Hemp, the non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis sativa plant, is already being integrated into several mature markets such as food, textiles, construction, personal care and nutraceuticals. This relatively quiet cannabis relative is emerging as a potential commodity ripe to not only impact, but possibly revolutionize, tech-driven markets and economies around the world.

It often takes 10 to 15 years for the industry associated with a new agricultural crop to mature. While it is true that foreign imports have been the basis for hemp products in North America for at least a decade, North American production is only 4 years of age in Canada, and farming of hemp in the US has not even begun. Viewed from this perspective, the hemp industry in North America is still very much in its infancy. Varieties of hemp specifically suited to given products and regions have only started to be developed in North America. There is considerable uncertainty regarding yields, costs of production, harvesting and processing equipment, product characteristics, foreign competition, governmental support, and the vagaries of the regulatory environment. Hemp is not presently a standard crop, and is likely to continue experiencing the risks inherent in a small niche market for some time. Hemp is currently a most uncertain crop, but has such a diversity of possible uses, is being promoted by extremely enthusiastic market developers, and attracts so much attention that it is likely to carve out a much larger share of the North American marketplace than its detractors are willing to concede.

For a fiber crop, hemp is cut in the early flowering stage or while pollen is being shed, well before seeds are set. Tall European cultivars (greater than 2 m) have mostly been grown in Canada to date, and most of these are photoperiodically adapted to mature late in the season (often too late). Small crops have been harvested with sickle-bar mowers and hay swathers, but plugging of equipment is a constant problem. Hemp fibers tend to wrap around combine belts, bearings, indeed any moving part, and have resulted in large costs of combine repairs (estimated at $10.00/ha). Slower operation of conventional combines has been recommended (0.6–2 ha/hour). Large crops may require European specialized equipment, but experience in North America with crops grown mainly for fiber is limited. The Dutch company HempFlax has developed or adapted several kinds of specialized harvesting equipment (Fig. 44, 45).


Reproduced with kind permission from the Australian Drug Foundation. References Australian Drug Foundation. Cannabis Facts. Last updated 25 Jan 2012. http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/cannabis (accessed Jan 2013). Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) Vision: Healthy People, Strong Communities. Mission: Working together to prevent alcohol and other drug problems in communities.Related ArticlesCannabis psychosisUse of cannabis can cause a condition called drug-induced psychosis. Cannabis useCannabis can affect your physical and mental health with heavy cannabis use potentially causing psycCannabis: tolerance and dependenceAfter prolonged use, cannabis is addictive and people using cannabis regularly develop dependence anCannabis: withdrawal and treatmentIf a dependent person stops taking cannabis, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis/marijuana: what are the effects?The effect of cannabis on a person depends on many factors including their size, weight and health aAdvertisement
There are ways to strain dangerous contaminants out of raw hemp paste. And most companies stand behind their quality and safety procedures. “We continuously test all our products ... to ensure our consumers get the levels of natural constituents they expect from the quality hemp stalk oil they purchase,” HempMedsPx states on its web site. “Additionally, all our products are tested for safety, to ensure there are no solvents, heavy metals, or other potentially harmful materials in our oil. Because we take these steps, we are always confident in our products, and you can be too.”

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