Timely Topics The Lowdown on Today’s Increasingly High-Profile Hemp Industry.
The Lowdown on Today’s Increasingly High-Profile #Hemp Industry.
With hemp, marijuana and CBD proliferating in the news — in a sometimes confusing manner — we reached out to industry insiders and gathered facts. Here is what you need to know about hemp now:
Growth & Opportunities
Industrial hemp contains small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana. Industrial hemp and marijuana come from the same family – cannabis sativa – and look very similar. Industrial hemp for cannabidiol (CBD) production and hemp for marijuana are both encouraged to have flowers which concentrate THC (for marijuana) or cannabinoids (for CBD production). Alternatively, industrial hemp for grain or fiber is grown closer together. “We want the plants to move upward and become tall for long #fibers,” explains Bear Fiber President, Guy Carpenter. Fibers are on the “bark” or skin of the stem. “No weeds grow underneath them, so there is no need to use herbicides, which is important, particularly with sustainability,” the exec notes.
While little industrial hemp is currently grown in the U.S., things are starting to change as a result of the 2018 #Farm Bill that legalized its regulated production. The tricky part is that a lot of industrial hemp seeds sold are labeled for dual purpose – for grain and for fiber. The differences for textile grade fibers are in the manner it’s grown close together, harvested, cut and mechanically processed. Decortication removes the pithy inside of the stalk. Hurd is inside, which is not used for textiles. Mechanical decortication separates the bark from the hurd, and then it goes through cottonization. “The end result is a fiber similar to cotton, but greater strength and abrasion, antimicrobial properties and UV resistance,” Carpenter points out.
Bear Fiber is working to have hemp grown and processed domestically (currently most comes from China) to blend with #cotton, #Tencel, #Sorona and other #sustainable fibers. “While growing hemp for fiber is not going to make someone a lot of money really quick, it’s a good cover or rotation crop,” he notes. Comparatively, tobacco crops are closely monitored. Industrial hemp is rain-fed and requires little water to grow.
Brands High on Hemp
“We’ve used hemp since the beginning at Outerknown across varied categories such as tees and sweatshirts, to button down shirts, and even trunks and trousers,” comments John Moore, co-founder of Outerknown. The brand balances the strength of the fiber with blends like organic cotton to soften it up for knit and woven textiles.