Batteries offer a growing hope as the world transitions away from non-renewable sources of energy, like natural gas and coal, to a more sustainable energy grid. Lithium-ion batteries now power a rising number of electric vehicles and even allow homeowners with solar panels to store power while the sun is shining and use it when darkness falls. However, there is a downside to batteries. Lithium mines can leak toxic chemicals into the soil and water of surrounding communities. Could hemp batteries be a better solution?

Hemp-based batteries are an exciting area of research that may one day play an important role in the future of renewable energy. What exactly are batteries made from hemp, and could hemp batteries be better than lithium?

What Are Hemp Batteries?

The concept of hemp batteries was first launched into the academic world by ACS Nano. Research conducted in 2013 demonstrated how scientists were able to pull carbon from hemp to create “unique interconnected partially graphite carbon nanosheets.”

In plain English, the researchers used fibers from industrial hemp to form thin sheets of what is known as substrates, which line the inside of a special type of battery called a supercapacitor. The exciting findings from the paper were that the carbon nanosheets made from hemp worked better in some regards than graphene, the current material used in batteries.

The bottom line is that hemp could be used to make a better type of supercapacitor.

How Are Batteries Made from Hemp?

It’s tempting to imagine an entire battery made out of a hemp plant, with leaves, stalks, and hemp flowers all compacted into a battery shape. In reality, hemp plays a very specific role in making a supercapacitor.

Waste fibers from hemp, known as bast and hurd, are heated over a long period of time in order to extract carbon molecules from the cellulose of the plant. It is this carbon that ends up playing a role in the battery. The carbon from the hemp plant is used to make carbon nanosheets, which conduct electricity.

Hemp Batteries vs. Lithium-Ion Batteries

It’s exciting to think that hemp-based batteries may one day replace lithium-ion batteries, but it isn’t exactly accurate to perform a direct comparison of hemp and lithium batteries. In actuality, hemp batteries operate differently than lithium-ion batteries.

We’ve referred to hemp batteries as “supercapacitors.” Think of a battery-powered car or truck. They need a steady amount of electric energy as they drive down a country road. However, if that car stops at a red light, the battery will need a big burst of energy when the light turns green to get going again.

Lithium-ion batteries are great at storing energy for a long time and expending it slowly. However, they are not so good at rapidly releasing a large amount of energy, like what a car needs when a red light turns green.

Guess what is good at performing that function? Yep, supercapacitors. These types of batteries can discharge their entire load of energy quickly to provide a big boost of energy. That’s exactly what an electric vehicle needs to accelerate quickly. While supercapacitors don’t hold a charge for long, they can absorb regenerative energy from braking.

Although hemp batteries can’t replace lithium-ion batteries, they can work together to make vehicles and many other electric-powered machinery work better and more efficiently.

The Benefits of Hemp-Based Batteries

How might batteries made from hemp be better than current supercapacitors that use graphene nanosheets?

  • High Energy Density: Energy density refers to the amount of energy a battery can hold based on its weight. The higher energy density a battery has, the stronger the battery. A 2016 study conducted by Carbon found that hemp-based batteries contained an energy density of 19.8 Watt-hours per kilogram.
  • Cost: One of the benefits of using hemp over graphene is that hemp batteries can be made using hemp waste that hemp farmers don’t need. This makes hemp both easy to find and much cheaper than graphene. Over the next decades, the world is going to need a lot of batteries to power its vehicles, homes, and cities. Cheaper batteries made with hemp could keep the cost of this transition much lower.
  • Availability: Graphene is a versatile “it” material that is finding its way in everything from silicon chips to solar cells and, of course, batteries. However, one of the biggest downsides of graphene is that it is difficult to make in large quantities. Hemp, on the other hand, can grow to maturity in a few months and is known for its ability to grow in many different types of soil, including soils that cannot sustain other crops.
  • Superconductivity: Batteries need to conduct electricity with as little resistance as possible. The more resistant a material is to conductivity, the less efficient the battery will be. Hemp-based batteries showed extremely good conductivity.
  • Temperature Resistance: The conductivity of hemp batteries remains high even in hot and cold temperatures according to the original study on hemp-based batteries. This is especially important when considering that this technology could one day find itself in vehicles that need to function in searing summer heat as well as icy winter weather.

Will We Someday Have Batteries Made of Hemp in Our Vehicles?

How likely is a future filled with hemp batteries? As of now, the idea is still in the early development stages, but one of the authors of the original study Dr. David Mitlin said, “We’re past the proof-of-principle stage for the fully functional supercapacitor. Now we’re gearing up for small-scale manufacturing.”

It really isn’t so odd to think that hemp may one day power our cars. In fact, there is also growing excitement around the idea of hemp fuel.

These days, CBD and CBG farmers have an increasing number of options when it comes to creating a secondary income stream from their hemp biomass. That hemp could be used for hempcrete, hemp plastic, and even – someday – hemp batteries!

Believe it or not, the very first paper in the world was partially made of hemp. Our ancestors may have been on to something. Today, Americans use 850,000,000 tons of paper per year, which translates to 680 pounds of paper per person. That’s a massive amount of trees being cut down to produce disposables like grocery bags, junk mail, and – yes – toilet paper. Could hemp paper be a more eco-friendly alternative to wood-based paper? Many signs point to yes.

Industrial hemp paper offers many advantages over traditional wood-based paper and the current challenges to widespread adoption of hemp paper products seem surmountable. Best of all, hemp paper may offer yet another income stream for CBD and CBG farmers looking to monetize their hemp biomass.

We’ve been digging into some of the most promising new uses of hemp, especially as it relates to supporting environmental sustainability. Hemp paper may just be the most exciting possibility yet.

How Is Hemp Paper Made?

Hemp plants contain fibers that can be turned into paper. The process of hemp paper production is similar to traditional paper-making methods. Most hemp paper is made from short hemp hurds, which come from the inner core of the hemp stalk. The process begins by separating the pulp from the rest of the plant. This pulp is then broken down by shredding, beating, or boiling it into a resulting pulp slurry.

After mixing some additives into the slurry, it is removed from the water and spread onto a screen where it is pressed and dried. The result is a roll of strong, soft paper that can be used in numerous ways.

Hemp paper can be used in nearly every way as traditional paper. In fact, its greater tensile strength makes industrial hemp paper especially useful for items like paper money, stamps, paper towels, and other products that need to hold up against a lot of usages.

The History of Hemp Paper

If hemp paper sounds too good to be true, it’s not. In fact, our ancestors have been using it for centuries.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that hemp paper has been around the block of human history and has even played a role in some of our most important historical events. Around 200 to 150 BC, ancient Chinese inventors in the early Western Han Dynasty recognized that smashing hemp fabric and other plant matter into thin sheets was a great alternative to recording information on clay tablets.

Hemp paper only grew in popularity from there. It was an important resource in the American colonies. Thomas Paine wrote his famous pamphlets on hemp paper and early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were inked on hemp paper.

Industrial hemp paper continued to enjoy high esteem in the new country throughout the 19th century. In fact, Mark Twain’s novels were all printed on hemp paper. However, the fortunes of hemp changed in the 1930s. This might have been due to strong lobbying from textile and newspaper companies that wanted wood-based paper to dominate.

These special interests got their wish. Eventually, industrial hemp cultivation was outlawed in the United States all the way up until the 2018 US Farm Bill finally allowed for the production of industrial hemp once again. Though hemp cultivation has been stuck on the sidelines for over five decades, renewed interest in hemp paper is building rapidly.

Hemp Paper Benefits

With an infrastructure already well-established to process and produce paper made from trees, is there any reason to even consider switching over to hemp paper? The answer is yes. When comparing hemp paper vs. wood paper, hemp comes out on top in many ways.

Hemp Makes Better Paper

Probably the biggest advantage hemp has over trees is that it simply makes better quality paper. As the Ministry of Hemp reports, hemp paper is more durable than wood paper and “does not yellow, crack, or deteriorate like tree paper.”

Hemp Produces More Paper Than Hemp

It takes trees 20 to 80 years to grow to full maturity, while a hemp plant hits adulthood in 100 to 120 days. As a result, it takes four to 10 acres of trees to produce as much paper as a single acre of hemp over a 20-year period. While a new crop of trees are still in their infancy, a hemp crop can be grown and harvested over and over again.

Hemp Can Prevent Deforestation

Even with the growing use of regenerative lumber harvesting, it still takes decades to re-establish a forest that has been harvested. The average American uses seven trees worth of paper products every year, adding up to over two billion trees per year. That loss is staggering.

Trees are crucial to absorbing and storing carbon dioxide as well as maintaining rich, healthy soil. They play a part in the natural water cycle that helps keep land cool. They also provide a habitat for a large portion of Earth’s land animals and plants.

Every year, huge swaths of trees are being cut down around the globe. The switch to industrial hemp paper can help slow deforestation.

Hemp Paper Production Uses Fewer Harmful Chemicals

The production of wood-based paper is a surprisingly dirty process that requires the bleaching of wood pulp. The chlorine bleach, (which is, fortunately, beginning to fall out of favor), contains nasty sulfur compounds and nitrogen oxides that can be released into the air. The process also discharges wastewater that includes bleaching compounds that can harm land and water.

The production of hemp paper, on the other hand, does not require bleaching, which can lead to less chemical waste in the environment.

Hemp Paper is Easier to Recycle

With its higher tensile strength, hemp paper can be recycled many more times than wood-based paper. The more a paper product can be recycled, the less paper needs to be made altogether.

Hemp Paper Offers a Variety of Uses

Hemp paper can be made into many of the products that currently rely on tree-based paper, above and beyond writing paper. Imagine a world of money, paper towels, and toilet paper all made from the hemp plant instead of trees.

The Challenges of Switching to Industrial Hemp Paper

Hemp paper sounds great, right? It’s a wonder that we don’t immediately demand that all paper made from this point on come from hemp. As much as that might sound like a good idea, it’s not practical. The biggest challenge to the widespread adoption of hemp paper is the huge head start wood-based paper production gained over the past decades when industrial hemp was illegal to grow.

As of today, we don’t have the infrastructure or nearly enough hemp to cover the vast paper needs of the country. Because the infrastructure isn’t available, hemp paper is currently a specialty product that is often priced much higher than traditional paper.

Here’s some good news. Things are beginning to change. As hemp farming explodes across America, interest in hemp paper is growing along with it. And as demand for hemp paper grows, paper mills may be incentivized to update their equipment and processes to begin processing hemp.

One big component of bringing hemp paper mainstream will be growing enough hemp to supply the increasing need. That’s where CBD and CBG farmers might be able to step up to the task.

Opportunities for CBD and CBG Farmers

After harvesting hemp flower for CBD or CBG, hemp farmers find themselves with acres of leftover hemp stalks. This isn’t waste that should be discarded — instead, it could represent an additional source of revenue. With interest growing in hemp-made products, including hemp paper, this hemp biomass could turn into a secondary income stream.

Hemp farmers may want to reach out to a hemp broker to connect them to a biomass buyer. They can also do a little legwork to try and reach biomass buyers directly. The results could be well worth the effort, especially if the leavings in your field can save acres of trees.

New Opportunities Are Everywhere

We are still at the precipice of what is possible with the 2018 legalization of industrial hemp in the United States. As more and more farmers enter into the business, the market for hemp biomass should continue to grow. Some companies are already producing and selling hemp paper products. It’s a mere matter of time before innovative organizations begin to scale up hemp paper production. Today’s CBD and CBG farmers could be at the forefront of that exciting and environmentally friendly development.

 

Wood flooring, furniture, and accents can add beauty and warmth to a home. It’s truly no wonder why wood is one of the most popular materials for interior decor. However, wood does carry quite a bit of ecological baggage. It takes decades for a tree to grow, and the widespread use of wood in the construction and home renovation sectors can lead to deforestation and all the ecological peril that entails. While the use of reclaimed wood is growing in popularity, it can’t cover the surging demand for wood. Can innovative and sustainable materials, like hemp wood, offer a better solution?

Recently, we’ve been looking at all the different ways hemp can be used to provide eco-friendly alternatives to polluting products we’ve almost taken for granted, like hemp plastic, hemp concrete, and hemp biofuel. Hemp wood definitely belongs in this category. Though still a relatively new creation, hemp wood already poses several considerable benefits over traditional wood flooring and other structures while also being the more environmentally friendly choice.

What Is Hemp Wood?

Like cork, bamboo, and eucalyptus flooring, hemp wood is made from the fibers of hemp plants, which are held together by an adhesive. The result is a smooth, beautiful wood substitute that looks and feels like oak.

While hemp paper has been around for centuries and hemp biofuel powered some of Henry Ford’s first Model Ts, hemp wood only appeared on the market a few years ago. However, in this short time, it’s managed to garner a lot of excitement. Already, you can purchase hemp flooring, hemp furniture, and even hemp picture frames.

How Is Hemp Wood Flooring Made?

The industrial hemp plant contains two different fibers. The fine bast is most often used to create hemp paper and hemp fabric. The woody hurds in the inner stem can be turned into building materials, including hemp wood.

The actual process includes cutting the hemp from the field, stripping off the leaves, softening the stalk, combing the fibers, treating the fibers, and aligning the fibers. The fibers are then compressed and glued together using a substance called a binder. Manufacturers looking to keep the product’s environmental footprint as low as possible typically use a plant-based resin as a binder. The most popular is a soy-based adhesive.

The result of the process is a wood-like composite of hemp fibers that have many properties of wood, including a wood-like feel and strength. The composite can then be cut into planks and boards to be used in flooring.

The Benefits of Hemp Flooring

Not only does hemp wood look and feel like real wood, but it also offers several important advantages over the real thing.

1. Hemp Wood Is Stronger Than Wood

Hemp wood is 20% harder than oak with a density rating of 50 – 55 pounds per cubic foot. This is a big deal because one of the biggest disadvantages of many types of hardwood floors is that they can be scratched and dented easily. Hemp wood is much more durable.

2. Hemp Wood Is Sustainable

While it takes oak, hickory, and maple trees hundreds of years to grow, hemp plants reach maturity in just 120 days — less if you grow autoflowers. Trees also provide homes and shelters to wildlife. Their foliage keeps the ground cool and helps keep moisture in the soil. Rampant deforestation is a big contributor to climate change and habitat loss for many species across the world.

Hemp wood can help keep trees in the ground. Hemp can grow in a wide range of soils, even in places where other crops can’t survive, so it doesn’t need to take over land already in use. As it grows, hemp acts as a natural carbon sink, pulling carbon from the atmosphere. Best of all is its fast maturation. Once hemp is harvested, a whole new crop can be planted and grown in another few months.

3. Hemp Wood Can Be Non-Toxic

Most of the current hemp wood on the market is made using an organic soy adhesive, which doesn’t contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In contrast, many other types of flooring use seriously harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde.

4. Hemp Wood Offers Greater Stability

Along with being more durable than most hardwood flooring, hemp wood is also less likely to warp or twist over time.

5. Hemp Wood is Fully Recyclable

Hemp flooring made using a soy adhesive is completely recyclable and biodegradable.

The Drawbacks of Hemp Wood

The primary drawback of hemp wood is that it retails for around $10 per square foot. This makes it considerably more expensive than many wood flooring options, as well as wood alternatives, like bamboo and luxury vinyl. Additionally, hemp wood flooring that uses a soy adhesive is less waterproof than flooring that uses more toxic adhesives.

As time goes on and production methods become more efficient, it’s likely that the price of hemp wood will drop.

What Is the Future of Hemp Wood?

It’s too early to tell if hemp wood will become a popular flooring alternative to hardwood flooring or whether we’ll start to see hemp wood tables, chairs, and the like appear in retail stores. However, as builders and consumers actively call for more sustainable materials, hemp wood certainly seems like a potential game-changer.

It may also represent a game-changing opportunity for CBD and CBG hemp farmers. Farmers primarily interested in growing hemp for CBD or CBG have the potential to develop a secondary income stream by selling their hemp biomass to companies that could turn it into hemp wood. This might be a topic worth discussing with your hemp broker or looking into yourself.

At High Grade Hemp Seed, we love the idea of our customers getting the most bang for each hemp seed they plant in the ground. Of course, our first consideration is offering feminized hemp seeds with the highest quantity of CBG or CBD, but we wouldn’t mind putting our feet up on a hemp wood table at the end of the day! Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our hemp seed strains.

Plastic is everywhere. It’s in the smartphones in our pockets, the cars we drive, the packaging of consumer goods, and the jet planes that streak across the sky. Plastic helps the world run, but it’s also leaving a devastating impact on the environment as it piles up in landfills or finds its way into the ocean. Is hemp plastic an alternative solution that can allow us to keep enjoying plastic while protecting our planet?

What Is Hemp Plastic?

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in the US has raised serious interest in the many ways hemp can be used to combat climate change. Ironically, integrating hemp into some of our most used products isn’t a new concept at all. In fact, Henry Ford built a car largely from hemp in the 1940s and even experimented with hemp biofuel.

So, what exactly is hemp plastic? It is a bioplastic – a sustainable plastic created from biodegradable material – made from the cellulose of hemp plants. All plastic is derived from cellulose, including plastic made with petroleum. Hemp-based plastics can be made using the leaves, seed husks, and stems of hemp plants which are often considered byproducts for farmers growing hemp for CBD and CBG.

Industrial hemp plastic isn’t exactly like plastic made from petroleum. Hemp bioplastic is much stronger than traditional plastic, but it can also be highly flexible, allowing it to be shaped into many different things that currently rely on petroleum-based plastic.

How Is Hemp Made into Plastic?

The hemp to plastic process can vary, as there are several different ways to turn hemp into plastic. The main step in the process is to extract cellulose from the hemp plant. This can be done by pulping hemp plants and separating the cellulose using water, acid solutions, and/or heat and pressure.
The extracted cellulose can then be made into several different types of hemp bioplastic, including:

  • Hemp cellulose: An organic polymer that is mainly used to make paper but can also be made into a wide range of other plastics.
  • Cellophane and rayon: Classified as regenerated cellulose fibers, these fibers are used to make cellophane film, the material you put over that bowl of leftover salad, or rayon fiber which can be used in all sorts of fabrics, from sheets to curtains or even the clothes you’re wearing right now.
  • Cellulose nanocrystals: Can be used in different applications, including nanopaper, barrier films, and more.
  • Nanocellulose: A “pseudoplastic” that can alternate between a gel-like substance or a liquid. Nanocellulose has multiple valuable uses, including as a highly absorbent agent that has been used to clean up oil spills and used in sanitary products.
  • Composite hemp plastics: Plastics that incorporate cellulose as well as a range of other polymers that may be natural or synthetic. Composite products are highly variable and can be used in a huge range of ways, including to make building materials, boats, car panels, and more.

What are the Benefits of Hemp Plastic?

To understand just how revolutionary hemp plastic could be in the fight against climate change, we need to discuss the problems with plastic. Mainly, two big problems. First, the world likes plastic… a lot. Research conducted by Science Advances discovered that we’ve created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic just in the past six decades. The second major problem is that the vast majority of plastic is made from petroleum, the same substance that’s used to make gasoline.

Digging petroleum out of the ground and turning it into plastic is a dirty business. The EPA calculated that producing an ounce of polyethylene (PET), the most common type of plastic, also creates one ounce of carbon dioxide.

Perhaps most destructive of all is that plastic made from petroleum lasts… and lasts… and lasts. It can stick around for as little as 20 years (for plastic bags) all the way up to 500 years (for disposable diapers and toothbrushes). The vast majority of plastic – around 79% — ends up in landfills or in the environment. With this unhappy reality in mind, hemp plastic offers a much better and cleaner alternative.

The biggest benefits of hemp plastic are:

Benefit #1: It’s biodegradable

Rather than taking 500 years, hemp plastic decomposes in three to six months.

Benefit #2: It’s a renewable resource

There’s only so much petroleum in the world, and we’re using it much faster than it can be replenished. Hemp, on the other hand, grows quickly and easily. It matures in roughly four months and can grow in a wide variety of soils across the world. After harvesting a hemp crop, a new crop can be planted the next season.

Benefit #3: Hemp makes for durable plastic

Hemp plastic is stronger and more durable than petroleum-based plastic and, therefore, is less likely to break. It’s also lighter than petroleum-based plastic.

Benefit #4: No toxins

Hemp plants contain no dangerous toxins. Petroleum-based plastics can contain a number of chemical compounds, including BPA.

Benefit #5: Easy to recycle

There’s a reason the vast majority of petroleum-based plastic ends up in landfills. In spite of high-profile recycling campaigns, it’s actually very difficult to recycle. Conversely, hemp plastic is easy to recycle.

Benefit #6: Carbon trapping

Hemp is well-known for absorbing lots of carbon as it grows. This carbon is locked into hemp plastic made from cellulose, helping to sequester excess carbon in the atmosphere.

What is the Future of Hemp Plastic?

If hemp-based plastics are so amazing, why isn’t everything made from hemp plastic yet? The answer is that the infrastructure to produce and distribute hemp plastic is just now being built, both in the United States and around the world. Hemp plastic may not seem like a game-changer now, but its future is bright. Today, companies are spending a lot of money to research ways to transition away from petroleum-based plastic, and LEGO even announced its intent to switch to a sustainable resin for its famous blocks by 2030.

One of the most exciting parts of this story for us here at High Grade Hemp Seed is that hemp plastic could potentially be made from the hemp byproduct, or hemp biomass, left behind after harvesting the buds from CBD or CBG. That means farmers have one more potential revenue stream for their crop.

What could be better than earning more money for growing hemp while also helping the planet? At High Grade Hemp Seed, we love to work with farmers who are interested in finding the right balance between high CBD or CBG yields and growing plenty of biomass for a secondary cash crop. Take a look at all of our high-yield hemp strains and give us a call today to talk to one of our knowledgeable experts. We can’t wait to work with you in our mission to lower the use of petroleum-based plastic!

Though hemp fuel may seem like a futuristic idea, it’s actually an old concept that dates back to the birth of the automotive revolution. In fact, Henry Ford designed some of his first Model T cars to run on hemp biofuel as well as gasoline. Oh, what could have been if discoveries of large crude oil deposits in the early 20th century and fierce lobbying from the petroleum industry hadn’t crowned oil as king of the road.

Fortunately, interest in hemp fuel and other environmental benefits of industrial hemp has been growing, especially after the 2018 US Farm Bill allowed for the widespread production of industrial hemp in the United States. What is hemp fuel, exactly? How does it compare to more traditional energy sources, like oil? Most importantly, is a world running on hemp biofuel a pie-in-the-sky dream or a possible future reality?

What Is Hemp Fuel?

It should be no surprise that the incredibly versatile hemp plant can also be converted into the energy our power-hungry world needs.
In essence, hemp biofuel can be divided into two distinct categories:

  • Hemp biodiesel
  • Hemp ethanol

Hemp Biodiesel

You’re probably aware that some types of vehicles run on a substance called diesel instead of gasoline or electricity. You’ve even likely noticed that many gas station pumps include diesel options. Diesel is less refined than gasoline and is typically used for larger motors, like semi-trucks, buses, ocean-bound ships, construction equipment, trains, and more. However, you can also find sedans and consumer trucks that also run on diesel. (Though most diesel consumer vehicles are sold in Europe.)

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel made with a mixture of vegetable oils and diesel fuel. It is both renewable and biodegradable. Although most biodiesels are made from soybean oil, many different substances can be turned into biodiesel, including animal fat, restaurant cooking oil, algae, and – you guessed it – hemp.

Hemp diesel is made from pressing hemp seeds to extract oil, which can then be mixed with traditional diesel and put directly into any compatible diesel engine. One extra fun side effect of using hemp biodiesel is that instead of a vehicle emitting a chemical, sooty smell, a car running on hemp diesel will smell like hemp.

Hemp Ethanol

Ethanol is a type of clear alcohol that can be used as biofuel. Like biodiesel, ethanol can be made from a variety of substances, including grains, sugars, and starches. In 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard set minimum renewable fuel requirements that would gradually rise over time. As a result, by 2020 most gasoline sold in the United States contains around 10% ethanol by volume according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Most of today’s commercial ethanol is made from corn, sorghum, barley, sugar cane, or sugar beets. However, hemp can also be turned into ethanol. The process of making fuel from hemp involves shredding the hemp stalk and then heating it with chemicals to release the cellulose from the plant matter. The cellulose is then broken down into sugar using special enzymes. This sugar is fermented into ethanol which must then be purified and distilled to become a usable biofuel.

The Benefit of Using Hemp Fuel for Cars

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last few decades, then you probably know that fossil fuels aren’t doing our planet any favors. Research conducted by the EPA found that every gallon of gasoline burned puts 8,887 grams of CO2 into the air. When you consider that the average driver puts 11,500 miles on their car per year, that results in the typical vehicle emitting 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Hemp is a renewable and sustainable resource, unlike both coal and petroleum. Additionally, since hemp ethanol is made from the plant’s stalk, it doesn’t compete with the food stock. Consider that 40% of corn grown in the US is used for ethanol instead of feeding people and livestock.

Hemp also grows fast (reaching maturity around four months), doesn’t require as many pesticides as many other crops, and is renowned for absorbing CO2 as it grows. Finally, hemp can grow in many different climates and can thrive in soils where other biofuel plants can’t get a toehold. This means countries all over the world can grow hemp and take more control over their fuel inventory.

For these reasons is it time to start looking at hemp fuel as the future of energy, or is this idea too good to be true? Some notable hemp fuel drawbacks are worth discussing.

Drawbacks of Hemp Biofuel

When we look at hemp fuel vs. gasoline or other fossil fuels, it seems obvious that hemp is the better choice, so why aren’t we pumping hemp biodiesel or hemp ethanol into our cars or heating our homes with it? For one thing, turning hemp oil into ethanol is a longer and more labor-intensive process (read: more expensive) than sugarcane or corn, so it isn’t price-competitive yet.

Secondly, it would take a lot of hemp to meet our energy needs. Biodiesel, including hemp diesel, produces less energy than petroleum-derived diesel, meaning we would need to dedicate a large amount of land to growing hemp if we wanted hemp fuel to make a sizable dent in our current energy appetite.

The Future of Hemp Fuel

At the end of the day, hemp fuel looks like a promising new technology, but that promise is still in its infancy. Researchers and scientists will need to find a more cost-efficient way to turn hemp into biodiesel and to figure out how to increase hemp oil yields to make hemp ethanol feasible on a large scale.

Still, let’s not count out hemp. In the coming days, we’ll need to utilize many different solutions to address climate change and protect our precious planet. Hemp may have a big role to play in that fight even beyond fueling our cars and homes. In the meantime, we’ll keep refining our own processes to bring our customers reliable and productive hemp strains for CBD and CBG.

When it comes to describing the hemp plant, versatile is an understatement. Here at High Grade Hemp Seed, we have been primarily focused on hemp flowers (or buds) for their ability to produce the oil that can be turned into CBD and CBG, which is far from the only use of hemp. The plant has been used since 8,000 BCE for countless purposes, including to make paper, rope, and clothing. And If that isn’t promising enough, new uses of hemp are popping up nearly every day. One of the most exciting new uses is hempcrete.

Some of today’s leading architects and builders are backing hempcrete, suggesting that it could not only serve as a highly useful building material but also as a means to help combat climate change. We fully support both of those possibilities, so let’s put on our hard hats and take a dive into the world of hemp concrete.

What Is Hemp Concrete?

Hemp concrete (Hempcrete) is made by mixing part of a hemp stalk, called hemp hurd, with lime, binder, and water. The resulting slurry mixture can be used for a variety of construction applications, including:

  • Walls
  • Roofs
  • Flooring
  • Outdoor furniture

Hempcrete slurry can be pressed, poured, and cast into many different shapes including panels, bricks, and everything in between. One of the most popular uses of hempcrete is to press it into hempcrete blocks, which can be used to make internal and external walls.

Characteristics of Hempcrete

While the environmental advantages of hempcrete can certainly help a construction business burnish its green credentials, builders require materials that really work. Fortunately, hempcrete delivers on this front.

The sustainable construction material is lightweight, versatile, and provides excellent insulation which means that it can hold onto warmth during the winter and stay cool during the summer. As temperatures become more extreme throughout the US and the world, a well-designed home built with hempcrete may be able to yield significant energy bill savings for homeowners.

The Environmental Benefits of Hempcrete

Hemp is famous for its ability to cloister carbon from the atmosphere as it grows. By turning hemp plants into hemp concrete, builders can permanently sequester carbon and prevent even more pollution as homeowners will require less energy to heat and cool their homes built with this material. Additionally, hempcrete is fully recyclable after it is used. This factor makes hempcrete an impressively sustainable building material in an industry infamous for its large carbon footprint.

The Big Environmental Problems with Concrete

To fully appreciate the potential environmental benefits of hempcrete, it’s time to talk regular concrete. In a nutshell, concrete is everywhere as it is the most widely used man-made substance on earth.

If you are reading this inside a house, chances are the foundation is made of concrete. Are you in a tall building? The structure is likely filled with load-bearing concrete. Every time you hit the road to grab some groceries, your car will travel along concrete roads and pull into a concrete parking lot. You may even finish your journey by rolling up your concrete driveway.

The ubiquitous use of concrete comes at a heavy cost. The construction industry produces 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the vast majority of that polluting footprint comes from concrete. To make concrete, manufacturers have to heat a kiln to 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat breaks apart limestone molecules, releasing carbon dioxide. If cement manufacturing were a country, it would have the third-highest carbon emissions in the world. It pollutes more than the aviation sector and all trucks on the road.

Considering that the United Nations predicts that the world’s population will grow to 9.7 billion by 2050, and those 9.7 billion people will need housing. Given this prediction, we must make some drastic changes in how we build if we want to lower our carbon footprint and stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Can hempcrete be the answer? When looking at hempcrete vs. concrete, there seems to be no contest. Concrete is a huge carbon emitter while hempcrete is a carbon sink. However, hempcrete is not a perfect replacement for concrete, and it still has a ways to go until it starts showing up in new buildings and homes.

The Disadvantages of Hempcrete

It turns out that there is a current limit to what hemp concrete can be used for. Notably, hempcrete is a lightweight substance, with much less compressive strength than concrete, and it cannot be used in a load-bearing capacity.

Even if the technology of hempcrete can’t entirely replace concrete immediately, it can still be used in place of concrete for several construction purposes. However, that brings us to another disadvantage of hempcrete. It currently is not readily available, especially in the United States. However, that is beginning to change.

In the past couple of years, buildings incorporating hemp have appeared across the world in countries like France, the U.K., and New Zealand. In 2020, Hempitecture completed a new-build home in Missouri using hempcrete. Additionally, a slew of recent studies have provided more proof of concept of hempcrete as a reliable building material, including a study conducted by the Open Waste Management Journal which concluded that hempcrete is “an advantageous material in building.”

What Is the Future of Hemp Concrete?

As pressure to construct more ecologically friendly homes and buildings continues to rise, we predict hempcrete will provide the solution. Before you know it, more companies will start making and selling hempcrete and builders will brag about using hempcrete in new communities. In fact, hemp is likely to play a big role in the construction industry for all sorts of cool applications.

We’d love to see that day, as it would be just another example of how much hemp can impact our country and world in positive ways. In the meantime, we’ll do our part by continuing to offer top-of-the-line hemp seeds that give farmers new and lucrative crop options. Take a look at all our impressive hemp seed strains.

The new national hemp industry has brought with it a wave of excitement for business owners. Whether it be with CBD products or industrial hemp materials, entrepreneurs are flocking to this business with big dreams and high hopes.
Yet, as the hemp industry has taken shape since legalization, operators consistently run into new problems. A significant “growing pain” includes hemp transportation from business to business, which has posed notable issues for certain operators.

Compliance in the hemp industry is driven by a patchwork of regulations set forth by various federal agencies and state organizations. The hemp industry’s nature of rapid changes and regulatory complexity may pose challenges for businesses trying to keep up with new compliance standards. Moreover, federal and state laws don’t always agree on what is considered “legal” concerning hemp.

For hemp farmers, there is perhaps no worse scenario than having your prized harvest confiscated during transport. To help ensure the safety of your harvest, we’re here to walk you through the ins and outs of hemp shipping.

The Current Legal Status of Hemp

Hemp was federally legalized in the U.S. with the 2018 Farm Bill. This legislation states any cannabis sativa plant which contains less than 0.3% THC is legally considered “hemp.” Under this federal guidance, farmers can grow crops for CBD flowers as well as the stalks of industrial hemp.

At this stage, industrial hemp has more clarity in the state and federal legislation than hemp grown for CBD. This is largely due to the fact we are still waiting on regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning CBD products.

Hemp businesses must carefully navigate and adhere to both the federal regulations of the industry and the laws required by specific states. These state laws are rarely in agreement with one another and don’t always align with federal guidance. To illustrate, many U.S. states consider hemp to be legal with less than 0.3% THC (like the federal government), while others require a 0% THC content.

As confusing as the legal hemp industry only can be, there is hope that comes with a bit of research and education. So long as you are operating within your state’s legal restrictions and federal regulations, transporting industrial hemp can be a streamlined and stress-free endeavor.

Is Hemp Legal to Transport Across State Lines?

According to the federal government, it is legal to ship hemp across state lines.

As long as your hemp, or hemp products, contain less than 0.3% THC, they are considered legal on a federal level. This notion applies to shipping CBD hemp and transporting industrial hemp.

Regardless of a clear stance by the federal government, there remains a good deal of confusion for shipping hemp across state lines. This uncertainty comes from the confusing patchwork of hemp laws set forth by different U.S. states. Not only do different U.S. states have unique laws regarding CBD and THC, but some also have specific regulations on hemp shipping.

One of the primary reasons that shipping hemp is risky is that hemp flowers closely resemble marijuana flowers. Hemp and marijuana flowers have similar structures, crystals, trichomes, and scents. Therefore, it is nearly impossible for police officers to tell the difference between legal hemp and illegal cannabis. For some police, it might be easier to confiscate a load of hemp than spend the resources in testing the whole batch for THC content.

Non-hemp-friendly states pose their own threats to hemp companies looking to ship products. For instance, Idaho has unique laws concerning hemp. Namely, the state only considers CBD products legal if they are made from the stalks or seeds of plants – not the flowers. Additionally, Idaho is notorious for being quite strict on companies transporting hemp throughout the state. To this end, there have been some high-profile confiscations where entire hemp harvests have been lost.

 

Do You Need a Permit to Transport Hemp?

While the federal government does not issue a formal hemp transport permit, there are guidelines you must follow to ensure that your shipment is federally compliant. Moreover, certain states require hemp companies to acquire permits before shipping on their roads.

To remain compliant with federal law, hemp companies should take careful steps when transporting their products. You should always include the following documentation with a hemp shipment:

  • Manifest that explains the details of the load
  • Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a 3rd party lab
  • Business licenses for all parties involved in the transaction
  • Contact information for important parties
  • Bill of Lading for the shipment
  • Phytosanitary Report — some states require this report to certify that the hemp shipment has been inspected in accordance to proper procedure.

We also recommend that your driver has a clean criminal background and an impeccable driving record. By hiring the right driver, you can help lessen the suspicion of police officers in the event of an incident.

Beyond ensuring your hemp shipment meets federal compliance standards, you should also research which states your shipment will be traveling through as certain states have their own permitting processes for shipping hemp. These processes range from declaring your load at the state border, to attaining a hemp license. States that require additional permits are as follows:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • New Mexico
  • Utah

To best ensure the safety of your hemp shipment, you should research the above states and follow their permitting protocol. In the end, you want to make your business as legitimate as possible when shipping hemp.

Make Successful Hemp Shipping a Reality

At High Grade Hemp Seed, we strongly recommend that you do your homework before shipping a harvest. This process involves taking the appropriate steps for federal compliance, such as sending a COA and Bill of Lading with your driver. These steps also include researching individual state markets. Remember, the hemp industry is always evolving, and doing consistent, diligent research on the changing state and federal laws is the most surefire way to remain compliant.

If your shipping route runs across a questionable state like Idaho, we recommend you avoid it entirely. In the end, it is worth an extra six to ten hours on the road to protect your hard work, investment, and drivers.

As seen with most applications for hemp, animal bedding made from hemp is both functional and environmentally friendly. Just as a hemp CBD farm can help sequester carbon from the environment, while also providing valuable wellness products, the benefits of industrial hemp are multi-faceted.

In the best-case scenarios, industrial hemp outperforms the materials which it replaces. This is certainly the case with hemp building materials such as insulation, as well as agricultural products like hemp animal bedding. Importantly, hemp bedding can be effectively used in both commercial and hobbyist applications.

Hemp is a far more environmentally-friendly source for animal bedding than traditional sources such as hay and wood chips. Incredibly, industrial hemp bedding is also better for the health of animals and people. To help give you a clearer picture of the benefits of hemp bedding, let’s walk through the fine points of this amazing product.

What is Hemp Animal Bedding Made From?

Unlike CBD products made from hemp flowers, animal bedding is sourced from the stalks of industrial hemp. The fibers of industrial hemp stalks have been used for thousands of years to make things such as rope. There are various usable parts within the stalk of the hemp plant.

Traditionally, people have utilized the long fibrous material on the outside of the hemp stalk known as “bast.” Hemp bast is extremely strong and is commonly made into durable textiles and papers. Conversely, “hurd” is the smaller material within the inner core of the hemp stalk. Importantly, hemp hurd makes up over 70% of the usable material taken from industrial hemp.

Until recent years, hemp hurd was largely considered a waste byproduct of bast production. However, innovative companies have begun utilizing hurd in new materials such as hempcrete, hemp insulation, and animal bedding.

Environmental Benefits of Hemp Animal Bedding

The environmental benefits of hemp animal bedding are multifaceted. Looking to hemp farming, hemp plants are far quicker to grow than the trees used for wood chips. Even more, hemp crops themselves are better for the environment than most traditional crops.

Wood chips are one of the primary sources of animal bedding. Yet, an acre of trees takes far longer to mature than an acre of hemp plants. In fact, most trees aren’t ready to harvest for 20-80 years, while hemp plants mature in just four months. Needless to say, over a period of time, an acre of hemp will produce far more animal bedding than an acre of trees.

Straw is the other major source of animal bedding used today. Commercial hay farms employ many environmentally degrading practices common with industrial production. Oftentimes, hay farms practice mono-cropping techniques that leach the soil of valuable nutrients. Even more, the use of harmful pesticides is a common practice in commercial hay farming.

Unlike most industrial farms, hemp farms actually rejuvenate the soil in their given locale. Interestingly, hemp plants contribute to a process known as “bioremediation.” They do so as they naturally remove harmful toxins from polluted soil when growing. Hemp plants can also be effectively grown using minimal organic pesticides.

 

What Types of Animals Can You Use Hemp Animal Bedding For?

Hemp bedding can be utilized anywhere that traditional animal bedding is used. Even more, it works great indoors and outdoors. People even use hemp pet bedding inside their homes for animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs.

A few animals that benefit from hemp bedding include:

  • Chickens
  • Horses
  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Goats
  • Rabbits
  • Hamsters
  • Guinea pigs

There are a few places where hemp animal bedding is particularly effective. For example, the chicken farming industry is heavily dependent on imported wood chips. Switching to hemp bedding for chickens can help lessen the environmental impacts of tree harvests while also giving American farmers the option to buy locally. Horse owners are already turning to hemp animal bedding because it is significantly better for their animals’ health. As they are extremely expensive to care for, it only makes sense to lessen their exposure to dust with hemp horse bedding.

Is Hemp Animal Bedding Better Than Traditional Materials?

Not only is hemp bedding more environmentally friendly than bedding made from wood and straw — it outperforms both materials, too. And, because it doesn’t produce much dust, industrial hemp bedding is better for your animals than traditional options.

Hemp animal bedding lasts longer than straw or hay bedding — as such, it reduces the amount of animal bedding you need to purchase each year. Similarly, with more durability, it reduces the labor needed to maintain clean living conditions for livestock.

Hemp animal bedding also performs extremely well on the job. Industrial hemp animal bedding is far more absorbent than its traditional counterparts. In comparison, straw can hold about two times its weight, while wood chip bedding can hold around three times its weight.

Hemp bedding is also better for your animals. For example, animal bedding made from wood chips is notoriously dusty. When used inside barns, wood chips can wreak serious havoc on livestock with respiratory issues, such as horses. Especially during winter when horses are kept inside, studies show an increase in respiratory issues with the use of wood chip animal bedding.

Is Hemp Animal Bedding Better for People Too?

Government studies show “for people with respiratory conditions” such as asthma and emphysema, small amounts of dust can make breathing difficult. Similarly, for healthy people, “breathing in high concentrations of dust over many years is thought to reduce lung function in the long term and contribute to disorders like chronic bronchitis.”

By switching to hemp bedding, you can avoid the health risks associated with breathing in excessive wood chip and straw dust. For added benefit, you spare yourself from having to wear a respirator on the job every day. Whether you are protecting family members or employees, health and safety will always remain a top priority.

The applications of the hemp plant are infinite. Whether it be with building products or animal bedding, hemp is more eco-friendly and functional than most traditional materials. At High Grade Hemp Seed, we’re committed to spreading education about this amazing plant and all of its sustainable wonder. If you are interested in learning more about hemp animal bedding, or hemp CBD, please contact us today.

Hemp has been an extremely important resource throughout human history. To illustrate, the Chinese were making paper out of hemp over 2,000 years ago, and scientists believe people have been making textiles from hemp for over 8,000 years. Today, we are seeing a resurgence in the use of hemp fibers for building and construction materials.

Hemp is a renewable resource with near-endless applications, and scientists and researchers have been searching for new ways to utilize the plant. While the environmental benefits of hemp-derived materials are impressive in themselves, they also demonstrate great promise in construction applications.

What are Industrial Hemp Fibers?

Unlike CBD hemp that is grown for its flowers, industrial hemp is grown primarily for its stalks. More specifically, it is cultivated for the fibers contained within the stalks. These fibers have long been recognized for their usefulness. Importantly, we have figured out countless ways to process hemp fibers into paper, plastic, textiles, and building materials. Because research tells us, “fiber derived from hemp is one of the strongest and durable forms of natural fiber” on earth.

While the overall utility of industrial hemp is a major selling point, the fact that it is a highly renewable resource makes it even more attractive. In modern society, it is well known that we have some harsh realities to face with issues like global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. Hemp can help alleviate these problems by reducing our dependency on nonrenewable resources. Even more, certain practices like hemp carbon farming actually help clean up the environment.

For the best fibers possible, industrial hemp crops are harvested during the flowering phase. At this point in a hemp plant’s life cycle, the fibers are at their strongest. Once harvested, manufacturers have a variety of methods for separating valuable fibers from other plant materials. They also sort through and divide different types of hemp fiber.

 

Hemp Bast and Hemp Hurd

After harvest, hemp stalks are broken down into two distinct fibers: hemp bast and hemp hurd. The longer fibers found on the outside of the stalk are known as “bast,” while the shorter inner fibers are referred to as “hurd.” In most hemp crops, the bast comprises around 25% of the fiber material, while the hurd makes up the other 75%.

Since people started cultivating hemp thousands of years ago, the focus has been almost exclusively on bast. However, with the advent of modern technology, people are finding more and more creative uses for hemp hurd.

Hemp Bast

Hemp bast is used to make many of the materials which industrial hemp is known for. Taken from the outside of the stalk, bast fibers are long and durable. As such, these fibers are traditionally used to make rope, textiles, and paper. For more modern applications, people have begun integrating bast into construction materials like lumber.

Hemp Hurd

Hemp hurd has long been considered a useless byproduct of bast production. Nonetheless, in recent years, people have discovered several new applications for hemp hurd. Of these, construction materials present a promising new path for utilizing hurd – especially with things like hempcrete and hemp insulation.

Building with Hemp Lumber

With a growing interest in hemp, manufacturers are looking for ways to use it as a supplement for traditional lumber. Not only does hemp show great promise as a viable lumber source, but it can also be grown far quicker than any tree. On average, hemp plants are ready to harvest in 4 months. Conversely, tree species used for lumber take anywhere from 20-80 years before they can be harvested.

Hemp Wood

A very interesting product to recently hit the market is known as “hempwood.” This innovative new lumber was recently engineered by a company named Fibonacci. To create hemp wood, they took a process used to make bamboo lumber and tweaked it for hemp fiber. Utilizing hemp bast, Fibonacci came up with a product that is 20% harder than oak wood.

In construction, hempwood can be used anywhere that hardwoods are traditionally used. For the most part, hempwood is utilized on the interior of homes on things like hardwood floors and cabinetry.

Hemp Particleboard

Hemp particleboard is another new construction material made from hemp. Unlike hempwood, particleboard is made from leftover hemp hurd. It is made by mixing hurd materials with glues and resin and then forming them into board shapes. As seen with most particleboard, hemp particleboard is not load-bearing and should only be used for applications such as furniture.

What is Hempcrete?

Hempcrete is a highly versatile construction material that is made from hemp fibers. Because hempcrete is made from hemp hurd, it utilizes a part of the plant originally regarded as waste. Hempcrete is made by mixing hurd with lime, as well as other natural materials like sand. After blending, the mix is poured into casts of various shapes – such as bricks, blocks, and panels.

Hempcrete benefits the environment in several ways. For starters, hemp helps lessen the impacts of global warming, while traditional concrete manufacturing contributes to CO2 emissions. This is because hemp farms pull CO2 from the atmosphere, while concrete manufacturing plants expel excessive heat and carbon. Even more, hempcrete is 100% recyclable and can be used as a fertilizer after it is removed from a building.

Hemp Bricks and Hemp Blocks

Hemp bricks and blocks are made from hempcrete. To make these building materials, manufacturers simply form hempcrete into appropriate-sized casts. After they are formed, hemp bricks and blocks have a variety of applications with both internal and external walls.

Builders value hemp bricks and blocks because they breathe well and offer excellent insulation. Even more, they are more elastic than traditional concrete. As such, hemp bricks and blocks may be better suited for environmental stressors like earthquakes.

Hemp Insulation

Of the new hemp building materials to recently hit the market, hemp insulation is perhaps the most promising. As seen with most hemp-based construction materials, hemp insulation not only functions extremely well but is also beneficial for the environment.

Hemp insulation stands out from traditional insulation and other fiber composites by the way it is made. According to the Innovative Building Materials website, “Hemp insulation is a composite material but one that is very eco-friendly. Instead of consisting of 51% plant fibers and 49% plastics and chemicals [like most fiber composites], hemp insulation contains as much as 92% hemp and about 8% polyester fibers.” As such, hemp is more environmentally friendly than other fiber composite insulations like those made from coconut or wood.

When compared to traditional fiberglass insulation, hemp insulation doesn’t disappoint. As seen with hemp blocks, insulation made from hemp has excellent moisture-wicking capabilities. This trait makes hemp insulation quite effective when dealing with water and humidity. While fiberglass insulation easily gets bogged down and ruined when it comes in contact with water, hemp insulation easily dries. This fact allows hemp insulation to properly regulate humidity levels within buildings. It also makes hemp insulation more durable than fiberglass insulation.

Hemp insulation works wonderfully when it comes to basic heat and cold retention. In fact, hemp insulation meets and exceeds building codes in every region of the world. Therefore, even if you live in the arctic, hemp insulation will keep your home warm and toasty in the depths of winter. Finally, nearly any contractor on earth would rather work with hemp insulation than fiberglass. Because, fiberglass is notorious for getting into your skin and causing an awful itching sensation.

What Does the Future Hold for Hemp Building Materials?

Since hemp was federally legalized in 2018, the industry has been primarily focused on CBD production. While we are huge fans of CBD, High Grade Hemp Seed is also excited to see new interest in hemp-derived building materials. Not only are hemp construction materials good for the environment, but they are also extremely functional.

Due to taboos and unjust drug laws surrounding cannabis, it seems we lost touch with the hemp plant for a time. However, modern technology is looking at hemp in all-new ways and revitalizing this relationship that has existed for nearly 10,000 years. Just as hemp paper played a critical role in human history, we are discovering new ways to solve contemporary problems with hemp. As our attention continues to focus on saving the environment, there is no doubt that hemp will grow increasingly important.

As we continue on the path we are on, you can rest assured that hemp, and High Grade Hemp Seed, will play a critical role in creating better industrial hemp genetics and even more environmentally friendly buildings.

The hemp space represents one of the most exciting, yet most volatile facets of legal cannabis. While hemp was federally legalized in 2018, certain cannabinoids such as CBD remain in a legal “gray area.” Therefore, CBD companies are operating without clear direction from the FDA. In like fashion, the industrial hemp space struggles to find its footing while we wait for hemp-derived materials to gain mainstream acceptance.

With the hemp industry constantly in flux, consumers are ultimately the ones who suffer. As there is little consistency with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in hemp, poor quality hemp products pervade the marketplace.

To help you avoid such problems, we’re here to show you exactly where hemp products come from. Ideally, by learning about the hemp supply chain, you can make informed purchasing decisions.

What is the Hemp Supply Chain?

Whether it be CBD products or textiles made from hemp, the supply chain is similar. A supply chain is defined as “the entire process of making and selling commercial goods, including every stage from the supply of materials and the manufacture of goods through to their distribution and sale.” The hemp supply chain is comprised of all the people, activities, information, and resources that come between planting a seed (or plant start) and the final sale of a hemp product.

The hemp supply chain can be traced through the cultivation, processing, and sale of any hemp product on the market today. If you enjoy CBD gummies as a way to relax at the end of the day, you can trace their production through the supply chain. Similarly, lumber products, animal bedding, and textiles made from industrial hemp have undergone their own journey through the supply chain.

Handling the Product from Farm to Consumer

The hemp industry as we know it was born in a legal grey area. Today, it is often overlooked that the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation for “research purposes.” This legal loophole gave rise to the CBD industry in the United States. The industry as we know it today is largely built on this random patchwork of businesses that operated without regulation. While hemp was officially legalized with the 2018 Farm Bill, we are still waiting on official guidance from FDA for a national CBD industry.

The confusing history of legal hemp in the United States further speaks to the necessity of understanding the hemp supply chain.

Hemp must be grown and processed in compliance with both state laws. This means meeting requirements for THC levels and product purity. Yet, this process gets easily confused in different state markets. To illustrate, it is legal to sell full-spectrum CBD extracts in Colorado – as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. However, full-spectrum CBD extracts are illegal in Idaho because they contain trace amounts of THC.

Thankfully, production standards are rising as hemp continues to gain momentum in the mainstream. A common practice among state regulators is to visit hemp farms and test for THC potency. In other regions, flowers and plant materials are tested for impurities such as mold and pesticides.

While GMPs are on the rise across the hemp industry, there is still a good deal of shady operators in the industry today. The internet is awash with stories of people purchasing fake, or even poisonous, CBD products. Therefore, it is always a good idea to carefully research where your hemp products come from.

 

Hemp Supply Chain Inputs

Inputs represent the beginning of the supply chain. Concerning hemp, inputs are associated with farm work, including the labor, materials, info, and time needed to grow crops. In essence, hemp supply chain inputs bring crops from the seed phase (or plant start) to harvest. This phase of the supply chain also includes the technology and equipment required to grow hemp on a commercial scale.

Hemp supply chain inputs include:

Importantly, the quality standards of hemp begin at the hemp farm. The sort of care and attention farmers give their crops will be reflected in the overall quality of a finished product. This notion rings true for CBD products as well as materials made from industrial hemp.

Understanding the Hemp Supply Chain

The rest of the hemp supply chain process includes the steps required to take a hemp product to market. After raw plant material leaves a hemp farm, it often exchanges hands many times before finally being processed and sold.

Primary businesses in the hemp supply chain include:

  • Transportation businesses
  • 3rd party testing labs
  • Storage companies
  • Extraction labs
  • Edibles manufacturers
  • Vape companies
  • Textiles producers
  • Paper manufacturers
  • Sales teams

While many hemp businesses operate within a single step of the supply chain, this is not always the case. This notion leads us to the topic of vertical integration.

Vertically integrated hemp businesses handle their own products from the time seeds are planted in the ground until the products are finally sold. For example, a vertically integrated CBD edibles company would grow their own hemp, extract cannabinoids, infuse edibles, package goods, and finally sell the product. Even more, they would have a marketing team to develop their brand and salespeople to get their product to market.

The hemp supply chain is generally not vertically integrated. Coupled with a lack of centralized quality control from the USDA or FDA, the number of different parties involved in the hemp supply chain can cause big problems for the consumer. Namely, because all it takes is one weak link in the chain and the consumer gets a poor product.

Seed-to-Sale Control Over Hemp Products

The hemp supply chain is a highly complex orchestration that involves many moving parts. The fact that the hemp industry is brand new and loosely regulated by individual states leaves room for poor business practices — even deceitful behavior. To circumvent many of the systemic issues with the hemp supply chain, forward-looking hemp companies are turning to vertical integration.

By controlling their products entirely from “seed to shelf,” hemp companies ensure that their customers get the best quality possible. Even more, this practice allows hemp companies to self-regulate quality control more efficiently without full guidance from the FDA and USDA.

Summary

Whether you are interested in CBD flowers or materials made from industrial hemp, the modern hemp industry is extremely intricate. In the end, going with a trusted, vertically integrated hemp brand is the best way to ensure you get your hands on high-quality products.

At High Grade Hemp Seed, we are diligent about working with hemp farmers who share our vision for quality and sustainability in the industry. We are proud to say that we sell hemp seeds to several vertically integrated hemp businesses and we are part of a growing hemp eco-system with Santa Fe Farms.