Different Uses of Hemp Plant That We Don't Know
Farming industrial hemp means getting acquainted with the idea that hemp genetics and hemp end uses are as varied as the day is long. For example--did you know that CBD-rich industrial hemp genetics, fiber genetics, and seed genetics are all called Cannabis Sativa?
Let’s take a minute and look at some of the parts of the industrial hemp plant and its varied uses and planting styles.
Hemp that’s grown for fiber grows TALL. Some cultivars get as tall as 12 feet! The idea is that the hemp stalk will be about a half inch in diameter which will make a lot of hurd.
Hurd is the stuff in the center of the hemp stalk. It can be milled, pelletized, or ground into all kinds of products. Hemp hurd becomes concrete, stove pellets, even animal bedding! It’s really light in color and lightweight, but the fibers are incredibly strong and fire resistant which is why it’s a desirable media in so many industries!
There’s a skin of sorts on the outside of the hemp stalk. It’s a darker grey color after it has been properly retted (or allowed to lay in the field for a time after being cut). The skin is also known as bast, or bast fiber. The process to separate the bast fiber from the hurd is known as decortication. It is an incredibly specialized process that requires specific machinery.
The bast is the part of the hemp plant that can be woven into cloth. This product is desirable for use in making rope, fabric, and blending with other fibers to increase durability.
Hemp is also sometimes grown for its seeds, this is known as grain hemp. Grain hemp is most efficiently grown using cultivars that have been bred for dual-purpose growth, meaning the bottom two-thirds of the plant is harvest for bast and hurd, and the top third is harvested for grain.
Hemp grains are desirable as food because they are nutrient rich and replete with the ideal ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are necessary for a complete diet. They also have a variety of food uses in the diet!
Hemp seeds can be pressed to extract their oil. This oil can then be used for both culinary, cosmetic, and industrial purposes. The fibrous parts of hempseeds that remain after the oil is removed are desirable as a protein source. These can be turned into flour for cooking, protein powder, and many other things!
Hemp seeds may also be roasted or hulled for eating. Hemp seeds can also be turned into seed butter and milk.
Other industrial hemp cultivars have been bred to have high concentrations of specific cabannoids, and these are planted differently from genetics for fiber and grain.
While fiber and grain genetics are planted close together to discourage flowering and increase height, cannabinoid genetics are grown with lots of space between them, and they grow out rather than up because the cannabinoids are contained in the hemp flowers.
These kinds of hemp plants are turned into nutraceutical products and some folks even purchase dried flowers for smoking! They are also turned into CBD isolate and distillate which are used to produce CBD oil, lotion, salve, lip lube, edibles, and so much more.