is just low-level, low-value market material such as pet bedding, horse bedding, erosion control mediums, oil spill containment products, garden mulch – you know, basic things like that … there’s lots of products we could get to eventually, but … the industry isn’t at that stage yet. It’s hampered”.


Hemp fibreboard

In 2016, researchers at the School of Material Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales have been experimenting with using hemp fibre for auto parts since 2000. A team led by Alan Crosky has developed materials from hemp fibres that have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel. A statement from the school hails hemp fibre as a reinforcement and alternative to synthetic fibres such as glass. “The fibres are a renewable source, making natural fibre composites particularly attractive from an environmental standpoint” the statement says.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the Northern Territory, the Department of Industry is running its first test trial at Katherine Research Station. The trial is being supported by EcoFibre, which grows industrial hemp commercially in New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland. Senior research agronomist Dr Ian Biggs said three varieties of industrial hemp would be trialled over three separate plantings. The Northern Territory’s current legislation doesn’t allow for the commercial growing of industrial hemp, but special consideration has been made to allow for this trial. with permission gained from the Department of Health.  “The initial aim of the trial is to see if hemp will grow here” he said. “It has been trialled before in Mareeba (Queensland) and Kununurra (Western Australia). From reviewing literature and talking to people it seems hemp is very day-length sensitive, which is why it’s typically grown in more temperate areas. Once the day length starts to get too short it starts flowering. So we’re not sure how it will go in this latitude”.It’s expected that in the Katherine climate it will take 90 to 120 days for the grain varieties and around 150 days for the fibre variety to grow.

green-hemp-face-creamDespite allowing varying levels of hemp cultivation, hemp food products are still illegal in Australia (and New Zealand) for human consumption, even though every other industrial nation in the world has legalised hemp. The regulating body, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), has closed submissions on their latest proposal on low THC hemp seeds as food. Previously, based on misguided concerns by law enforcement that hemp consumption could somehow affect roadside saliva drug testing or would ‘send the wrong message’ about Cannabis consumption, human consumption has been repeatedly refused. Hopefully in 2016 the thousands of Australians who’ve been consuming hemp seeds for decades will be rewarded with a legal product and the industry will really take off!


Canada: North America’s Hemp Grower

Confident farmer checking hemp plants in the field during a sunny summer day, agriculture and herbal medicine concept

After commercially legalising hemp production in 1998, the Canadian hemp industry continues to expand. Hemp exports in the first four months of 2015 were worth $34 million compared to $12 million for all of 2011. As the largest exporter for hemp seed and oil-cake to the US, Canada has taken advantage of US hemp prohibition and capitalised on the increasing American demand for hemp and hemp products. The Canadian hemp industry was initially centred on hemp production for the food sector, but its focus has expanded to include hemp alternatives to fibreglass, textiles, green energy storage, insulation and construction (hempcrete). Canada’s Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) notably labels hemp as “the world’s premier renewable resource”. Canada prohibited hemp a year after the US did, but after lifting its 60-year ban, has economically benefited for almost two decades.


The United States: Rediscovering Hemp in 2016

On 23rd August the USDA announced it will allow certification of hemp crops grown in compliance with Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill. This is a positive first step by USDA as a result of pressure from NHA and others in the industry to recognise hemp as a legitimate crop. While this decision may be helpful for hemp farmers in states such as Kentucky, Tennessee and Oregon, it is unclear what effect it will have on Colorado farmers who are operating under a commercial permit issued by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. View the USDA hemp certification instructions at this link.

Hemp bricks

Hemp is a billion dollar industry with incredible growth projections. A certifiably sustainable crop that promotes environmental health as it boosts economies. The argument for hemp is easy to make when we honestly analyse its abundant economic, environmental and social benefits.

Here is a quick list of countries, aside from the above-mentioned, where it is legal to grow hemp.

  • Austria – has a hemp industry including production of hemp seed oil, medicinals and Hanf (hemp) magazine.
  • Denmark – planted its first modern hemp in 1997 and is committed to utilising organic methods.
  • Finland – had a resurgence of hemp (‘hampu’) beginning in 1995 with several small test plots.
  • France – harvested 10,000 tons in 1994. France is the main source of viable low THC hemp seed. The French word for hemp is ‘chanvre’.
  • Great Britain – lifted hemp prohibition in 1993. Animal bedding, paper and textiles have been developed. A government grant was given to develop new markets for natural fibres and 4,000 acres were grown in 1994. Subsidies are given by the government for growing.
  • Hungary – is rebuilding their hemp industry and is one of the biggest exporters of hemp cordage, rugs and hemp fabric to the US. They also export hemp seed and hemp paper. The Hungarian word for hemp is ‘kender’.
  • Japan – has a religious tradition which requires that the Emperor wear hemp garments, so there is a small plot maintained for the imperial family only. They continue to import for cloth and artistic applications.
  • Netherlands – conducting a four year study to evaluate and test hemp for paper and is developing processing equipment. Seed breeders are developing new strains of low THC varieties. The Dutch word for hemp is ‘hennep’.
  • Poland – currently grows hemp for fabric and cordage and manufactures hemp particle board. They have demonstrated the benefits of using hemp to cleanse soils contaminated by heavy metals. The Polish word for hemp is ‘konopij’.
  • Romania – is the largest commercial producer of hemp in Europe. Total acreage in 1993 was 40,000 acres. Some of it is exported to Hungary for processing. They also export to Western Europe and the US. The Romanian word for hemp is ‘cinepa’.
  • Russia – maintains the largest hemp germplasm collection in the world at the N.I. Vavilov Scientific Research Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) in Saint Petersburg. The Russian word for hemp is ‘konoplya’.
  • Spain – grows and exports hemp pulp for paper and produces rope and textiles. The Spanish word for hemp is ‘canamo’.
  • Switzerland – is a producer of hemp. The Swiss words for hemp are ‘hanf’, ‘chanvre’ or ‘canapa’ depending on whether you are in the French, German or Italian speaking area.
  • Egypt, Korea, Portugal, Thailand and the Ukraine also produce hemp.


Expanded from A Review of Successful Hemp Production Around the World with Countries Growing Hemp, Hemp History – ChileCultivating in Africa & MalawiUruguayan Cannabis Company Betting on HempFearing legal pot might not live up to the hype, Uruguay now looking at hempKatherine Rural Review – June 2016, Hemp, Flax Growing As Auto Plastics Building BlocksUSDA Approves Organic Certification for Hemp, Industrial Hemp – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and Countries Growing Hemp