Hemp: Separating Fact from Hype

 Hemp, marijuana, cannabis, CBD: While the terms aren’t interchangeable, some people think they are — and find all of them controversial. One reason is because the cannabis industry has been in the headlines more often lately. Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) last year, and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. That’s fueling a growing popularity of CBD (hemp-based cannabidiol) products.

However, hemp has a long and interesting history that dates back to 8000 BC. It was one of the earliest crops cultivated in China, Russia and Europe, used for making ropes and textile fibers. The world’s first paper, believed to have been produced in China around 100-150 BC, was made from hemp sheets, replacing the heavy tablets and stones that had been used for writing.

Fascinating facts about hemp

  • Evidence exists of old hemp Buddhist texts dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
  • Until 1883, nearly all papers in the world were made from hemp fiber.
  • The Gutenberg Bible, the Declaration of Independence, Mark Twain’s novels, Thomas Paine’s pamphlets and the Magna Carta were all printed on hemp paper.

Let’s take a closer look at what hemp is, its impact on the environment and how it’s being used today.

What is hemp?

The Farm Bill recently revised the definition of hemp. Hemp is a cannabis plant, the same one that produces marijuana, but with one important distinction: It cannot contain more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive component most commonly associated with getting high. Marijuana is rich in THC while hemp is richer in CBD, despite both plants looking and smelling the same. THC and CBD compounds interact with your body but have very different effects.

Is hemp sustainable?

Hemp is environmentally friendly in many ways. It’s a renewable resource that grows more quickly and easily than trees, for example, making hemp a cost-effective alternative to waiting decades for trees to grow. When used for paper making, other types of pulp may be blended with hemp, including cotton and flax. Hemp paper is considered a specialty paper, favored for products such as currency, cigarette papers, filter papers and tea bags.

How can hemp be used?

Let me count the ways! In fact, Textile Today calls hemp “a fiber of hundred uses.” Author Dr. N.N. Mahapatra explains that hemp was important to our ancestors for textile, paper, rope and oil production. Hemp paper is quite strong and durable too.

While industrial uses may not be well-known to the general public, today hemp is used in products such as:

  • Paints and varnishes
  • Particle and MDF board
  • Cellulose plastics
  • Canvas
  • Bio-fuel

In contrast, you’ve probably seen other hemp products boldly displayed right in local retail stores. Neenah Paper is calling “cannabeauty” a movement, not just a trend. CBD-infused products are lining the shelves at stores like Sephora, Barneys and Neiman Marcus. You’ll find CBD in everything from body creams and bar soaps to serums and sleep masks.

CBD oil is also finding its way into edible products, such as supplements and beverages. That’s due to the associated medicinal benefits such as reducing anxiety and relieving pain. It should be noted that these products are not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Association.

To reinforce the natural connection, many of these CBD products use packaging and corporate stationery made from hemp. Because hemp is one of the strongest plants, packaging made from hemp paper offers durability — ideal for product packaging. Not surprisingly, the appeal of hemp extends beyond cannabeauty and CDB products. Hemp paper and packaging is a great option for businesses that want to show their commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Want to know how you can include hemp in your corporate print programs or packaging? Leave a message below or contact us directly.

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