Hemp, as a plant, can be used to produce textiles, organic compost, fuel, and even food. The main processes of the hemp seed are sieving, grading, and dehulling or removal of the shell that covers the seeds. For these processes to happen, hemp farmers will need suitable processing equipment. These seeds can be used to create an oil with a by-product known as hemp cake or hemp meal. This by-product is used as a base substance for producing hemp protein powder. It is due to these by-products that the hemp industry is constantly growing globally.
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Will I get high? The differences between hemp and marijuana
Hemp is usually associated (and confused) with marijuana. Though they are both considered cannabis plants, their difference lies in their chemical content. These chemicals are known as CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and they are both found in marijuana and hemp. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana; the one that gives the person a feeling of getting “high”. In its turn, CBD works with other elements in the body linked to feelings of well-being.
Hemp contains 0.3 percent or less THC and contains more CBD compared to marijuana. Since the THC level of hemp is low, it’s unlikely that a person can get high. The FDA has already approved a CBD-based drug called Elpidiolex, which is a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy. There are many other clinical trials involving CBD in search for other possible treatments and hemp products. However, CBD comes from the hemp plant and sometimes the bast fibers which requires decortication from the hemp stalk. Having said that, the seeds have incredible health benefits as well.
For people and for things: products that can be made from hemp seed
Hemp seed as food are sprinkled in salads or blended with fruit smoothies. The seed contains about 30% oil, and you need to cold-press them to get it. The oil can be used as a paint for finishing furniture and wooden floors, and can even be applied to leather. It can also be used as fuel such as biodiesel through transesterification process. This Industrial hemp seed processing involves mixing hemp seed oil with methanol and a catalyst. Then you heat the mixture and stir it in a tank until a chemical reaction occurs and the impurities are removed by distillation. This requires specialised hemp seed processing equipment.
Hemp oil is also used in medicine. It contain healthy fats like omega 3 and 6, which reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and can improve heart health. Hemp oil also helps with the negative symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), due to the presence of gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
License to produce hemp – how regulations work
On a legal basis, hemp is classified as cannabis with 0.3% or less THC content. If the THC content exceeds of hemp 0.3%, it is considered marijuana, which is still illegal in most countries. In some of them, though, hemp harvesting is a regulated crop. This is the case of China and France, for instance, and means that producing hemp is unlawful without a production license. Some products that use hemp are building materials such as varnishes and insulation for walls. This requires fiber processing of the plants materials and not necessarily the seeds. Recently, in the automotive industry, some bioplastic materials that contain hemp are used. Some examples are car door interiors and glove boxes. This involves different equipment to process hemp when compared to the seed processing equipment. However, they all derive from the seed, which are obviously vital to the whole growing hemp procedure.