Hemp in NZ
What is Hemp?
Hemp is the low-THC variety of Cannabis Sativa, being low THC hemp has no psychoactive affects (no high) , hemp is an industrial crop which also contains all cannabinoids medicinal cannabis contains however in different ratios.. Hemp has over 25,000 industrial uses, derived from three main resources provided by the plant - the outer stalk's long bast fibres, the inner stalk's wood-like hurds, and the seeds which provide both a nutritious and versatile oil and a protein-rich meal.
Hemp is the world’s strongest, most durable and most versatile natural fiber, and the world’s most environmentally-friendly crop. Hemp has the potential to supply all of our needs - from clothing to housing, fuel to foods, sacrament, medicine and more.
Industrial uses for hemp
Housing - Hempcrete
70% of the Cannabis Sativa Hemp Plant total weight is made up of the 'hurd' or woody inner core. This part of the plant is THC free and is used in housing construction. The silica leached from the soil by the plant combined with unslaked lime forms a chemical bond similar to cement which is fire and water proof. This is commonly known as "Hempcrete"
Hempcrete is the future of sustainable living and building. It is strong, lightweight, breathable and provides incredible insulation.
As a food, hemp has a lot going for it. The seeds can be made into oil with a nutty flavour and a healthful nutritional profile.
It's important to note that the omega-3 in plants is a different type to what we get from oily fish; it may be more difficult for our bodies to process and absorb this type of omega-3.
But hemp seed oil is still a useful and delicious oil. Because of its low smoke point it's best used in dressing and finishing, rather than cooking.The oil, cold-pressed from the seeds, is one of the best known sources of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) and contains a high proportion of beneficial amino acids. Hempseed oil contains the best natural source of Omega-3, 6 and 9, in the perfect ratio 3:1 for human consumption!
Hemp seeds are particularly high in protein compared to other seeds, and it's a complete protein, which is fairly rare among plants; quinoa is another example.
Hemp fibre has over 10'000 uses alone. In fact, farmers were encouraged during WW2 to grow hemp for producing parachutes, uniforms, ship sails & ropes during the war. Today hemp is a fantastic non-toxic alternative to cotton as it requires no pesticides to grow.
Hemp fiber, made from the stalks of the cannabis sativa plant, is the longest, strongest and most durable natural fiber known.Smallholder plots are usually harvested by hand. The plants are cut at 2 to 3 cm above the soil and left on the ground to dry. Mechanical harvesting is now common, using specially adapted cutter-binders or simpler cutters.
Hemp fiber is suitable for apparel, accessories, upholstery and building construction, with higher quality yarns constantly being developed. Hemp cloth can be dyed using current techniques for natural fibers. Hemp screens out around 95% of harmful UV-rays, and has excellent breathability and humidity absorbtion qualities.
Paper made from the inner stalks (hurds) will not yellow or go brittle with age; it also needs no bleaching and may be recycled more times than wood pulp-based paper.
Cellulose derived from hemp is used to make paper products, fabrics, plastics, biofuel and 3D printed objects. The demand is higher than ever, and hemp is the most efficient way of filling the need due to it’s fast growing speed and low reliance on fertilizers and pesticides.
Medicinal uses for hemp
While hemp contains Low traces of THC to some medicinal users this suits them, (those who are not chasing a psychoactive high such as children). Cannabis hemp does contain the full variety of other main cannabinoids namely CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many natural compounds found in the cannabis plant, classed as a cannabinoid. It has drawn the most attention recently to help fight disease and promote health and well-being. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid in cannabis responsible for the famous ‘high’, CBD has no intoxicating effects, in fact, it actually helps reduce the intoxicating effects of THC when they are used together. CBD is commonly consumed as an oil and is extracted from the resin glands of the female cannabis plant.
WHAT MAKES CBD OIL SO GOOD?
The reason cannabidiol (CBD) has so many reported benefits in humans is because we are all born with cannabinoid receptors found throughout our entire body. Human bodies have actually been created with the ability to absorb and use cannabinoids in order to support optimal health. The main receptors, called CB1 and CB2 receptors are designed to bind and interact with cannabinoids, resulting in the active compounds in cannabis to be extremely well absorbed and desired by our bodies. Aside from cannabis, there are other plant-based foods such as chocolate and black pepper that contain cannabinoids, as well as the small amounts our bodies naturally produce.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found broadly across the body where they combine to form the endocannabinoid system.
CBD oil induces the release of our own cannabinoids. Humans produce very small amounts of cannabinoids but supplementing small amounts of CBD oil will actually encourage our body to produce more.
BENEFITS OF CBD OIL
The benefits of CBD are extremely vast. While most have been clinically studied some are anecdotal and have been passed on through centuries of use. The key reported benefits of CBD oil are:
- Cancer management
- Pain management
- Appetite control
- Blood sugar control
- Autoimmune Disease support
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Epilepsy support
- Anxiety and PMS
With our endocannabinoid system spreading through all main organs of our body, it is easy to understand how CBD can have such a wide reach. In each tissue the cannabinoid system performs different tasks but the goal is always the same, and that is to maintain a stable internal environment, despite fluctuations in the external environment.
INFORMATION FOR FARMERS:
* A total yield of 3.5 tons/acre with a 25% fibre content yields 1750 lbs of fibre and tow.
* Between 25 - 50% of this (440 - 875 lbs) can actually be spun into a textile-grade yarn.
* A cloth spun of number-10 hemp yarn, similar to a jeans denim, weighs about 400g/m2.
* One acre yields between 500 and 1000 square meters of this fabric.
* One million pairs of jeans would require only 2000 - 4000 acres.
* A typical seed crop yields 20 to 30 bushels per acre, or about 900 to 1300 lbs per acre.
* Wholesale prices for hemp seed in the USA vary between 20c - 90c per pound. (NZ 30c - $1.40)
* Farmers would therefore gross between US$375 - $1200 (NZ$575 - $1850) per acre.
* Pressing seeds for oil usually yields 25% oil by weight, therefore 14 - 21 gallons per acre.
* Hemp seed oil currently sells for between US$50 - $100 per gallon (NZ$77 - 153).
* Gross Income per acre would therefore be between US$700 -$2100 (NZ$1076 - 3230).
(source: Ed Rosenthal, 1995)
New Zealand farmers can expect a net income of at least $800 per acre per year. (NZ Hemp Industries Association). In comparison, New Zealand farmers are now earning $300-350/acre for sheep, $250/acre for cattle, and $330/acre for wheat (NZ Federated Farmers).
New Zealand has a massive variety of hemp growers and hemp businesses, Harvest Festival will have many of these great people and their businesses showing their progression with this world saving plant.