What is Hemp and What Does it Mean?

Hemp is a hard and thick fiber derived from the cannabis plant which is used to make ropes, thread, and cloth. Learn more about what hemp means and its various uses.

What is Hemp and What Does it Mean?

Hemp is a hard and thick fiber derived from the cannabis plant, which is used to make ropes, thread, and cloth. It is also known as industrial hemp, and it belongs to the botanical class of Cannabis sativa cultivars. Hemp can be used to manufacture a wide range of products, such as paper, ropes, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. Along with bamboo, hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth and was one of the first plants to be converted into usable fiber 50,000 years ago. Hemp is sometimes confused with cannabis plants that serve as sources of the drug marijuana and hashish prepared for the drug.

However, the cannabis strain cultivated for hemp contains only small amounts of THC compared to that grown for the production of marijuana or hashish. Hemp is also not related to Manila hemp (abaca), which is a type of banana. Hemp has a porous material that allows air and moisture to penetrate without losing any thermal properties. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items and has traditionally been processed by hardening it with water before removing the fibers from the inner stem (a process known as scraping).In the United States, hemp cultivation is legally prohibited. However, during World War II, farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for string in order to replace Manila hemp which was previously obtained in areas controlled by the Japanese. Hemp is grown in temperate areas as an annual plant grown from seed and can reach a height of up to 5 meters (16 feet).

Several arthropods can cause damage or injury to hemp plants but rarely affect its performance. The oil obtained from hemp seed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps and edible oils with a low smoke point. Hemp-based material was also used in one of the most technologically advanced structures completed nine years later. In Australia, state governments have issued licenses to grow hemp for industrial purposes. These laws against marijuana are some of the strictest in the world but exempt hemp growers whose harvest is used to make robes for Buddhist monks and loincloths for sumo wrestlers. The use of hemp as a fabric was mainly focused on the countryside with higher quality textiles available in cities. It was traditionally followed by frizz either by water (stained hemp floats in water) or by dew (hemp stays in the soil and is affected by the humidity of the dew and by the action of mold and bacteria).

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