Did you know that the cannabis plant is a powerhouse in the field of sustainability?
Our environment is currently hanging in the balance, and the only way to tip the scales in our favor is to start doing more healing the planet than harming it. To us, there’s no surprise in the fact that just when we need it most, hemp is coming through to save the day. But what does this simple plant offer that’s so critical to our survival?
Aside from being used in the manufacturing of sustainable products and absorbing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, hemp has another use: it can help the soil.
But how? And are there actual solutions that can be applied on a larger scale here? Today we have a look.
Hemp Has a Deep Taproot
The roots are where a plant uptakes much of its water and nutrients. Some plants have shallow roots, and some have deeper roots. Plants with deeper roots tend to be more drought resistant, as they can draw water from deeper in the soil. But the plants aren’t the only thing that benefits from deep roots…
A deeper taproot can also nurture the soil by turning up fresh soil every harvest… Not to mention the fact that such roots can help clean contaminants from deeper layers of soil.
Yes, you heard that right. Plants can clean the soil. In this case, hemp performs especially well at such tasks! But how?
It’s called phytoremediation. Say it with us… ‘phyto-remediation’. So, what is it?
WHAT IS PHYTOREMEDIATION
When the plant is used in the process of cleansing of the soil, sediments and water bodies (whether surface water or groundwater) by removing, transferring or stabilizing contaminating materials, it is known as phytoremediation. This falls under bioremediation, which is the use of organisms to remove contaminating materials from the soil and water. Examples of plant used are hemp, poplar trees, and cotton trees
HOW DOES PHYTOREMEDIATION WORK
It depends on what your goal is. There are different types of phytoremediation, and each has specific application to different types of cleanup projects. These are called phytoremediation mechanisms.
Different plants display different mechanisms, all of which can help heal soil in their own way.
Here’s a little overview on what we know…
Rhizosphere biodegradation: The act of using plants to produce nutrients that feed microbes living within contaminated soil. In this mechanism, the microbes being fed do all of the cleaning. They proceed to break down materials that have polluted the soil.
Phyto-stabilization: Plants feed off the contaminating substances, but do not degrade the compounds. Rather, it inhibits the movement of the materials and isolates them within the plant. This is not a degrading process, but the contaminated can be disposed of correctly once the waste has been absorbed.
Phyto-accumulation: This is not a degrading process, either. Also commonly known as ‘phytoextraction’, this method is primarily for waste containing metals and suitable for use when talking about industrial wastes.
Hydroponic Systems: This mechanism works exactly like rhizosphere biodegradation but can be used to clean up polluted bodies of water.
Phyto-volatilization: A mechanism in which plants absorb the contaminating materials through the root and release them into the air using their leaves.
Phyto-degradation: This is a degradative process in which plants can be used to absorb contaminating materials and destroy them in their tissues.
Industrial hemp demonstrates ‘Phyto-accumulation’ (also known as phytoextraction), which can be used to clean up heavy metals and industrial waste.
WHAT TYPE OF WASTE CAN ‘PHYTOREMEDIATORS’ CLEAN UP?
Metals most commonly used with this process are grouped into three based on their availability and they are;
iii. Not readily available: these are heavy metals and nuclear materials such as lead and uranium
The availability of the metals can be heightened using boosters on the soil. Examples of boosters used are ammonium nitrate NH4NO3 and citric acid, which are said to boost the ability to intake the nuclear materials ‘cesium’ and ‘uranium’.
After the total accumulation of the contaminating materials/metal, the plant used must not be consumed. Once the plants have been removed from the site, one two things must be done with them:
WHAT PLANTS ARE USED AS PHYTO-REMEDIATORS
There are many plants used in Phyto-remediation. While there are no general properties to take note of, most of them have a very long taproot in common. As we spoke about earlier, a long taproot can benefit the soil by absorbing the waste within it. Then whether it degrades, accumulates, or release the contaminated materials depends on the physiological properties of the plants themselves.
So, let’s talk about hemp for a second.
Hemp is basically a modern word to describe low-THC cultivars of Cannabis sativa. Has a lot of purposes due to its unique chemical composition, it is a very good phytoremediator due to its very long taproot. It is used in the removal of heavy metals and nuclear waste
HEMP IN CLEANING NUCLEAR WASTE
Hemp has been used in numerous areas around the world to effectively demonstrate the phytoremediation properties within plants. Most notably, it was used after the nuclear disaster that occurred in 1986, when more than 100,000km² was labeled radioactive and unsafe to live. The countries involved were Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus – and the contaminated soil could not be used.
In 1998 Phytotech, a company that specializes in phytoremediation, worked in cooperation with the Consolidated Grower and Processors (CGP) and the Ukraine Institute of Bast Crop to conduct an important experiment…
This experiment was testing whether or not it’s reasonable to apply the soil-cleansing abilities of hemp (among a number of other plants) on areas affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It seemed that it was showing promising results, but shortfalls in financing and cases of missing research rendered this experiment ‘lost in the void’. In ‘Cleaning Soil’, writers actually claimed that Phytotech found hemp to be “most efficient plant useful for eliminating toxins such as metals, solvents, pesticides, residues from explosions, etc. from contaminated topsoil.”
…But we may never know for sure.
It’s certainly disappointing that there hasn’t been more research done into using hemp to clean up our earth… or any plant for that matter! But we hope this will change soon.
As the word starts to spread about the natural tools nature has given us to survive, we anticipate that cannabis will be a much more common name in the up and coming generation of biologists. Based on how hemp has been used to clean soil in the past, we think it will certainly play a role in cleaning up our environment in the future…
…And phytoremediation is just the start.
This industry is going to help the environment in more ways than one. But we’ll get to some others next time.
If you enjoyed this, learned something new, or have something to add, we’d love to hear from you! Just drop a comment below, or get in touch with us on any of our social media platforms.
Oh, and don’t forget to share!
“Hempcrete is the eco-friendly building material of the future”
If you’ve been following for a while, you’ve probably heard or read something along the lines of the preceding statement. And maybe those who haven’t still have questions. That’s okay! We’re here to help answer them.
Hemp has been overlooked as a solution for practices that cause significant damage to the environment from industries ranging from clothing to construction. But nowadays, the number of problems that it offers to solve is becoming too great to ignore. The idea of building houses with a plant may seem a little far-fetched, but today we’re going to dive into why it’s such a viable idea.
Growing Hemp for Hurd
What is Hemp Hurd?
Hemp Shives, Hemp Hurd, is also derived from the Hemp stalk’s inner woody mass that surfaces once the bast fibre is removed. But wait, doesn’t that make hurd a by-product? Well, even though that is technically true, this low-value agricultural by-product has a lot of practical applications. From being useful in the construction industry to being envisioned as the successor of wood pulp in the paper industry, hemp hurd might just be the next multi-million dollar industry on its own.
How To Grow Hemp for Hurd?
First thing’s first, you need to be sure that you choose seeds that have been purpose-bred to increase your crop yield. You also need to make sure that whatever you plant is in compliance with your area’s THC policy or you might just end up losing the entire crop and possibly even face criminal charges. Another consideration would be deciding whether you would prefer planting a seed or a clone.
What’s the difference? First of all, seeds do not necessarily always turn out to be of the same phenotype or quality as their parents. There could be, possibly, more than five different phenotypes resulting from 10 seeds of practically the same variety.
Planting a clone could save you time and money (in the long run) because you’re working with known and stable genetics and so you’re eliminating most of the risk there and then. Make smart and efficient choices.
The next thing to keep in mind is the climate and soil atmosphere of your plant. Hemp grows in a warm environment and a mildly humid soil atmosphere that receives enough rainfall/irrigation to keep its seeds moist.
Harvesting and Processing
Hemp, as a plant, exhibits pretty speedy growth. The crop is usually ready for harvest in 3-4 months after plantation. However, the time may vary if you are growing hemp with a specific harvest in mind. Harvesting timeframes for Hemp Hurd is generally around the same time as hemp fibre, before the last pollen is shed.
The step that follows harvesting hemp is retting, which happens in one of two ways. You either let the dew work its magic, or you flood the field and let your Hemp soak in it for a few days before allowing it to dry. Different microbial actions will separate the enzymes that bind the fibres to the inner woody stalk, enabling you to separate the stem’s hemp bast.
The separation marks the end of the retting process. Once retting is complete, the stalks are dried and crushed in a decorticator. A decorticator is an industrial machine that separates the fibres from the dried stalks and collects hurd separately.
And there you have it! The woody shives are now ready to be stocked up in bales or used..
Mixing and Building
Turning Hemp into hempcrete is a series of steps that requires great precision and attention to detail. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Lime based binders (50% lime, 50% metakaolin) can be used to make Hempcrete, mainly because they absorb water and chemically cure the mixture as it is made. A basic Hempcrete recipe is 4:1:1! 4 parts industrial Hemp Hurd, 1 part lime binder and 1 part water.
However, people also use clay and other unfired binders instead of lime ones, personally vouching for the potential cost savings and other benefits of using them.
Hempcrete can be made either by using just your hands or a mortar mixer and usually no other sophisticated equipment is required to do the job.
Almost everyone has a different sequence of adding ingredients. However, the vital thing to keep in mind is that you should mist water and not dump it in large quantities because you do not want to get your Hempcrete too watery.
The whole process should take around 10 mins. You’ll know that the mix is ready when it is dry enough to retain its shape when packed into a ball yet moist sufficient to crumble when force is added.
Remember, too much water will impact the drying time once it is made into a wall or concrete structure. Once properly mixed and set (usually takes 20-30 mins), your Hempcrete will be ready to use.
Making the Hempcrete Wall
Monolithic Cast Walls
This is one of the most commonly used methods of making Hempcrete walls. Also known as the standard-slip form, this method requires that you “cast” Hempcrete in either wooden or plastic structures and tamp around the edges to secure it in its place. This is somewhat similar to pouring concrete while making a traditional wall. However, we use the term “casting” instead of running when referring to Hempcrete.
The hempcrete will need some time to set, usually a day or two before you can remove the forms and use them for other walls.
Once completed, allow 6-9 weeks (depending on the climate) for your Hempcrete to dry up to 15% moisture content and take its final form.
Hempcrete blocks are ready-to-use, non-structural, construction blocks that are lightweight, recyclable and pretty sturdy.
They save you the drying time needed for monolithic walls as they are batch-dried at the production facility; however, bear in mind that they are only used for wall-filling or insulation purposes.
This is because they lack the cohesiveness of monolithic walls, which have no spaces in between and are cast all at once to achieve a seamless consistency.
This spraying hempcrete method involves the use of an industrial spray for wall-making. Yes!
You can simply add hempcrete in a cement mixer and let an industrial sprayer build the hempcrete wall from interior formwork instead of manually adding it layer by layer into the form and working your way to the top.
The main drawback is that this method employs expensive equipment and requires far more practical knowledge of Hempcrete and Hempcrete construction than the traditional method.
Benefits of Building with Hempcrete
Hempcrete can replace conventional construction materials and provide sustainable and environmentally friendly means of fulfilling our housing needs. Hempcrete greatly reduces the need for using toxic building materials and saves you a ton of money during construction.
Here are ten reasons why you should prefer to build with Hempcrete:
Hempcrete absorbs Co2 and other irritants in the air while naturally adjusting the room’s humidity and temperature. This breathable material not only gives you a natural, healthy environment but also drastically reduces your heating/cooling costs.
Being diffusive and moisture-absorbent means that Hemp walls are less likely to be infected with moulds, which also directly equates to lesser allergies, chronic respiratory diseases and asthmatic attacks associated with moulds and their airborne spores.
Our planet’s health takes a toll every time we use cement, wood or toxic chemicals for construction purposes. Thus, the sooner we can incorporate Hempcrete in the construction industry, the bigger part we can play in preserving the environment.
This blog post has been re-written and reposted with more relevant and up to date information for 2020/2021. To see the original version of this post, please head over to this page!
Don’t worry if you don’t; it’s easy to get them confused!
And to add to the confusion, the terms and labels used to identify them also vary from country to country.
Whether you know the difference or not, we’ve re-written one of our most popular articles with some clearer, more relevant information for 2021. Due to the similar names, there’s a common misunderstanding about how the two compare to one another. This misunderstanding is a regular one in Australia because people see hemp as a dietary supplement and marijuana as medicinal. Still, both come from the same plant: Cannabis Sativa.
Today we‘re going to distinguish the differences, and impart you with up-to-date knowledge and terminology so that you can make an educated purchase next time you’re shopping for hemp products.
Hemp Seed Oil has been around for centuries, yet has never been confused with other byproducts of hemp. So why now?
The legalisation of Hemp and hemp-based products has brought about a whole new challenge in understanding. Those with little or no knowledge of the plant often mistake Hemp Seed Oil for Hemp Oil. Hemp Seed Oil can be extracted from Hemp Seeds and produces a light to dark green oil with a nutty flavour and a variety of uses. This type of oil for food was legal in Australia as of 2017, since before the legalisation of other Hemp-based oils.
Hemp is grown for 70-90 days before you harvest if you’re farming for the stalk contents. However, if you’re farming for seed, you will have to wait an additional 4-8 weeks for the male Cannabis plant to pollinate the female plant. Only then will the plant produce Hemp seed.
After harvesting, you leave the plants out to dry, at which point machinery can process and separate the seed. A screw expeller machine presses the seeds to extract oil, which you then expose to centrifugal force to remove impurities. It can then be secured and sent for packaging.
Hemp Seeds are entirely free of any cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN, THC etc.). Instead, they have a nutrient-rich profile that offers a plethora of benefits to you as a consumer. How? Well, Hemp Seeds are loaded with Omega oils, protein, fibre, antioxidants and fatty acids that:
People could mean many things when they say Hemp Oil due to the general confusion among the masses about what it is. We’re here to clear that up.
Hemp Oil refers to what we call CBD oil, which is mainly extracted from the flowers of the female Hemp plant but can sometimes incorporate the leaves and stalk of the plant. CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid that is extracted from the Cannabis plant using example, the supercritical Co2 extraction method.
Hemp Oil produces targeted medical actions for the body because it comes from a medical Cannabis species. What it has in common with the Hemp Seed Oil is the absence of THC, the Cannabis compound that produces psychoactive effects.
One might use Hemp Oil for:
It may also help in controlling symptoms of depression, anxiety and other anxiety-related disorders.
Hemp Oil became popular after the “green storm” took over the world a few years ago; one that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The world recently discovered the therapeutic benefits of CBD and other Cannabinoids and has finally begun legalising them, leading to the sudden boom in CBD products in the markets. The stigma that once surrounded the Cannabis plants and its products has somewhat died down, and people now want to learn how Cannabis can help them.
The Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Oil differ in:
Hemp Oil has a medicinal nature and is used for medicinal purposes to treat several diseases. And although beneficial and therapeutic on its own, Hemp Seed Oil can’t claim medicinal status. It instead contributes towards your general health and wellness, assisting proper organ and body functioning.
Hemp Oil contains Cannabinoids (usually CBD) and other beneficial terpenes, essential oils and flavonoids that work synergistically to enhance the effects of CBD.
On the other hand, Hemp Seed Oil is rich in Omega 3 & 6, fatty acids, proteins, fibre and other nutrients, but does not contain any Cannabinoids.
Hemp Seed Oil is extracted from cold-pressed Hemp Seeds and does not contain any plant matter – as the name indicates.
People make Hemp Oil by extracting the oil from a female Cannabis flower; however, it can sometimes come from other plant matter (leaves and stalk).
You can extract Hemp Seed Oil using a cold-pressing method that involves a screw expeller pressing the seeds to extract the oil and a centrifuge machine refining the oil before packaging.
On the other hand, you get Hemp Oil by separating CBD from the Cannabis plant through the Co2 extraction method. The compound is then infused with a base oil before it is ready to use.
You can purchase Hemp Oil (or CBD Oil) from specialised stores with a proper license to sell CBD. In contrast, Hemp Seed Oil, being completely legal in Australia, can easily be purchased over-the-counter at any pharmacy in the country.
Misinformation about the Hemp industry is spreading as fast as the word about the Hemp products’ benefits. Thus, you must understand the difference between different Hemp products before making a purchase decision. Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Oil differ in their composition, source, extraction method, availability and their usage, although they are usually confused as the same product.
Thus, our general advice of always buying from a well-reputed company and carefully reading the product packaging before any purchase seems to be applicable here as well. Buying from a trusted company that third-party tests its products not only saves you money and fatigue in the long run but also ensures product quality and your safety.
As self-proclaimed Hemp connoisseurs, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to educate our audience about all-things-Hemp to put an end to the misconceptions about the industry. We’re on a mission to help people and nature – through nature.
It’s no wonder that it’s taking people time to catch on with so many different uses of hemp! But what people are saying is true: You can use hemp for almost anything. The most incredible part about this plant is that it positively impacts everything it touches from the moment you plant the seed to consuming the product.
The moment that seed is germinated, a beautiful process begins. By the end of the 3-5 month growth cycle, the plant will be as high as 5m tall and be ready to be cut down for processing into any of a wide range of products.
In this article, we will take a look over the different stages that a hemp field goes through; From Seed to Shelf.
Hemp plants are a breed of cannabis Sativa, and just like many plants, the overall production will be affected if they do not receive enough sun and warmth throughout the
growing season. These requirements often mean that winter harvests will not yield as high quality of a crop.
Hemp also requires more water than Australia’s summer rainfall, so you will have to take irrigation measures in free-draining soil, especially once the plant enters its flowering stage.
Hemp has a long taproot structure that can be favourable in clay soil. However, for best quality fibre yield in the Australian climate, it would be wise to use a mixture of sand and clay loam soil, the sowing density for which could range from 50-750 plants/m2- but some experts recommend opting for no less than 250 plants/m2.
Provided soil conditions are optimal (soil temperature is 47-50 degree F in 6-8 hours of sunlight and there is enough moisture), Hemp seeds germinate within 24 to 48 hours and can emerge to become seedlings in 5 to 7 days. It’s also important to remember that hemp seedlings do not require excessive water – it should be kept to a minimum to not interfere with growth.
Depending on how much rainfall your crop receives, watering it every three days is enough to keep your seedlings moist and healthy. The seedlings vigorously take up nitrogen for the first 6-8 weeks, so if you plan on adding fertiliser, this would be a great starting point!
The vegetative phase of the growing cycle is the stage between germination and flowering. As you would expect, a plant’s thirst grows proportionately with its size. Hemp plants do not, however, require excess water even at this stage. The Hemp should be moist but not too wet. You only need to water it to ensure it isn’t dry from the inside, but you’ll still usually have to set up a watering cycle on your own based on your plant’s growing conditions. Generally, you won’t need to do this more frequently than once every 2-3 days. As growth takes off, the plant continues taking up nitrogen rapidly.
The vegetation stage starts around three weeks after sowing the seeds, and can continue up to its 16th week!
During the peak of the growing season, you will need to give your hemp crop a fair amount of water to sustain their health. How much water you use depends on the soil conditions and your irrigation plan. Hemp plants also start taking up phosphorus during the flowering stage, but contrary to popular belief, hemp uses half the amount of nutrients once it enters the flowering phase.
What else might you need to grow quality hemp? With all the effort you’ve put in, you wouldn’t want to take any risks. Just to make sure you’ve done everything you can to give your plants a healthy life, you should provide your crop calcium, micronutrients, sulphate, sulphur and even compost.
Harvesting for Hemp can occur at different times depending on what you’re growing it for (Hurd, Seeds or Fiber)
The optimal age to harvest Hemp Fibre is at the time of male flowering, which takes place 70-90 days after sowing the seeds. This timeframe for growth ensures high-quality fibre yield to harvest it with general foraging/harvesting equipment. You can differentiate between male and female plants at the time of the pre-flowering stage (4-6 weeks after sowing the seeds). Male plants begin growing small round balls as nodes, and the female plants have tiny bract nodes.
Hemp Hurd gets extracted from the stem/stalk of mature hemp plants. Harvesting for high-quality Hemp hurd usually occurs at the point that the last pollen is shed, which is about four months after sowing the seeds. When processing for hemp hurd, the hemp stalk gets broken into small fragments, and the Hurd is separated from the fibres and purified through a process called scutching.
To harvest for Hemp Seed, you will have to pay attention to the female plants. At the stage where:
You should know it’s time to harvest!
Fibre and Hurd are both extracted from the stem/stalk of the hemp plant. After you harvest the stems, they are usually left in open fields to decompose. Over this 4-6 week period of retting, microbes and bacteria break down the chemical bonds holding the hemp stem together.
You can perform retting through the following methods:
1. Enzyme Action
Once the process is complete, the stalks are dried up, leaving only 15% moisture behind.
The next step is called ‘breaking’ and occurs by rolling and crushing the stalks to separate the fibre from the core.
The only difference between Fibre and hurd is that fibre is extracted from the stem’s outer part, while Hemp hurd comes from the inner woody part. Hemp Hurd is processed through scutching, which can either be done by hand (small scale) or by machines (commercial/large scale). Hemp stalks get broken into small fragments, and then impurities are removed through a process called Scutching.
Public interest in Hemp Seed has witnessed steady growth over the past few years. Hemp seed is a nutrition-packed, dense plant-based protein source and has multiple benefits for the heart, brain, muscles, digestive system and skin. They are often added to meals and are regularly used to extract oil with a wide range of uses.
Once harvested, hemp seeds can be sterilised, dehulled, and packaged for dietary consumption. Hemp seeds can also make hemp seed oil through a process called the cold press method. The cold press method gives higher quality end products but results in less yield. C02 Extraction is another way to process Hemp Seeds into hemp seed oil. You can also process Hemp Seed Oil into ‘Refined Hemp Seed Oil’ by exposing it to heat. Refined Hemp Seed Oil has no nutritional value, but a wide range of commercial applications.
Hemp seeds are easily damaged, resulting in decreased seed quality. Hemp seed must be properly dried, stored and monitored to preserve grain quality.
Hemp Fiber, the outer part of the Hemp stalk has several commercial uses, including manufacturing of products such as:
Often overshadowed by Hemp Fibres, Hemp Hurd also has a lot of uses, like making:
Finally, hemp seeds also have a highly diverse range of applications based on how they’re processed.
Have you ever grown hemp for any of these purposes? Maybe you’ve used some of the final products or even had the exciting opportunity pop up to go and visit a real-life hemp farm? If so, you’ve seen at least one part of this process with your very own eyes, and you’ll understand precisely how magical it is! If you haven’t, don’t worry, the time is coming very soon! The way things are going now, it’s not too long until you’ll be driving out in your closest country town and encounter that classic smell along the side of the highway – except, it won’t be marijuana.
Australia has high hopes for a hemp revolution, and it’s up to consumers, farmers, and processors to decide to move in a more sustainable direction. This year, we expect to see a lot more movement in Australia when growing, processing, and manufacturing our very own Australian Hemp Products.
The British Government carried Cannabis sativa seeds on the First Fleet to Australia in 1787. Since hemp was an essential commodity used in manufacturing sails, clothing, and waterproofing of their ships, they intended to establish hemp plantations across the colonies
Hemp soon fell out of favour because the species also produces marijuana which is high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is known to induce psychoactive effects. In the 1920s and 30s, people started to ignore the fact that hemp typically contains less than 0.3% THC while marijuana contains anywhere from 7-25%. Upon launching the smear campaign “Reefer Madness” quickly spread from the US to Australia.
It wasn’t until the 2000s that Australian states learnt to distinguish between the two primary variations in the species. Since then, the nation has started to take baby steps towards a domestic hemp industry.
Overall, 2020 has been an exciting year in the Australian Hemp industry! Today we are going to take a quick look at some of the news highlights.
In February, at the Australian Industrial Hemp Conference, a lineup of prominent industry experts, including Food Expert Michael Robertson, discussed how hemp might play a role in land management and future technology.
Before this conference, the country dealt with the devastating bushfires that resulted in about 46 million acres of land burned. Unfortunately, around 30 people died, 1 billion animals perished, and 6000 buildings got destroyed in the fires. Some of the benchmark talks at the event included questions of whether hemp products could be considered more viable for rebuilding Australia.
This second biennial conference lasted three days, hosted over 40 speakers, discussed hemp for human health, and walked through different crop agronomy varieties. Here, speakers from Canada, New Zealand, China and Europe shared valuable information about production costs, medical applications and future industry projections.
In March, the European Industrial Hemp Association requested a more transparent legal framework concerning industrial hemp’s international regulation. They stated that the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UN-CND) had no jurisdiction to classify of hemp as a narcotic with high-risk for abuse.
EIHA said that this is because hemp was not covered in the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Within the treaty that serves as a basis for worldwide drug controls today, the EU defined cannabis as “flowering of the fruit”. This definition implies that leaves, seeds and other byproducts cannot be classified as a medicine.
In June 2020, a draft following ACMS/ACCS consultation meetings with the Department of Health proposed some long-awaited amendments to the Poisons Standard in Australia. If passed, it would mean changes in CBD regulations, which boasts a forecasted market value increase from USD40 million to USD1.5 billion by 2025.
The draft rules would categorise CBD as an over-the-counter (OTC) product. This change means that it would move from being a Schedule 4 to Schedule 3 substance. The draft follows a safety review conducted by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that examined the effects of low dose CBD.
By the time September came by, the Ministry of Health handed down an interim decision that could allow the OTC sale of CBD. However, like any other medicinal products, they would face the same regulations of prescription pharmaceuticals. The rules imposed by the TGA would prohibit smokable hemp, vaping, and topical use – the three most dynamic sub-sectors in countries where it is already legal.
These updates in Australian were critical since they would eventually influence similar decisions by the European Commission. Boaz Wachtel, a director, co-founder, and former chairman at Australian nutraceuticals maker Cresco Pharma, commented that these changes would open the door to CBD producers to better serve the Australian consumer.
In August, the European Commission released indicators that were seen as negative moves for CBD operators in the continent. They also hinted that the Commission was set to push for these restrictions on an international level. These indicators followed a July “preliminary conclusion” that surprised stakeholders with its stance that the EU should recognise non-medical natural hemp extracts as narcotics.
This preliminary decision caused fear that sectors in the EU hemp industry would spin into chaos. The EC urged that its move was to ensure member states had clear guidance on hemp extracts. Their preliminary view was that CBD derived from the fruiting and flowering tops of the hemp plant is a narcotic in the United Nations Single Convention.
European stakeholders pushed back against these red lights in various ways. They argued that hemp and its byproducts within the United Nations treaties and their supplementary protocols of 1972 are explicitly not subject to international drug controls. Stakeholders also pointed out that the 1961 United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs only covers illicit farming and trafficking of high-THC Cannabis, which hemp is not.
Hemp is a plant with a myriad of benefits and applications. Unfortunately, the stain on its reputation due to its association with marijuana is difficult to wipe off. From this summary of some happenings within the Australian industry this year, it certainly seems promising that our favourite eco-friendly material may once again see widespread use in trade and manufacturing.
What was your favourite moment of 2020 in the Australian Hemp Industry?
As we wind down the chaotic year that has been 2020, we want to take a look back at some of our favourite topics that we had the chance to cover this year. If you’ve been following our journey this year, you’re likely going to see some familiar titles! And to the first-time visitor, this annual roundup contains a range of topics surrounding hemp and how it can benefit both the people and the planet.
We hope you all enjoy these throwbacks as much as we did!
One of the most stunning uses of hemp is definitely the way it is made into plastic. From its constituents to its production process and its short and long-term benefits, we wrote “What’s So Great About Hemp Plastic?” to bring a little bit more awareness to one of the most viable bioplastic options of the future, hemp plastic.
Here, we take a look into the problems that traditional plastic usage is causing, how to manufacture hemp plastics, and why we think it’s so important to move towards hemp plastic alternatives sooner rather than later.
As if it wasn’t enough to just offer us a solution to stop polluting the environment, hemp also ranks among the top soil-cleansing plants known to man – Up with plants like sunflowers. As well as the deep tap-root system that nurtures the soil by turning up fresh soil every harvest, hemp has a remarkable ability called Phytoremediation. So what is Phytoremediation? Head to this article to find out.
Hint: Scientists suggested using phytoremediation (primarily, through hemp) and similar mechanisms are used in Chernobyl to help remove radiation from the soil.
Does something smell funny..? Well, we can guarantee it’s not the soil any more. So, what is it? Terpenes, of course!
Terpenes are organic substances that naturally occur within all plants – and even some insects. They contribute to a plants’ characteristic smell. Incredibly, out of the 20,000 terpenes in nature, cannabis plants are known to contain over 100 of them.
Terpenes have medical and therapeutic benefits that work together to produce a variety of different effects. Considering the cannabis plant can contain any combination of over 100 other terpenes (not to mention varying cannabinoids and concentrations), it’s no surprise that we’re finding so many different ways to apply this flower to medicine, health and wellness. In this blog post, we looked at some of our favourite terpenes found in cannabis and their merits.
The flowers are legal to some extent most counties nowadays – whether it be medically or recreationally – including Australia, the U.S and the majority of European countries. It has various uses, and although its most notable use is smoking, there is a significant shift towards the health benefits of its constituents – CBD.
The roots of hemp possess medicinal qualities that are also beneficial ingredients in herbal medicine. They are also excellent mineral and fibre sources and demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties.
The third article in the series turns its focus to the leaves. The leaves, like any other part of the plant, offer health benefits – at the very least, in the form of nutrition. So it is no wonder the leaves are juiced, drank as tea, made to butter, or used as compost.
Lastly, we look at the various uses of the stems and stalks of the plant. The hemp stalk breaks down into two main sections: bast fibres and hurd. These have a wide range of applications in manufacturing bioplastics, paper, and textiles to hempcrete (hemp concrete) and others.
We had the excellent opportunity to take an interview with Green Planet, where we discussed the last 25 years of our journey, as well as some of our current projects in the hemp industry. It was a deep dive into everything from acquiring MRH, sourcing raw materials for our products, trying to make a difference with our brand, and even what we think the landscape of the cannabis industry might look like in the future
Nut allergies can be severe, and people who get them would testify that they are far from fun. The great news is that you don’t have to eat nuts to incorporate nutty flavours into your foods – you can use hemp seed! Here, we bring you five nut-free hemp recipes that still possess a delicious nutty taste due to the addition of hemp seeds, which are both non-allergenic and highly nutritious.
Hempcrete. It kind of reminds you of concrete, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it’s just an environmentally friendly, biodegradable, abundantly available substitute – made with our favourite plant!
Hempcrete is a biocomposite material created from hemp hurds, lime, and water. This article looks at some of the building methods you can use to build with hempcrete, from monolithic cast walls to structural wall panels.
This article places focus on hemp as seen in Asian folklore. Considering hemp is often thought to have origins in Asia, it is no wonder that some Asian cultures like the Chinese tell similar stories of a maiden, Magu, who existed around the years of 5th-6th century AD. In tales told of her life, writers spoke of Magu as having used peaches and hemp in her healings.
Read the story of Magu, the hemp maiden who spread joy, care, and healing wherever she went.
We jump back into the topic of hempcrete and dive a bit more into the ‘How to’ of building homes with hempcrete.
We walk through the entire process – From growing, harvesting, and separation of the hurd from the bast fibres, to the building of the home. You can learn more about how to build a hemp home in the article linked above!
As we looked into in ‘Breaking Down Hemp’, we focused on the into two core materials that we can break hemp stalks into hurd and bast. In our blog, Modern use of hemp bast fibre, we look into a whole bunch of products that are made with hemp fibres. From making clothing to the more modern developments like hemp graphene, we can’t help but ask… Is there anything hemp can’t do?
Shoes, plastic grinders, 3D printing filaments, designer sunglasses – There isn’t much that isn’t being made with hemp now. In this post, we look to showcase some of the latest products and innovations in the hemp industry.
Based on archaeological findings and translations of the text, it seems reasonable to assume that the Egyptians experimented a lot with hemp, and are even regarded by someone of the first civilisations to discover its holistic use.
The Egyptians used hemp for textile and utilised the psychoactive and therapeutic properties of cannabis for medicine and spirituality. Learn more about the early Egyptians and how they used hemp and cannabis here.
So, have you found yourself thinking “Woah, these guys sure do talk about hemp a lot”?
Well, won’t you now too?
Here’s a fun exercise: When you look around you right now, how many things can you see which could potentially be made out of hemp? How many of those things contain materials that harm the planet? Maybe even you? With today’s technology, how much easier would it be to start switching over to hemp-based alternatives?
If you could see three things that could be made from hemp but aren’t, make sure to leave a comment below letting us know what they are!
This year, we continued to dive deeper into the marvellous recipes using the different types of hemp ingredients that we have available. We’ve been using hemp flour, hemp seed, and hemp protein in a wide range of ways, and have seen some even more great uses of our products in brand new recipes from the skilled chefs that have been keen to try hemp!
Hemp seed is essentially a superfood that can be mechanically processed (yes, without chemicals!) into different forms based on the methods used. Each state that hemp seed can end up taking has its nutritional benefits; whether it’s the flour which is higher in fibre and lower in protein, or the protein powder which is lower in fibre and higher in omega oils. Most of all, it’s vegan friendly!
The bottom line is that we think that everybody should be using hemp products in their food. There’s a lot of research showing the benefits – you can read more about it all here, here, and here!
For now, we’re going to jump ahead and share our seven favourite hemp recipes of 2020 – And we even have a little cookbook at the end for those who want to take their home hemp cooking to the next level.
Let’s get started!
Of course, we’re going to start the list with a big pile ‘o hemp flapjacks! After all, it is one of our absolute favourite ways to start the morning.
These Hemp Apple Pancakes will be a downright crowd pleaser every time!
Here’s how you make them:
Are you a fan of Thai style foods? Here’s a delicious recipe that will guide you along your way as you make a delicious (yet healthy!) Hemp Thai Salad. It’s almost too easy!
Here’s what you need…
HEMP DOGGY TREATS?! (Paw)esome! 🐾 Earlier this year when we first started stocking HempPet’s Hemp Oil for Dogs, we thought we’d share a super easy recipe your furry friend that’s quick, handmade and full of nutrition. It’s almost impossible to go wrong! And even though it’s not for humans, it’s still one of our favourites of the year.
This way, everyone in the family gets some hempy goodness!
4. Hemp Coconut & Yoghurt Treat
Snack on a Coconut & Hemp Yoghurt Treats for breakfast tomorrow! 🤤Experiment with one of our favourite ways to incorporate the benefits of Hemp into our diet. 👨🍳
Here’s how you make it. 📜
One tub/ 250g of coconut yogurt
5. The Lola (Hemp Cocktail)
The Lola, by our friends at High On Hemp, as well as Gertie’s Bar, was the perfect way to enter 2020. This smoked hemp cocktail was so good that we just had to bring it back for this summer to take us through to 2021!
Here’s how you make it:
Our friend @plantsomepeas took the time to create a recipe for a delicious Magical Hedgehog Slice. This product makes delicious drinks and snacks FOOLPROOF and tasty as anything!
Here’s how you make it:
We sent some hemp seeds and our raw hemp and cacao chocolate to our friends over at Meet The Morrisons (@meet.the.morrisons on Instagram), so they could get a bit creative in the kitchen!
Who would have guessed we’d end up with a fantastic recipe for home-made hemp ice cream!
Here’s how to make it:
Isn’t it amazing to see the variety of delicious meals that are prepared with the addition of hemp products?
It’s 2020, and Hemp foods are the ‘New Normal’ now. In just over three years, Australia has gone from not being allowed to eat hemp, to being one of the most accepting of a product that used to be illegal for… Well, no good reason.
The most exciting part?
This momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. And as time goes on, we can’t wait to see how many more ways we learn to use hemp in our food!
Did you have a favourite recipe here?
Make sure to post a photo and tag us on Instagram, or even leave a comment below!
Egypt has a rich history of cannabis that spans millennia.
Though many early cultures cultivated the plant, the Egyptians were one of the first who truly embraced its holistic use. We know this to be true because of the contents within papyrus scrolls discovered in ancient tombs, wall paintings in Karnak and Abu Simbel temples, and many references by historians who visited the region and commented on its ubiquitous use within the culture.
Many believe that shemshemet – as varieties of the cannabis plant were called in the Egyptian hieroglyphs – found popularity even before the Egyptians built the pyramids. However, Egypt’s decline as an ancient superpower resulted in its diminished significance and eventual disappearance from the people’s daily lives.
When the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses II was unearthed and examined in 1981, they discovered the remains of cannabis. Following that, archaeologists have found numerous mummies that contain similar traces of the plant within their systems. These discoveries confirmed the suspicion that cannabis indeed was an integral part of ancient Egyptian culture.
Seshat, the goddess of wisdom and writing, is often depicted in paintings, thousands of years old, with a cannabis leaf above her head. The feline goddess of war, Bastet, was also connected to cannabis use in the region, though this was more in line with witchcraft. There is also proof that the Ancient Egyptians consumed cannabis in different forms during rituals and religious festivals.
Though the specific timeline is not crystal clear, Egyptians probably used cannabis as far back as 5000 years ago. It has been quite challenging to unearth the evidence to back these claims, but we can still shed some light on how they used cannabis.
You can broadly classify uses of ‘shemshemet’ in Ancient Egypt into two categories:
On the one hand, we know that the Egyptians used it for textile/fiber and seed production. On the other hand, they utilized the psychoactive and therapeutic properties of cannabis for medicine and spirituality.
It is first crucial to grasp the context that guided Egyptian medical practices. The culture’s understanding of the human body was far ahead of its time and comparatively advanced. Though there were thousands of years between them and Pasteur’s germ theory, they prioritized cleanliness. These theories gave birth to customs like embalming and contributed to their understanding of human physiology.
This same medical knowledge created an avenue for their use of medicinal plants. At first, the Egyptians had blurred the understanding between medicine and science. The earliest “doctors” were magicians because the Egyptian culture believed that illness was due to evil forces entering the body. Such beliefs positioned plant-based medicines as ideal cures for ailments.
Eventually, the Egyptians cannabis was discovered to be one of the most powerful of these plant-based concoctions available. It had both healing and psychoactive effects, all of which may have accounted for its popularity.
The Ebers papyrus, one of the oldest medical texts, lists several medicinal uses of the herb, with several formulas for pain-relief. Cannabis salves helped in glaucoma, and eyesores treatment, a use that modern medicine’s discovery of its ability to reduce intraocular pressure has validated.
Hemp is the variety of cannabis that has low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. It has been used in many cultures for industrial purposes before its relationship with marijuana resulted in its criminalization.
It would be odd if you have not yet learned about hemp’s use in the production of fabric, rope, and sails. Hemp use was so widespread in Egypt that when they became part of the Roman Empire, The Romans imposed a hefty tax on the production of hemp
Ancient workers applied a meticulous technique in breaking down large rocks with hemp fibers before transporting them to construction sites. They would fit in chunks of dry hemp into cracks within the stone, then soak them in water till the hemp swells up and splits the rock. Some even speculate that the Egyptians even used ropes made from hemp to pull blocks of limestone to build the Pyramids!
Considering ancient civilizations were so open to using cannabis to boost their economies and quality of life, it truly is unfortunate that modern societies have laid heavy stigma on its use. We cannot overlook this plant’s versatility, although there is still so much to learn about it. Thankfully, positive changes are on the way regarding its place in our lives, and we will continue to find more ways to use hemp to benefit society.
For a while now, humanity has been missing out on products made from that could be very useful when it comes to the preservation of the earth.
Hemp is a versatile plant that has played a massive role in furthering the development of various societies throughout history. However, between the early-mid 20th century, it fell out of favour with the public and was criminalised in many continents on earth. This resulted from its relationship with marijuana, the psychoactive variant of the cannabis plant.
Hemp contains negligible quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the “high” derived from marijuana. Recently, hemp’s illegal status in countries like the US and Australia has been rescinded, paving the way for new, innovative hemp products like the ones we’re eager to showcase today!
The Blac. Sneaker Co. began their journey to create ethical and sustainable fashion in 2019, aiming to provide high-quality, comfortable, stylish hemp shoes that are also environmentally-friendly. Their stylish sneakers are simple enough for daily wear, but can also be dressed up well in smart casual attire. Running the belief that the “Little steps in the right direction will get you to the perfect destination”, we see Blac Sneaker Co. doing exactly that.
At Fibonacci, hemp is grown for wood using sustainable techniques with the intent to play their part on eliminating deforestation. All the materials used in the growth and production are locally sourced in the United States of America. Hemp wood is just as versatile as regular wood and might even be better. It can be used in construction, furniture making, and flooring. Their wood is even 20% stronger than oak.
Hemp Homes Australia is our sister business located in Margaret River, Western Australia. Here, we have completed several architecturally sound and beautifully constructed hemp homes, using industrial hemp that was all grown in Australia. Green Smart Award winner for the HIA 2020. Houses that are non toxic breathable walls, termite resistant, fire proof, high thermal insulation and negative carbon foot print.
Did you know that fibers from hemp crops can be converted to efficient storage devices?
Hemp graphene is a newly-discovered natural alternative to regular graphene, which is a very expensive material used in the manufacturing of nanosheets and supercapacitors for things like electric cars and power tools. The most impressive aspect of this is that hemp graphene can be produced at a fraction of the cost used in producing graphene by exposing hemp fibre to extreme heat and pressure – simply put.
Santa Cruz Shredder is a biodegradable, environmentally-friendly grinder made from hemp bioplastic. As one of the very few products on the market that are inclusive of hemp composites, it’s made from an incredibly durable, 100% Natural Hemp. This shredder possesses square-angle blades that easily break up herb, which produces a fine grind ideal for herbal cigarettes, vaporizers, or teas.
Entwined is a 3D printer filament that is infused with hemp. This makes it the premier and only commercially-available 3D printing filament that has been manufactured using industrial hemp grown and processed in the US. Entwined printing filament does not contain any dyes, so it maintains a natural brown. Its high amount of visible bio-fill is a feature not obtainable with standard PLAs, so look wonderful when combined with them. The blend is 10% hemp byproduct and 90% sustainable PLA, which assists with waste not ending up in landfills.
Hemp Eyewear says it all in the name. All sunglasses are made by hand in a tiny workshop in Edinburgh. They believe in quality design while ensuring sustainability. Their mission is to help bring hemp back into the limelight, and show the world that we already have everything we need to live sustainably. Their journey started six years ago when they discovered hemp and its influence on human development. Their frames are sturdy and light, with fossil fuels eliminated from the creative process through the use of hemp
Perhaps one of the most prominent attire in cultures across the world in 2020 has been the face mask, which became a global necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been many incredible masks hit the market, but Hemp black designed one that really stood out. This mask is not made from hemp but an eco-friendly PET that is treated with their signature /element odour neutralising hemp extract. Their design is simple, and materials are honestly sourced and grounded in science with high functioning textiles.
Scarfini Fins by Darkstar are surfboard fins made using three natural materials. Bamboo Tip, Cork Core, and Hemp Base. Hemp can be used because it is among the strongest natural fibres, which means it is perfect for a rigid fin base. The surfboards are excellent in all wave conditions.
Their hemp charcoal and hemp seed oil products are the first in Australia and possibly the world. These are sourced from the stalks of plants grown in Western Australia. There is a slight, unique grain to hemp charcoal that results in a wonderful exfoliator. Other amazing qualities are that it treats oily skin, reduces pore size, and combats acne.
At this point, there is almost no excuse not to get your hands on some of these wonderful products! Try a hemp product today, support an incredible industry, and most of all, treat yourself with quality products that offer you peace of mind by knowing that you’re helping the planet as well as yourself.