Thousands of people are taking interest in learning more about hemp around the world as more and more countries are legalizing its cultivation and the use of hemp-derived products. The hemp plant has a close association with marijuana because both plants come from the genus Cannabis.
The hemp plant has been used by humans for thousands of years. Historians are telling that the hemp plant has been a staple for development since 8000 BC. Over the years, a wide range of materials that are necessary for human development was made from hemp, including fiber, paper, ropes, etc.
For the past 80-100 years, the hemp plant became subject to controversy. Many countries banned the cultivation of hemp because of its relation to the marijuana plant even though the THC content in the hemp plant is very low for creating any psychoactive effects.
Today, several countries around the world, including the United States, lifted the ban on the cultivation of hemp and the sale of hemp-derived products. The presence of a high amount of CBD is one of the main reasons why the governments are supporting the hemp cultivation. CBD is a cannabinoid compound that possesses several therapeutic properties that help to treat many health disorders.
What Is Hemp?
Many people think of hemp as a synonym for marijuana. But it is not true. Both marijuana and hemp are species of the cannabis plant. Both the plants share some biological and physical similarities, but there are key differences that separate both.
When you observe both marijuana and hemp, you can see a clear difference in the shape of leaves. The leaves of the hemp plant are narrower and located mostly at the plant’s crown. Also, the marijuana plant cannot grow taller than the hemp plant.
Marijuana has wider leaves and dense, colorful, and aromatic buds. One of the main factors that separate hemp and marijuana is bud. The bud of marijuana contains a high level of THC, the compound that makes the user feel high. That is why most countries around the world banned the cultivation of marijuana and the use of marijuana-derived products.
Where Is Hemp Grown Around The World?
When it comes to hemp, this is the question that people often ask. The simple answer to this question is that it is grown all over the world but it is not legal everywhere. Let’s take a look at some of the leading producers of hemp in the world.
China is the largest producer and exporter of hemp in the world. Unlike many countries around the world, China never banned hemp production even though they strictly prohibited the psychoactive forms of the cannabis plant. For thousands of years, hemp has been a part of Chinese culture.
In 2013, China exported $36.9 million worth of hemp to the United States, making China the largest supplier of raw and processed hemp to the United States. The increase in sales was about 145.2% from 2012.
Just like China, India also has a long and rich history of hemp use. The ancient Hindu text of Vedas even calls the cannabis plants as sacred grass. However, hemp was banned during the British rule and stayed that way until 1985. Even though the government lifted the ban on hemp, state governments refused to issue the licenses.
In 2011, the Indian Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA) was formed for promoting and supporting the hemp industries. IIHA associated with other national and international organizations to establish the first Indian Hemp Conference in 2014. The state of Uttarakhand was the first Indian state that legalized hemp production.
South Africa And Malawi
South Africa was the first African country to legalize the cultivation of hemp but still, both issued a commercial permit. The Agricultural Research Council of South Africa labeled hemp as an agricultural crop.
Another African country that entered the world map of hemp cultivation is Malawi. The country is predominantly agriculture-based and they stand to make considerable benefits from the hemp cultivation.
Hemp In The United States
The United States made it to the list of world’s leading producers of hemp recently. 78,176 acres of hemp were grown in the United States in the year 2018 and it is still growing. The massive increase in the production of hemp happens after the approval of the Farm Bill in 2018. According to the Farm Bill, the hemp cultivation and the sale of the hemp-derived product became legal.
The majority of hemp that is cultivated in the farms of the United States is grown for producing CBD, the non-psychoactive compound of the hemp that has a wide range of therapeutic properties. By 2020, the US hemp market is expected to do business worth $1.8 billion.
The hemp industry in the United States is in the earlier stages and the supply chain infrastructure is not developed yet. However, experts believe that with this growth rate, the United States can become the leading producer of hemp within a few years.