Hemp is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant species. Unlike most popular cannabis strains, however, hemp will not get you high. Why? Hemp plants only contain trace levels of THC. In fact, to be considered hemp under the Cannabis Act and the Farm Bill, the species must not contain more than 0.3 percent of Tetrahydrocannabinol; THC.
In the United States and Canada, 2018 was an exciting year for hemp. This plant is arguably one of the facets of the cannabis industry with the most potential. As the Feminist of Cannabis, some of my initial research for this article included exploring some of the work of powerful women in the industry before delving into potential environmental opportunities.
Powerful businesswoman and television host Martha Stewart very recently partnered with Canopy Growth Corporation with the vision to develop hemp-derived CBD products. The first products featured in the line are rumoured to be pet-friendly! In another Canadian advancement, Tilray® acquired Manitoba Harvest; this company is the world's largest hemp food manufacturer. They currently sell cereal products and hemp oil.
What’s most exciting about hemp are the positive environmental impacts it can have on different industries. Hemp is an extremely sustainable material; it is fibrous and could have a tremendous impact on paper and textile industries. Moreover, hemp is completely biodegradable and removes large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, reducing our carbon footprint.
Headlines you've undoubtedly seen in the Canadian market are centred around product shortages. While this may not seem like a huge problem to recreational users, the medicinal industry can be greatly affected by shortages in the market, and hemp may just be the solution. Although hemp may only contain 0.3 percent THC or less, it produces high levels of cannabidiol; the cannabinoid known as CBD. This cannabinoid has several highly sought-after medicinal properties. For example, it is said to be highly anti-inflammatory, some studies showing it to be twenty times as effective as aspirin for reducing inflammation in the body.
I recently had the opportunity to hear a lecture from Dr. Daryl Hudson; Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics and years of experience in ground-breaking cannabis genetics research. During his talk, one conversation particularly stuck with me: Dr. Hudson explained that it is imperative to continue a steady supply of CBD-rich products in the cannabis supply chain as without a constant focus on this sector, important medicinal programs, notably in his experience veteran's program, are at risk of shortages.
On another note, I am equally excited about another advancement in the cannabis industry: recycling programs. Currently working on a recycling program for rural farmers, I am very passionate about rural agriculture. In several rural communities across Canada, notably Smith Falls in Ontario and several communities in Saskatchewan, cannabis packaging recycling initiatives are working hard to reduce waste in our landfills. The first national program for recycling in the Canadian cannabis industry was a partnership between TerraCycle and Tweed.
When contemplating the future innovations in the industry for more sustainable packaging, and considering the impressive potential hemp has to offer for paper, textile and plastic industries just to name a few, I can’t wait to see the hemp industry evolve.
Emilene, The Feminist of Cannabis