Hemp Federation was created because of our firm belief in the future of Industrial Hemp as a key solution in the battle against climate change. We wanted to be able to help stimulate growth of Industrial Hemp sector, and what better way to do this, than to connect all facets of the value chain.

Canadian farmers are second to none in their ability to adapt, utilize new innovations, and recognize trends. Not only have they recognized the increasing trends to utilize Industrial Hemp for a number of industries, they have taken action. We have seen a significant increase in the amount of acreage dedicated to this wondrous plant, and we wanted to ensure that everyone saw the ample opportunity to get involved in an extremely promising industry.

Currently, there are numerous uses for the Industrial Hemp Plants, we have highlighted a few below.

Hemp: The Modern Day Buffalo

The old Native American adage of the buffalo is more relevant than ever today. It was said that the Natives didn’t waste any part of the buffalo, the meat, the hide, the bone, the organs all had a use – this is echoed in today’s use of Hemp. Its exterior skin, to the woody core, flowers, roots, and even dust from processing have a multitude of uses.

Please take a minute to view the graphic below displaying only a portion of the uses of this plant.

Hemp Vs. Marijuana: Key Differences

There are a number of factors that differentiate Industrial Hemp from Marijuana, although both of these plants do fall under the Cannabis Sativa L. family. There are three easily identifiable and distinct points that can be used to define the contrast in these two plants.

1. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Content!

The THC is the psychoactive content present in marijuana that creates the ‘high’ normally associated with cannabis. Typically, Industrial Hemp is regulated in it’s THC content by having less than or equal to 0.3% THC in each plant. This percentage varies across the globally, for example in the UK, industrial hemp must have under 0.2% THC, while in Colombia Industrial Hemp is restricted to a generous 1% THC. In Marijuana, the THC percentage can reach as high as 30% in some rare cases! This simply means that Industrial Hemp generally won’t provide any psychoactive effect, while marijuana provides medical and recreational characteristics that induce altered state of mind.

2. Cultivation

While this typically remains true, there are specific cases we will highlight where this may not always be the case. Generally speaking, Industrial Hemp requires vertical space to grow, you can find breeds that will reach up to 15 feet tall! This differs from marijuana in that marijuana requires horizontal space to grow (General rule of thumb is 3 sq. ft. per plant), resulting in much shorter and wider plants. Furthermore, marijuana requires significantly more care, attention, and resources than its cousin Industrial Hemp, which is known to be a tough and resilient plant. If, however, you are growing Industrial Hemp for CBD and the flowers are main purpose of cultivation, a similar process for cultivation to marijuana would be required.

3. Applications

One of the most distinct features between these plants are the applications of them. Industrial Hemp, as seen above, has a plethora of applications in the industrial space. These are what can be considered ‘practical’ applications, while marijuana possesses ‘recreational’ applications. Marijuana, as stated in point 1, is typically aimed at high THC which renders the user intoxicated.

Impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) is a group of 17 mandates aimed towards creating positive global change, and committed to by every UN member-nation, as seen below.

We firmly believe that Hemp has the ability to answer a number of mandates posed by the UN, and create significant change within certain spheres. Whether it be the ability to provide low-cost sustainable protein source, oils, paper products, or a number of other solutions, it is worth being explored. We have highlighted some of the ways these goals are addressed through hemp below:

1. No Poverty – An ambitious goal, and by no stretch can Hemp fully solve this problem, but it can definitely affect it. First, Industrial Hemp can provide low-cost, sustainable protein through its hemp hearts, which carry a plethora of nutrients – they contain 33% protein, ~40% healthy fats which are rich in Omega 3’s and 6’s. On a smaller, scale those nations with proximity to nations with high purchase power could see an advantage from cultivating their own hemp, such as Mexico.

2. Zero Hunger – This ties in with the first point, through the hemp hearts, and indirect income increase through work and cultivation of the plant.

3. Good Health and Well-Being – Hemp can impact this area greatly! The health effects from climate change include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health. Through Hemp’s impressive ability for carbon sequestration, as well as providing alternatives to harvest slower renewables, its potential is incredible.

4. Quality Education – According to the GlobalCitizen, two of the top five reasons that hold back children in impoverished countries from receiving proper education can easily be addressed via hemp. First, not having a classroom – Hempcrete can provide sustainable solutions for building materials, and can be grown locally to cut down logistics cost of acquiring the necessary hemp.

5. Gender Equality – Statistics show, compared to men, women and girls are still more severely affected by poverty, hunger, and disease. When food is scarce, women generally get the smallest portions, limiting their nutritional intake and ability to compete for the same societal roles as men which require physical exertion. Starting with agriculture is a great opportunity for women to control their own food supply, as well as generate income for themselves. This is obviously still limited by sexism and other cultural blockades, but it is low-barrier to entry role that women could fill to compete with their male counterparts.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation – Hemp can directly impact this mandate. Primarily, through its use as a bio-composite alternative to plastics, by utilizing hemp, we can significantly decrease the amount of plastic in our oceans. Furthermore, hemp consumes significantly less water than many of its counterparts such as cotton & trees.

7. Affordable and Clean Energy – Hemp can also directly impact this mandate. From its seed, oil can be produced to be used as a biodiesel. Through the full stalk, methanol can be produced as an a sustainable green fuel.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth – Again, through the increased utilization of the Hemp crop, we can see more jobs available in all portions of the value chain. More than this, hemp can be used to increase soil health, resulting in a wider array of crops to be utilized in a rotation.

9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure – Whether it is the carbon fiber alternatives, paper alternatives, diesel alternatives, plastic alternatives or concrete alternatives, there is incredible room to impact this goal.

10. Reduced Inequalities – This goes back to point 5, not only will it help fight gender inequality, but economic inequality. Hemp can provide low-cost food options that are available to all, low-cost textile options for all, and sustainable and cheap costs for biodiesel among others. This gives access to nutrition to compete for more opportunities which require physical exertion, clothing that can be created sustainable and for low-cost, and finally oil that can be used to transport those with limited access to fuel.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities – Obviously this is something that Hemp can greatly impact, starting with its use to construct buildings via hempcrete. Its use as a sustainable alternative to the many industrial practices that contribute to carbon emissions is evident in the graphic above.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production – Again, this is tied in with the previous points. Lets take a look at a specific example, that being the ability to create a closed loop system in textiles. If combined with cotton, the hemp can decompose, leaving viable cotton for recycling and put back into the production chain. Moving on from textiles, hemp paper can be used as a great alternative to wood pulp paper with several capabilities more impressive than wood pulp. Hemp paper can be recycled up to eight (8) times, vs wood pulp paper has the ability to be recycled three (3) times. Hemp paper also doesn’t yellow or brown like wood pulp paper.

13. Climate Action – At this point, we are doing our best to not repeat ourselves but this is echoed in every point brought up thus far. Let’s take a look at paper, hemp can be grown for paper, with its production capacity 200% greater than wood pulp for the same dedicated acreage, and in incredibly faster time frames. Other than this, it requires low water consumption and can be grown organically with no pesticides, although contrary to popular belief there are a number of pests common to hemp.

14. Life Below Water – Circling back to point 6, the biggest contribution hemp can have on this goal is through its impact on reducing plastic use. Once companies like Maersk introduce their net zero ships, it can have an impact as a source for methanol to lower direct pollution from freighters.

15. Life on Land – Aside from all the reasons listed before, the two that are most striking is the carbon sequestration of hemp, as well as the preservation of forests through utilization of hemp in paper production.

16. Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions – A strong and healthy society reverberates into their societal structures. By ensuring people are fed, the land and seas are clean, and people have equal opportunity to pursue economic avenues, this allows for increased peace, which gives a clear mind when thinking about justice. Hemp can have a indirect impact on this in commercial use.

17. Partnership for the Goals – As more nations legalize Industrial Hemp, as the stigma around the crop are worn away, increased trade will occur. The trade will stimulate all 16 prior goals and creation of opportunities to utilize different applications of the crop.

The European Industrial Hemp Association listed quite clearly, some of the environmental benefits presented by the use of hemp, as seen below.

  • Protects the environment: Hemp can be grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. Hemp is suitable for cultivation near surface water. Hemp is in the top 5 out of 23 crops for biodiversity friendliness, performing better than all major crops such as wheat, maize or rapeseed (Montford and Small, 1999).
  • Excellent carbon sequestration: One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. Hemp’s rapid growth makes it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, more efficient than agro- forestry.
  • Restores soil health: Due to its vigorous growth, hemp is known to be a pioneer plant that can be used for land reclamation and indeed phytoremediation; ‘cleaning’ land polluted by heavy metals. Hemp is a valuable preceding crop in rotations. After cultivation the soil is left in optimum condition.
  • Hemp contains around 65-70% cellulose (wood contains around 40%, flax 65-75%, and cotton up to 90%); Hemp represents a sustainable and carbon negative source of plasticizing material.
  • Making one tonne of steel emits 1.46 tonnes of CO2 and 198kg of CO2 is emitted to make one tonne of reinforced concrete. One square metre of timber framed, hemp- lime wall (weighing 120kg), after allowing for the energy cost of transporting and assembling the materials actually stores 35.5kg of CO2.
  • Body panels and chassis components made from hemp are lighter weight than steel or metal which improves fuel efficiency and are far more dent resistant than steel. Every bit of plastic, carpeting and upholstery in a car can be made of hemp. “Porsche’s smoking hot new race car, the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport features composite doors that use an organic fibre mix from hemp and flax. Porsche says the organic ingredients used are agricultural byproducts, making it more environmentally friendly.” Source: FoxNews

Canada’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

Considering Canada’s adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development goals, there is ample opportunity for the hemp plant to create change domestically, before having to travel outside our borders. In fact, the Government of Canada has their own set of 13 Sustainability Development Goals, as seen below.

Canada renews their commitments to these goals every three (3) years, and these are the issues they have set to address between 2019-2022. You may ask, how can Industrial Hemp can play a role in tackling sustainability issues like these?

12/13 of these goals are in-line with UN SDG’s, and as such, please refer to the section above on how these points can be addressed. The only point not in-line, would be ‘Connecting Canadians with Nature’ – this could be done through forest and water preservation via hemp utilization as described above.

Industry Information Continued