Hemp is a versatile plant of the Cannabaceae family, cultivated for its bast fiber or edible seeds. It is sometimes confused with cannabis plants that are used to produce marijuana and hashish, but hemp contains only small amounts of THC compared to those plants. The hemp plant is an aromatic and upright annual herb, with thin rod-shaped stems that are hollow except at the tip and base. Its leaves are compound with a palmeate shape, and its flowers are small and greenish-yellow in color.
Hemp has been cultivated for fiber since 2800 BC in China, and it spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. It is grown in temperate zones as an annual crop from seed, and it can reach a height of up to 5 meters (16 feet).Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including ropes, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. Hemp fibers are obtained by subjecting the stems to a series of operations including annealing, drying and grinding. The fibers are usually yellowish, greenish or dark brown or gray and rarely dyed due to their light-resistant properties.
Hemp fiber is strong and durable and is used for twine, for example. Some specially processed hemp has an off-white color and an attractive sheen and is used to make linen-like fabrics for garments. Hemp can also be used as an alternative to wood pulp in some cases; it is often used in paper making and is a sustainable alternative to fiberglass insulation in buildings. Hemp seeds do not contain phytic acid, so the body absorbs all of the vitamins and minerals it obtains from hemp. Shelled hemp seeds are sold as a health food and can be eaten raw; they are usually sprinkled in salads or mixed with fruit smoothies.
Hemp oil-based paint does not damage the environment or cause toxic fumes when used. Hemp was first produced in Chile in South America in the 1500s and was first cultivated in North America during the 1600s. The lipid fractions of hemp seed (Cannabis sativa) relieve fatty liver disease induced by the high-fat diet by regulating inflammation and improving Propionibacterium acnes induced lipogenesis in sebocytes. Hempcrete is a composite material made of hemp and a lime binder that can be used similarly to traditional concrete in no-load applications. Hemp is an herb with a threshold limit of 0.3% THC that does not give it any of the psychoactive qualities of marijuana. Different parts of the plant offer different uses; for example, hemp fibers can be used to make textiles or bioplastics, while hemp seeds can be eaten raw or used to make oil-based paint.