10 Surprising Facts about the Hemp Industry: Hemp is Cannabis, but not the one that comes to mind. Hemp is marijuana’s close cousin or sister, or however you want to label their familial relationship.
Due to its close resemblance to their disdained cousin, hemp has also experienced a long, turbulent campaign.
The history of the hemp industry in the United States is rich and fascinating. Read on to learn more about how the hemp industry has evolved over the years.
1. The Market Is Worth Billions
In 2019, the industrial hemp market was worth $4.71 billion. Between 2020 and 2027, this market is expected to grow at a rate of 15.8%.
Most of the demand for hemp in the U.S. industrial hemp market comes in the form of hemp seeds and hemp fiber. Hemp seeds contain good protein for animal feed and are a good source of seed oil for beauty products.
As the U.S. is still catching up with the rest of the world in terms of hemp production, researchers are still finding the best seeds that will produce a consistent yield.
2. Oversaturation in the Hemp Industry
The 2018 Farm Bill distinguished hemp from marijuana by the levels of THC content in the plant. If a Cannabis plant has less than 0.3% THC, it is not considered marijuana and is thus, legal. The Farm Bill made this distinction to legalize hemp and commercial production of it on industrial hemp farms.
The government’s stride towards legalization (again) has encouraged many farmers to jump at the opportunity to be the first in the industry to take a slice of the industrial hemp pie. When everyone jumps, the market becomes oversaturated.
However, the industrial hemp market has also found innovative ways to process and package industrial hemp into products that consumers want. This includes CBN extraction, which isolates and transforms THC into CBN, a cannabinoid associated with reducing pain, pressure, and anxiety in users.
3. China Is the Top Global Hemp Producer
You may have thought that the U.S. would be the world’s top hemp producer given how big the CBD and industrial hemp markets are in the country. However, the U.S. is only catching up with the rest of the world after its indecisiveness on where it stands on cannabis.
Currently, China is the world’s top hemp producer, followed by Canada, the U.S., France, and then Chile.
4. The U.S. Released a Hemp Propaganda Film
Did you know that the United States Department of Agriculture released a hemp propaganda film back in 1942?
Raymond Evans directed the film and Lee D. Vickers did the voiceover.
At this point in time, the world was at war (World War 2 if you didn’t already figure out) and Japan had already cut off America from supplies of hemp and jute. As war supplies became scarce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had the bright idea to encourage farmers in the United States to grow hemp. Hemp was then used to produce cloth, rope, and other products.
In three years (1942-1945), American farmers had yielded over 400,000 acres of hemp production.
5. U.S. Hemp Production Helped Win a War
When Japan had cut off the United States from much-needed war supplies of hemp and jute, the United States had to find a new source for war supplies.
Thanks to the fourteen-minute black and white hemp propaganda film, Hemp for Victory, the United States was able to replenish its source of war supplies in a short amount of time.
You could say, American farmers and their production of hemp helped lead the country to victory in World War 2.
6. The U.S. Banned Hemp After the War
The United States ushered in mass hemp production in a short amount of time for “necessary purposes” (aka, war). Then, the government tried to go back on its word and renounce its endorsement of hemp.
Remember the hemp propaganda film?
The government tried to erase all traces of it but, two VHS copies of the film survived. Cannabis activist, Jack Herer, and two others: Maria Farrow and Carl Packard donated the copies to the Library of Congress. Now, you can find the black and white film on the Internet with a quick search.
In 1970, the United States moved to ban hemp production as an effort in the War on Drugs.
7. Hemp Has Been Used for Thousands of Years
Humans have always been resourceful. We learned how to make tools and hunt with the nature that was at our fingertips. We ate from plants and also learned how to cultivate and domesticate hemp for its invaluable fibers.
Those who lived in Asia 8000 years ago–what is now modern-day China and Taiwan–were one of the first to have turned hemp into hemp cord and they used hemp seed oil in food.
8. It Was Illegal To Not Grow Hemp
Considering how often the United States has wavered on its stance on hemp and hemp production, isn’t it crazy to think that it was once illegal to not grow hemp?
This was before the United States was even a country.
A few years after the first settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, King James I ordered the new governor of the colony by royal proclamation to inform all property owners to grow hemp for export.
9. Hemp Has Applications in Many Markets
Several markets back the demand for industrial hemp uses in the United States. Some of the top markets in the country for industrial hemp are:
- animal care
- food and beverages
- personal care
Hemp, when combined with lime, produces an eco-friendly construction material that can insulate and absorb carbon at the same time.
For its other top markets, hemp has proven to be a high-nutrient, strong fibrous, and beneficial additive that makes it so popular for animals and humans alike.
10. Interest in CBD Boosted Hemp Production
You may have heard of CBD because it’s everywhere nowadays. You can find it at your local smoke shop and you can even find it at the gas station.
When CBD oil first started making murmurs around the world due to its suggested healing properties, hemp production erupted, as most CBD comes from hemp.
The industrial hemp CBD market is still hot and growing, which means hemp production will, too.
The Future of the Hemp Industry
Humans are endlessly creative and innovative. We’ve already come up with many different ways to use the hemp produced at mass by the U.S. and global hemp industry.
There’s no doubt that even more brilliant minds will create new industrial hemp products and processes to take full advantage of what hemp has to offer.
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