The seeds, stems, and leaves of cannabis (hemp), one of the oldest plants used as raw materials in human history, are still used today; It has many uses as food, beverage, medicine, cosmetics, personal care, textile, paper, and building material. On the other hand, while scientific studies indicate that 1 acre of cellulose-rich cannabis production can produce pulp equivalent to 4 acres of trees, it is implied that hemp farming can be effective in protecting forests with this feature alone. So, do you want to know more about cannabis? Below are the all knowledge you need about cannabis.
Cannabis is a distinctive variety of the Cannabis sativa L. plant species that grows between 1.2 – 4.5 m heights. The plant consists of an inner layer called pith, which is surrounded by woody core fiber, often called the sap. Bast fibers form the outer layer. The primary bast fiber is attached to the core fibers by pectin, a glue-like substance. Primary fibers are used for textiles, cordage, and thin paper products. The wood-like core fiber is used for animal bedding, garden mulches, fuel, and various building materials. Industrial hemp contains less than 3% THC, while recreational cannabis can contain up to 20% THC.
Canada is a country that has legalized cannabis, with some restrictions. The maximum allowable THC concentration is 0.3% (EU 0.2%) and all cannabis farmers must pass a criminal record check and be licensed by Canada’s Health Authorities. Cannabis farmers note that it is an excellent rotation crop and can be used as a substitute for almost any harvest. It can be said that per acre, hemp farmers generate more income ($250-$300) than corn or soybeans ($100-$200).
A full plant of cannabis takes just 90 days to grow, which means it yields four times as much cellulose per acre. However, there are other types of trees that yield two to three times more yields than cannabis. Proponents of cannabis claim that it can be used in 25,000 different products, from clothing to food and toiletries. Until the nineteenth century, cannabis was used in 90% of the canvas sails, rigging, and nets of ships. Today, cannabis fiber replaces fiberglass in automotive components and is made into fabric for window coverings, shower curtains, and upholstery.
Other products made from hemp fibers include insulation, particleboard, fiberboard, string, twine, yarn, newsprint, cardboard, paper, equine bedding, and compost. The hemp bedding has been found to be superior to straw and other materials for horse stalls in reducing the odor of ammonia. Hemp seeds are used to make methanol and heating oil, salad oil, medicine, soap, paint, and ink.
Cannabis Knowledge: Active Ingredients of Cannabis
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoids found naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant, most commonly known as cannabis. Both of these substances interact with cannabinoid receptors found in the human body and brain but differ dramatically in their effects. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it is a substance that the user cannot take in high doses. Because of this property, CBD appears more often in dietary and natural supplements than THC.
THC is a substance directly related to recreational cannabis use. This compound works in part by mimicking the effects of anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glyceride). These neurotransmitters are produced naturally by the human body and help modulate sleep and eating habits, pain perception, and countless other bodily functions.
The effects of THC are Relaxation, Altered vision, senses of smell and hearing, Fatigue, Hunger, Reduced aggression. Research studies show that THC can help with: Side effects of chemotherapy, Multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Spinal injury: reducing chills, Nausea, Vomiting, Chronic pain, Inflammation, and Digestive health.
Cannabidiol is one of the most critical cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is found in both agricultural hemp and medical marijuana. The slight chemical difference between CBD and THC causes THC to have a psychoactive effect, while CBD is not psychoactive. This fact means that when you take CBD for medicinal purposes, you will experience relief from your unwanted ailments with little or no noticeable effect on your cognitive abilities.
Research studies show that CBD can help with Pain (neuropathic, chronic, cancer-related, etc.), Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, Inflammation, Acne, Dyskinesia, Psoriasis, and Broken bones.
Research shows that CBD may be better for inflammation and neuropathic pain, while THC may be excellent for spasticity and cramp-related pain. It’s worth noting that sometimes high doses of THC can worsen pain symptoms. So the THC consumed in this capacity should be made in small amounts. Additionally, many people have difficulty managing the side effects associated with THC, making the potential benefits redundant. Some experts suggest that the combination of THC and CBD is the ideal way to approach pain and validate something known as the entourage effect.
Cannabis Knowledge: Cannabis Seed and Fiber
As a new product, cannabis markets are constantly evolving. It is necessary to assume that the market for any new product can take 15-50 years to develop. Currently, the main cannabis markets are for cannabis (hemp) seeds. Hemp seeds are of commercial interest due to their high protein and excellent essential fatty acid profile. Hemp seeds can also enter the health food and nutraceutical industries, whether in oil production, flour/powder, or finished foods. There is also a growing market for cannabis oil in cosmetics and body care products.
A low-cost birdseed market is available. However, there is marked competition between overseas sources and alternatives to cannabis seeds. The potential for pet/veterinary markets is very promising. There is also potential for feeding cattle, poultry, and fish.
Cannabis awareness is growing because hemp is used in many quality products and contributes to the health of people, farms, and communities. Hemp (seed) markets include Health foods, Functional Foods, Nutraceuticals, Materials, Natural Body Care and Cosmetics, Bird Food, and Pet / Veterinary sectors.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has announced that six industrial cannabis seed varieties have passed the 2018 state THC validation and monitoring study and are now eligible to be grown by members of the Colorado Seed Growers Association for CDA Approved Certified Seed Production.
There is great interest in the uses of hemp fiber. However, fiber production opportunities are closely tied to very limited processing capabilities. Interesting emerging markets; textiles, composites, building materials, animal bedding, pulp, and paper products. Increasing costs of petroleum products, as well as wood and synthetic fiber alternatives, point to the future potential of hemp in a variety of industries and applications. Each plant consists of about 30% bast fiber, 60% scrap, and 10% straw. Fiber production involves unique challenges and processes.
Quality peeling is a demanding process, and research is ongoing into machinery and other methods to reduce the cost of this traditional mechanical process. Steam explosion, detergents, force methods, and ultrasound are other possible methods for peeling. The quality of the fiber split determines which markets it can enter. The main manufacturers of peeling lines are located in Europe.
Not all fibers are created equal. End-users need fibers that meet certain parameters to be usable. Examples include fiber length, cleanliness, and modulus. There are currently no uniform industry standards, so in practice, fiber standards have been developed between the processor and the end-user. Hemp bales are bulky. As a result of their size, the transport distance from the field to the processor is limited by the economy and can be economically transported a limited distance from the field and the factory. The collection, transportation, and storage of fiber can greatly affect fiber quality and the final yield in the plant.
As mentioned earlier, hemp has two types of fibers, bast, and core, which are used in very different applications. Generally speaking, the inner, wood-like inner fibers go to “low end” uses such as bedding and hemp concrete, while the outer fibers go to the tougher, better-paying, and demanding technical markets. An economic analysis of hemp industry fiber development is that both types of fiber must be produced and sold in parallel – so, the growth of low-end markets must keep pace with the development of high-end markets.
At current production levels, hemp fiber cannot compete economically with other waste fibers such as straw or wood to create certain products such as biofuels and fiberboard. Rather, hemp’s value will be recognized first in technical products that require specific fiber quality, such as replacing fiberglass in modern production. The best fiber quality comes from hemp, which has been produced as a special fiber and is not allowed to produce seeds. Dual-use cannabis crops containing both fiber and grain from the same crop can be an attractive scenario for hemp oilseed/grain producers, but it must be recognized that higher-end fiber markets may be closed to them.
Hemp fiber valuation can range from $50 to $500 depending on quality. One of the challenges of the modern cannabis industry is that, because of prohibition, hemp has been deprived of the time needed to develop the infrastructure to convert harvested raw material into usable raw material. Although cannabis has a reputation for being easy to grow, tall harvesting, high fiber-yielding varieties present challenges for some operators. The industrial infrastructure to process the fiber is yet to be established. However, there are facilities for processing the seed. While fiber cannabis has great potential, to date, hemp production has been compulsorily regulated on the seed side.
Cannabis Knowledge: Cannabis Production Process
- Strain Selection
There are a number of industrial hemp varieties that growers can choose from. Some of the characteristics that distinguish varieties are height, ripening time, seed size, oil content, oil composition, and fiber content. The goal is to determine which traits are more suitable and which variety has the best potential for this end-use. Varieties for the fiber market may contain 15% to 25% residual fibers, while varieties for the grain food market will have desirable oil profiles and content. As markets continue to evolve and variable definitions increase, a particular end-use contract can dictate which varieties will grow to meet the market’s requirements.
- Cultivation and Harvest
Cannabis is an annual plant grown from seed. It grows in a range of soils but tends to grow best in soils that produce high corn yields. The soil should be well-drained, rich in nitrogen, and not acidic. It is intolerant of poor soil drainage, salinity, and excessively wet growing conditions. Saturated soils cause stunting, yellowing and death, especially early in the season. Hemp prefers a temperate climate, humid atmosphere, and at least 64-76 cm of precipitation per year. Soil temperatures should be at least 5.5-7.7 °C before planting seeds.
In mid-August, the crop is ready to harvest high-quality fiber when the plants begin shedding pollen. Harvest for seed occurs after four to six weeks. The difference in maturation times of male and female cannabis plants causes difficulties in harvesting. Male cannabis reaches harvest maturity in about 100-110 days from planting shortly after flowering. In this cycle, the stems have the highest fiber quality. Seed maturation of female cannabis is 4-5 weeks later than the maturation of male plants.
While early harvesting causes low fiber yield containing perishable fiber, pooling of the harvested stems becomes difficult in late harvest, and it may even be encountered that no fiber is obtained as a result of maturation due to the accumulation of lignin instead of cellulose in the stems. It is appropriate to harvest male and female cannabis separately according to their maturation stages in the harvest that falls between the end of August and September. Fiber hemp uses a special machine with independent rows of teeth and a chopper. Combine harvesters use modified parts to prevent machine parts from getting entangled with bast fiber.
After the crop has been cut, the stems are left in the field for four to six weeks (to remove pectin) depending on the weather – to loosen the fibers. The straws are turned using a special machine and then baled with the available straw harvesting equipment. The bales are stored in dry places, including barns or other closed warehouses. When planted for fiber, yields range from 1.8-5.4 tons of dry straw per acre or 2.7-4.5 tons of baled hemp stalks per acre in Canada.
To obtain fiber from hemp, the retting process is applied. It is applied by placing the hemp stalks in bundles in isolated areas in a stream so that the hemp bundles are completely submerged in water. Concrete pools can also be used for this process. The waiting time can vary from 10 days to 40 days, depending on the temperature of the water and the micro-organism activity.
The cannabis fibers, which are washed and cleaned after the retting process, are removed from their stems. Generally, at the end of retting, from 50 kg of green fresh cannabis stems, 15-25 kg of dried cannabis stems are obtained, from which 3 kg of long fiber and 5-6 kg of short fiber. Dejara fiber yield is 150 kg on average, and seed yield is 80-100 kg.
- Grain Processing
Before storing cannabis seeds, they must be properly cleaned and dried. Protection from oxygen, light, and heat is critical to producing a flavorful oil with an acceptable shelf life. Solvent extraction methods can also be used to extract oil as they yield higher yields. Cosmetic manufacturers may require purification and deodorization steps.
- Fiber Processing
A series of rollers (crushers) or a grinder is used to separate the woody core from the bark fibers. The tape fiber is then cleaned and carded to the desired core content and fineness, then sometimes cut to size and baling. Secondary steps are often required after cleaning and carding. These include mats for the manufacture of nonwoven mats and covers, the pulp (the chemical and physical breakdown of fiber bundles to produce fiber for papermaking), and fiber bursting, which is the chemical removal of natural binders to produce a tactile fiber.
Complete processing lines for fiber hemp have outputs ranging from 1.8-7.2 tons/hour. For fiber production facilities, the main input is hemp bales that have completed the pooling process. In order to maximize the fiber yield from hemp, a range of machinery must be used and the waste must be reprocessed.
- Paper Making
Bast fiber is usually used in paper, which is put in a spherical tank called a digester with water and chemicals. This mixture is heated at a high temperature and pressure is applied until all the fibers are separated from each other. Washing with excess water removes chemicals and extracted binder components (pectin). The clean fibers are then fed into a machine called a Hollander beater, which consists of a large tub with a wheel that rotates around a horizontal axis.
This whisking step, lasting up to 12 hours, cuts the fibers to the desired length and produces the desired surface roughness for proper bonding. Bleaching chemicals are sometimes added at this stage or to separate the tanks with fibers. The bleached pulp is then pumped into the paper machine.
- Quality control
The hemp fibers are tested for tensile strength, fineness (fiber diameter), and color is recorded. Moisture content is recorded at every stage of the growth and production process. The plant’s THC content is tested adjacently to ensure the level does not exceed the 0.3% mark.
Unused harvested hemp is often used to make paper, horse beds, or building materials. Most hemp producers recycle the seed fiber by doing the powder, then baling and packaging. The powder can be compressed into pellets used for fuel. Dirt and small kernel chips are also used as high nutrient soil additives.
- The future
Where legal, the cannabis industry is growing at a 20% annual growth rate. For example, hemp flour has shown that it can be used as a nutrient for aquaculture, especially freshwater fish and shrimp. Composite materials for the building industry are also being researched.
Since hemp seeds have a high nutritional value, using hemp as a food source could be the biggest application. The oil or flour of the hemp seed can be made and eaten whole, as it has a flavor similar to pine nuts or sunflower seeds.
Cannabis Knowledge: World Cannabis Production
Cannabis is legally grown in countries around the world, with China leading the way. Chile is the largest producer in South America and France is the largest producer in Europe. The global industrial hemp market size is expected to reach US$10.6 billion by 2025, according to a new report published by Its use in food and beverage is expected to increase due to increased awareness of the dietary advantages of hemp and oil.
China is the largest exporter of hemp paper and textile products. Most hemp clothing brands get their hemp ingredients from farmers and factories in China. It’s hard to say how big the cannabis industry actually is in China. China’s cannabis seed industry is growing rapidly, but not as organized as in Canada.
Canada is currently the largest producer and exporter of hemp seed products such as hemp seeds, hemp oil, and hemp protein powder, accounting for 60-90% of the U.S. cannabis import market. Canadian cannabis seeds are generally of high quality as farmers are only allowed to use cannabis seed varieties listed under Health Canada’s List of Approved Varieties. Not all cannabis seeds from Canada are GMO approved.
Europe’s hemp industry is focused on industrial uses such as automobiles and building materials. Most cannabis in Europe is grown in Eastern European countries such as Romania, Hungary, and Russia. However, many other countries in Europe grow cannabis for a variety of uses. Currently, 32 countries, including Canada, the UK, France, and China, allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.
According to data collected in 2015, about 65% of sub-Saharan Africa’s farmland is degraded, resulting in food insecurity and a declining economy in a region where the agricultural industry uses more than half of the total workforce. The nutritional supplement properties of hemp in soil could be key to stimulating crop production, providing a new source of nutrients (hemp seeds), and boosting the agricultural-based economies of South Africa and other cannabis-growing sub-Saharan countries. Cannabis associations can be listed as:
- European Industrial Hemp Association
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), which was officially established on 23 November 2005, was registered with the Brühl District Court (Germany) associations with the number “VR 1397”. Therefore, more than five years ago, the status of a completely unofficial association founded in Wolfsburg on 14 September 2000 ceased to exist and was transformed into an official association.
At the time of its establishment, the European Industrial Cannabis Association (EIHA) has seven members from the EU countries UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, all of whom are primary processors of hemp (fiber separation companies).
- Indian Industrial Hemp Association
The Industrial Hemp Association of India (IIHA) is a national non-profit organization established under the Trust Act of 1882, Copyright Act (1999), to promote hemp products of India globally. Founded in 2011, the association represents those involved in India’s hemp industry both nationally and globally.
- Hemp Industries Association
The Cannabis Industries Association (SED) is a non-profit trade association representing more than a thousand supporters, farmers, and business members serving the cannabis industry since 1994.
- International Hemp Building Association
The International Cannabis Building Association (IHBA) is a not-for-profit company incorporated on 20 November 2009 in Ireland, with no capital, Limited by guarantee. IHBA currently has more than 200 members from 25 different countries from all over the world.
- Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
CHTA is the national organization that supports Canadian hemp and hemp products worldwide. Founded in 2003, the Alliance represents those involved in Canada’s cannabis industry. Members include farmers, processors, producers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and marketers.
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