The most comprehensive guide of everything hemp.
Hemp is talked in hush-hush voice across India though It has very deep roots in our culture. When we talk to Policy makers they support the ideas privately but they don’t want to support it publicly for the fear of backlash. They don’t want to be vilified by the opponents as someone who supports an addictive plant. A large number of investor don’t want to fund so called “Cannabis space”. We are making this report public so that a wider audience recognises the potential of this miracle plant. – Ukhi team
|Sr No.||Subject||Pg. No.|
|Hemp Industrial Visit Report|
|1.||Thoughts and Vision of Hemp Foundation||1|
|2.||Thoughts of Mrs Shivani Thakur.||5|
|3.||Thoughts of Guide, Dr. R. K. Bharti, Joint Director, MSME||12|
|4.||Thoughts of Mentor, Shri. B.P. Singh, Assist. Director, MSME||14|
|5.||Thought Behind The Industrial Visit.||15|
|6.||Why Hemp: At a Glance.||23|
|6.1||Projected wins of our mission||24|
|7.||History of Hemp||26|
|8.||Hemp in India||27|
|9.||Hemp in Ayurveda||33|
|10.||Morphological Aspects of Hemp||34|
|10.1||Hemp stalk/ Stem||35|
|11.||Botanical Classification of Hemp||44|
|12.||Chemical Constituents of Cannabis Sativa / Hemp||44|
|13.||Policies Regarding Hemp in India||45|
|13.1||Tracing The Evolution of the Regulatory framework||47|
|14.||Why Hemp? Possibilities and Opportunities||48|
|14.1||Nutritional and Medicinal Properties of Hemp||49|
|14.2||Potentials and Properties of Hemp Fibre||52|
|14.3||Hemp and Farming in India||55|
Thoughts and Vision of Ukhi (Previously Hemp Foundation)
Founder and CEO, Ukhi
Farmers in India have lived lives full of hardships for generations. After witnessing the ground realities of people in Uttarakhand; Vishal Vivek also found a solution for this in the holy mountains of the Himalayas. It was Hemp! It became the dawn of the Hemp Foundation and the start of a visionary journey.
In 2017, hemp cultivation was first legalised by Uttarakhand. Most farmers in Uttarakhand were struggling to make ends meet. They had given up cultivation as most of their crops were destroyed by animals like monkeys, birds, or due to weather forces. This led to farmers leaving their homes to work as labourers in cities, leading to a breakup of their family life and social structure.
Hemp Foundation firmly believes that we can use this legislation to help impoverished farmers and artisans of Uttarakhand. We strive to improve the economic and social conditions of these farmers who have abandoned their homes and families in search of better opportunities.
And the answer to their problems lies in the legal cultivation of hemp. This is their golden chance to return to their homes and restart their lives through sustainable and economically viable hemp farming.
Hemp foundation started hemp farming initially with farmers in Bageshwar, Rudraprayag and Dehradun. There is an immense need and scope for hemp farming in Uttarakhand. Hemp can replenish the land, prevent soil erosion, can be a better cash crop, its native plant to the Himalayan region, Nourishes Biodiversity, Hemp is resilient to troublesome animals and pests. All these qualities make hemp a true saviour for people in Uttarakhand. Hemp can answer all the major concerns of Uttarakhand, like mass migrations, deforestation, soil erosion – landslides, unemployment. All this has inspired Hemp Foundation to perceive the vision of development with Hemp.
Hemp foundation started its commercial venture with Hemp Face Masks. Smartly grabbing demands of the market in the pandemic, Hemp foundation exported face masks of around 1crores in nearly 20 countries. This fueled the organisation to expand its ventures into textiles, handcrafted products, etc.
Along with commercial progressions, the Hemp Foundation continuously kept its social participation towards people. Hemp foundation worked with over 100 artisans and farmers in fibre extraction, traditional handicrafts, and handlooms. The organisation carried out Hemp awareness camps for farmers in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Bageshwar, and Pithoragarh, handicraft and handloom training programs for women, licensing help for hemp farming for local farmers. The Hemp Foundation strongly believes that its soul lies in the comprehensive development of society and not only commercial growth.
Training Camp at Litti- Bageshwar, Uttarakhand
Working on-ground with farmers at Urgam, Uttarakhand
Training Camp at Litti- Bageshwar, Uttarakhand
Working on women empowerment at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
Working on-ground with farmers at Urgam, Uttarakhand
Hemp and Himachal – Thoughts by Mrs Shivani Thakur
The Historical and Geographical Background.
Hemp and India have a long drawn history. It is not a simple history by any means, it starts with history but extends itself through mythology, religion, cultures, traditions and life. Some of the earliest mentions of the usage of Hemp as a resource can be found in the Vedas – dating back to 3400 BC – with the wonder plant being used for food, as fibre for textiles and as a medicinal herb. In Himachal, hemp has been a part of the local culture for centuries and the plant has been cultivated in parts of old Himachal comprising Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Sirmaur and inhabitants of this land-locked village used to make baskets, ropes and slippers from hemp. Growing naturally in the wild with a short gestation period, minimal resources and in the harshest of conditions made this plant a default resource for communities and even today, there are clusters of villages that work with the fibres of this plant and have retained the craft of working with hemp.
A case study of our work and the learnings.
Our work with hemp has taken us across the vast geography of Himachal and made us cognizant of the importance of the plant in the lives of the people from an economic, ecological and social perspective. One such example is the mountain village of Gadagushaini – situated On the Tirthan tributary of the mighty Beas and home to 500 families who earn their living primarily from agriculture. Hemp has been a part of the culture here and the women follow in the footsteps of their ancestors in using homemade hemp ropes to tie their cattle, carry straw baskets and make the popular grass-slippers or Pullas. As a craft, Pulla making and working with hemp in this manner has almost been declared as an extinct craft. These strong women are the only custodians of such generational knowledge – the artistry of spinning and weaving hemp running through their veins. Today, they struggle to justify the cost of retaining their craft – the local market dwindling and the products not selling at a rate that allows them to earn fair wages. In an effort to preserve this craft and provide an additional means of income to the women, we joined hands with over 150 women and registered them for the Ministry of textiles Pehchan Artisan Cards which ensures that the craft is preserved and documented in the government archives while also providing them with additional benefits, training programmes and access to modern design and facilities.
Our engagement with them ranges right from organising the artisans, providing them with the materials (hemp, wool, etc.) that they need for their craft and helping them upskill their craft and better design their products and make it more suitable for today’s lifestyles. This in turn has allowed us to position the same products in a more premium segment – making it possible to pay the women their fair share and make this craft a viable source of income. In other parts of Himachal, we are introducing Hemp, Hemp-Wool blends and Hemp-Cotton Blends as an alternative to those who have been weaving and knitting solely in acrylic and sheep wool. The market for Hemp in India is growing and with many states and organisations gravitating towards this beautiful material, our efforts have been towards forward integrating and equipping our artisans to adopt this material into their processes and make them ready for the next big material.
The Impact of our activities and future plans we look to achieve are threefold – Social, Economic and Ecological
As important as the quality of the products we make, is the impact that we have on the communities we partner with.
Building a community centre is an option that provides them with a safe workspace and a communal environment.
By being part of these artisan communities, women have a social outlet, which provides incalculable support. A community that stands together to share issues and concerns of everyday life.
It encourages the women to keep in spirit, become the teacher for others and influence them to make a difference. They can become inspiring figures for their family and community.
Increased Individual and Household
Improved incomes of individuals help uplift the economic and social situation of the entire community. This will lead to increased individual and household income, sometimes the only income source for the family.
Healthcare and Education
Artisans are able to better afford healthcare and education for their children. Women are known to invest 90% of their earnings for their households and children.
Upskilling and Benefits
Apart from the obvious interventions, we are also exposing the women to select designers and industry experts who can help upskill them further and make these clusters centres of artistry and craftsmanship. In addition, we constantly strive to register them for government schemes and benefits which helps further empower them.
Gaining Invaluable Skills For the Future
The artisans train and learn new skills, adapting their current skills to match the market needs of today. Entrepreneurship and leadership skills are important by-products of working within a group towards a common goal.
Newer Product Range
The involvement of cross-disciplinary designers paves the way for the development of newer product ranges that are modern yet rooted in tradition.
Crat gains Respect
Being an artisan, and the craft itself gains a lot more respect within the community when it becomes evident that living wages can be earned. The artisans themselves also feel more respected and empowered.
An opportunity to earn a living by using traditional talents means not having to migrate to find work, keeping families together.
Craft kept Alive
This means artisans have more reasons to keep their craft alive. Younger generations also become interested in learning the craft. The use of conscious materials will ensure meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
The challenges faced.
While we have our Intent clear and our Impact in line, it is the means of doing it that pose some major challenges for us. Firstly, the raw material and its availability become a major pain point for anyone working with Hemp in Himachal. The fact that the fibre is legal and growing the plant does not make it a major conundrum in the journey to streamlining the supply chain. A lot of the fibre and the fabric that we use has to be sourced from other states and organisations as the local produce is unregulated and illegal. While we have the ability to make the raw material here itself, the fact that it has to be bought and transported greatly increases the cost and makes it difficult to achieve the volumes of production and number of artisans and communities we engage with. Himachal itself can be a rich source & supplier of seeds and raw fibres to organisations across the country that are unable to meet their requirements with the current supply chain. Better regulations, agile supply chains and business-friendly systems would give us the tools that we need to show people the amazing capabilities of hemp and the people working with it.
Our Product Range
Thoughts and Vision of Dr. R. K. Bharti. Joint Director, M/O MSME
Thoughts and Vision of Mr. B. P. Singh. Assist. Director, M/O MSME.
Thought Behind the Industrial Visit.
Hemp foundation as well as Bhuttico Cooperative have worked with people of Uttarakhand and Himachal for considerable time till now. Their work is driven and based upon the upliftment of the Himalayan region.
The primary thought behind this visit was to arrange interaction between our mentors and people with whom we as organisations are working. The visit helped us to build awareness and interaction between people and support systems like our mentors.
Through interactions, our mentors heard the voices of the people who are working in Hemp through traditional arts and crafts. The mentors understood the immense difficult lives of Himalayan people and the need of the hour there.
Along with this; the women and people also felt appreciated, noticed and heard from the faces of governing bodies. The feeling of respect and hope was enlightened in them. We tried our best to build a bridge between people and government, which is always believed to be a neglected subject in our country. Through these interactions, we believe there has been a reinforcement of trust on both ends.
We are fortunate to have mentors and Guides like Dr R.K.Bharti and Mr B.P. Singh. We are grateful for the immense support and efforts they are offering to us.
Mr B. P. Singh interacting and guiding the local women on the way to Gadagushaini.
Mr B. P. Singh interacting and guiding the local women on the way to Gadagushaini.
Visit at the art and craft centre at Gadagushaini hosted by Mrs Shivani Thakur and her team.
Visit at the art and craft centre at Gadagushaini hosted by Mrs Shivani Thakur and her team.
Dr R.K. Bharti interacting with Handloom workers at bhuttico facility, hosted by Mrs Shivani Thakur
Hemp Foundations team along with Dr R.K. Bharti and Mr B.P. Singh at Bhuttiko Facility in Kullu.
Interaction with our mentors at Shivani Wool Carding Ind.
Visit with our mentors at Shivani Wool Carding Ind.
Visit with our mentors at Shivani Wool Carding Ind.
Visit with our mentors at Shivani Wool Carding Ind.
Interaction with Mr Thakur, M.D of Bhuttico Co-Operative.
Team with Mr Thakur, M.D of Bhuttico Co-Operative.
Why Hemp: At a Glance
Hemp has been in use since the dawn of civilization as food, medicine, religious ceremonies, customs, and household usage.
According to the 1893 cannabis study conducted in British India, hemp was one of the five holy plants mentioned in the Vedas and woven with various local cultures. Mythological texts like Shiv Purana mention hemp with prominence. Hemp had been under use for centuries to produce fibre, paper, milk, oil, and protein substitutes.
From long ago, practitioners of the Ayurvedic line of medicine used hemp for treating arthritis, asthma, warts, cough, and several other health conditions.
Following are some pointers that highlight the significance of Hemp plants.
HEMP can reduce industrial pollution by 20%, through the textile industry.
HEMP traps 1.63 tonnes of CO2 / Tonne.
Efficient Land Use
HEMP yields >2.5 times than cotton per hectare.
HEMP Regenerates Soil by “PHYTOREMEDIATION”
Efficient Water Usage
HEMP uses 500 litres/kg cotton uses 10,000 litres/kg.
HEMP is not destroyed by animals
Hemp can grow without any pesticides or Insecticides.
Hemp provides a wide variety of sustainable Materials.
Hemp Vs Cotton: A Comparison
Projected wins of our mission
- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Can bring Billions of forex through the export of sustainable products value chain.
- Increase employment throughout the value chain.
- INR 1 lakh per year/acre
- Ensuring better life for the rural population.
- SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL IMPACT
- Ensuring food security through efficient farmland use.
- Revival of Indian textile
- A million litres of water can be saved per year
- Reduce thousands of TON CO2
- FARMER FIRST
- Triple crop per acre than cotton
- TwiceIncrease in Farmer Income
- Reduce Burden of Procuring Fertiliser to ZERO
- Standing With Farmers – Enrich Their Soil through PHYTOREMEDIATION
- Farmer Engagement & Training
- Educating farmers with Awareness campaigns and training programs.
- Providing Farmers with better opportunities for farming and Agro Industries.
- Rejuvenating barren lands.
- Reversing Migration.
- WORLD VIEW
- Bring forex and Build Position in the world economy
- Contribute to world Hemp Industry of 45 Billion*
- Contribute to Exports -Vision of Global Growth Engine
- CO2 Sequestration Impact Climate Change, Contribution in Sustainability.
- HARNESSING YUVA SHAKTI
- Skill Development Across Value Chain
- Empower & Entrepreneurship Development.
- Mass employment for skilled and unskilled youth.
- WOMEN-LED DEVELOPMENT
- Can Deliver up to 60% Women Engagement.
- Skill Development – Harnessing Nari Shakti.
- Empowering women from rural areas through SHGs & hub and spoke model.
- Dignifying work of women by generating sources of income and independence.
- Nourishing traditional handicrafts and textile cultures.
- BUILDING HEALTHY INDIA
- Contributing in Ayurveda through CBD products
- Hypoallergenic, antibacterial, UV resistant clothing with hemp fabric.
- Efficient source of plant-based protein with hemp.
- Rich source of omega 3 nutrients.
- Can assist in solving the Hunger Crisis in the country.
- Can lead the way to sustainable living.
- INFRASTRUCTURE FOR NEW INDIA
- Establishment of world-class, Made in India Industries.
- Establishment of country’s first hemp textile industry
- Warehousing and Facility establishment.
- Hub and spoke; cluster level infrastructure at ground level in rural India
History of Hemp
According to genetic and archaeological evidence, cannabis was first domesticated about 12,000 years ago in East Asia during the early Neolithic period.
There were several Japanese martial artists, including Samurai warriors, who used to dress in this fabric. The reigning Sumo champion had to carry a giant hemp rope around his stomach to purify the fighting ring and drive away evil spirits.
In eastern societies, hemp garments used to be a symbol of wealth, only worn by wealthy Japanese. Yukatabira-absorbent bathrobes made of this fibre – were put on after bathing in hot springs. The cotton kimono was the common person’s version of these expensive bathrobes. In Japanese traditional marriages, it was also a symbolic gift of acceptance and obedience from the groom’s family to the bride.
The use of cannabis as an intoxicant was well documented in ancient Arabic texts. The 14th-century Egyptian historian Al-Maqrizi described the popularity of hashish in the pleasure gardens of Cairo. During the crusades, the excesses of hashish consumers gave birth to the word ‘assassin’.
Reminiscent of the Chinese tradition of using hemp as burial garments, in Norwegian tradition, it was used to make clothing for both births and burials, as they symbolised the beginning and end of life.
Historical documents in western societies used to be made of hemp. The first and second drafts of the American Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. The final version was copied onto animal parchment and signed on August 2, 1776. The Magna Carta and the King James Bible were also written on hemp paper.
Hemp was so important in England in the sixteenth century that King Henry VIII (1491–1547) passed an act in 1533 that fined farmers who failed to grow hemp. Overseas, in colonial America, citizens of several colonies were also required by law to grow hemp.
Hemp in India
Cannabis or Hemp in India has a long history. Most historians agree that the cannabis plant is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent in the Himalayan mountains from Kashmir through to Nepal, and even Bhutan and Myanmar. It spread to the New World in post-Columbian times. Even today, 60% of all tropical and subtropical parts in India have wild cannabis. The Latin name ‘Cannabis indica’, later ‘Cannabis sativa’ already suggests that cannabis grows and is traditionally used in India. Its use by humans can be traced back as far as 8000 BCE, where archaeological evidence of hemp has been found in China, Taiwan and Japan. In fact, it’s known that hemp was traditionally used in China to make clothes, shoes, ropes and an ancient form of paper.
Traditionally, hemp in India was used for preparing natural medicines, nutritional foods and also fibre to make textiles. Traditional hemp use in India is associated with Ayurveda, a holistic medical system that focuses on promoting good health and preventing illness through healthy lifestyle practices and herbal remedies. Ayurveda originated nearly 3000 years ago, and it elaborately characterises different parts of the hemp plant for healing and curing diseases such as diarrhoea, epilepsy, and haemorrhoids, amongst others.
Sushruta Samhita, one of the most important treaties of the ancient Indian world, recommends cannabis as the perfect cure for phlegm, catarrh and diarrhoea. Lord Shiva (a Hindu deity) is also known for having a strong affinity towards bhang. The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report in 1894 (“Commission Report 1894”), recorded that “It is chiefly in connection with the worship of Shiva, the. The great god of the Hindu trinity, that the hemp plant, and more especially perhaps ganja, is associated.” In the Zoroastrian scriptures of ancient Iran (that closely resemble the RigVeda), consumption of bhang is said to bring happiness.
Islam also regards bhang as a holy plant, and in the Tibbi (the Islamic system of medicine), the plant is mentioned to have benefits to treat conditions such as asthma, dandruff, and urinary disorders. To certain Islamic sects, hemp is an embodiment of the spirit of the Prophet Khizer Elijah, the patron saint of water, and is often referred to as ‘warak-al-khiyal’ or ‘fancy’s leaf’.
The usage of hemp in drinks and offerings is also found during various festivals in India, including Durga Puja in West Bengal, and Holi. Further, hemp offerings are also given as Prasad in temples throughout India, such as the Mouneshwara temple in Karnataka and various temples in Varanasi.
Raja Sidh Sen of Mandi Offering a Bowl of Bhang to Shiva – c. 1711-1725
Philadelphia Museum of Art – Source
Painting from Jaipur, India, showing the use and effects of bhang, anonymous, ca. 1800 Source
In the 1790 painting Bhang Eaters Before Two Huts, by Pemji, a group of men mix and consume bhang.
san Diego museum of art/public domain- source
Cannabis shop in Khandesh, India, late-19th century.
report of the Indian hemp drugs commission/public domain – Source
“Gathering the Ganja Crop”, Naogaon, India. February 16, 1894
(Photo from the British ‘Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894-1895’) plate 110- Source
“A Ganja Field” Khandesh, India – 1894
(Photo from the British ‘Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894-1895′) plate 70- Source
Bhang shops in Jaisalmer- Source
Bhang shops in Jaisalmer- Source
Hemp in Ayurveda
In traditional Indian medical texts, cannabis has first been mentioned a couple of thousand years ago in the Atharva Veda, whereas Ayurvedic traditional texts do not mention this plant until the Middle Ages. The Ayurvedic names of cannabis are “Vijaya” – ‘the one who conquers’ and “siddhi” – ‘subtle power’, ‘achievement’.
Ayurveda differentiates between three therapeutic parts of the plant. They have somewhat different actions on the body and are given separate names. Bhang is a name for the leaves of male and female plants, and in certain regions of India, the name is also used for flowers of the male plant. The name ganja is given to the flowering tops of the female plant, and charas is the name for the plant resin, which naturally exudes from leaves, stems and fruits of plants that grow in the mountains between 2000 and 3000 m of altitude.
Some confusion exists regarding the names in India – in South and West India, the difference in meaning between the names bhang and ganja has almost disappeared: the name ganja is used to denote the cannabis plant, including the leaves; and the name bhang is in some regions given to a drink made from ganja…
In Ayurveda, bhang is used to treat high blood pressure (this therapy is usually of limited duration until high blood pressure is corrected with other Ayurvedic measures), the juice is used for lowering intraocular pressure (glaucoma), and for short-term stimulation of the nervous system…
Fresh leaf juice (bhang) is also used to treat dandruff, as a preventive measure against parasites in hair; also in cases of earache, and against bacterial inflammations and infestations of the ear. The juice is also diuretic and therefore is used in treating inflammation of the bladder and kidney stones.
Dried leaf powder applies to fresh wounds to promote healing (new granulation tissue development). A poultice of crushed fresh leaves is used on the skin in cases of different skin infections, rashes, neuralgias – for example, erysipelas, Herpes zoster, Chickenpox, eczema, etc. – to diminish pain and itching.
Combined with other herbs, bhang can be used against diarrhoea – for this purpose, it is most usually combined with nutmeg (ganja may also be used for the same purpose – mainly with nutmeg and honey). With digestive herbs (like cumin, fennel, anise, …) bhang can be excellent for stimulating appetite and digestion.
With aphrodisiac herbs and foods (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, saffron…) it becomes an excellent aphrodisiac. When the leaves (bhang) on the other hand are mixed with tobacco, the plant diminishes appetite and acts as an anti-aphrodisiac. In these cases, the actions of the cannabis plant are changed by other herbs in the mixture.
Morphological Aspects of Hemp
|A Inflorescence of male (staminate) plant||7 Pistillate flower showing ovary|
|B Fruiting female (pistillate) plant||8 Seed (achene*) with bract|
|1 Staminate flower||9 Seed without bract|
|2 Stamen (anther and short filament)||10 Seed (side view)|
|3 Stamen||11 Seed (cross-section)|
|4 Pollen grains||12 Seed (longitudinal section)|
|5 Pistillate flower with bract||13 Seed without pericarp (peeled)|
|6 Pistillate flower without bract|
A hemp plant consists of five main components; stalk, root, leaves, seeds and flowers. The hemp stalk is tall, dense and strong with the capability of reaching over ten (10) feet tall. The stalk is composed of two layers, the inner layer known as hurd or shiv and the outer layer known as bast fibre. At the top of the stalk are the hemp flowers, where the seeds, bud leaves, and sugar leaves are found. The stalk contains larger leaves known as fan leaves.
The hemp stalk
is what supports the hemp plant as it grows and matures. The stalk of the hemp plant is typically hollow and plays an integral role in the growth of the plant itself. It’s the stalk that contains the hemp plant’s vascular system and helps to transfer nutrients and moisture from the roots to the leaves, as well as the transportation of sugars and starches, which happens through the process of photosynthesis.
The hollow part of the hemp stalk is the widest approximately halfway between the base and top of the plant. It becomes thicker at each node, which divides the hollow area into partially separated compartments.
Outside of the hollow centre of the hemp stalk is found a layer of woody that is made up of thick-walled, hard cells. Outside this woody layer is what’s known as the cambium. Cambium cells mature into the bast, which is the part of the hemp plant that is traditionally processed for fibre.
The outer part of the stalk is divided into nodes, which is where lateral branches initiate. The space between the nodes is referred to as internodes. Nodes are one of the parts of a hemp plant where much of the growth occurs and where a high concentration of hormones are produced.
Hemp leaves are typically long and slender and can be distinguished by their slender, serrated fingers. They tend to grow in pairs from the main stem and branches. While very similar in appearance to marijuana leaves, hemp leaves can be distinguished by their long, skinny shape.
Like most plants, hemp leaves play an integral role in its overall anatomy and are an essential part of photosynthesis. Hemp leaves are what soak up all the available light, which is then transferred internally throughout the plant via the phloem, the living tissue in vascular plants that transports organic compounds to various parts of the plants where they’re needed.
The last part of the hemp plant to grow are the beautiful flowers it produces. They are typically concentrated towards the top of the hemp plant and are sometimes referred to as colas. Hemp flowers are where the highest concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids are contained and are known to be extremely resinous and sticky.
Sugar leaves are smaller leaves that grow within the flower. It’s usually covered in trichomes and trimmed when flowers are harvested.
Different types of cannabis leaves tell different stories:
Cannabis sativa leaves are large with up to thirteen slender, jagged, and spiky serrations. The colour of these leaves can be light or dark green or sometimes lime green shade. Sativa leaves from female plants are used to harvest the smokable cannabis, while those from male plants are known as hemp.
Cannabis indica is one of the varieties. This typically is shorter, oversized, and extra-wide in size as compared to sativa leaves. Indica contains seven to nine olive-green Shaded leaflets.
The name Cannabis Indica was coined in 1785 by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. He noticed the difference between the Cannabis sativa hemp that is mostly cultivated for agricultural purposes in Europe and the Cannabis indica harvested for medicinal purposes in India. The higher chlorophyll content accelerates the bloom cycle of this variety.
Russian botanist D.E. Janischevsky discovered the third species of the cannabis plant known as Cannabis ruderalis. This plant grew across Eastern Europe, and most Russians and Mongols used this to treat anxiety and depression.
The ruderalis plant leaf features five to thirteen leaflets. These are similar to indica leaves, with the only major difference being that ruderalis leaves are smaller and narrower. Cannabis ruderalis grows wild and doesn’t contain much of the THC content like other species of cannabis plants.
These days, cannabis growers experiment with crossbreeding indica and ruderalis plants for the purpose of producing strains with shorter growing seasons. Cannabis ruderalis and sativa crossbreeds produce strains that don’t require reducing the amount of light used for the plant’s exposure.
Female flower (Left), Male Flower(Right) Source
Various parts of the hemp flower include the following,
Calyxes: Tiny, teardrop-shaped leaf structures that establish the cannabis bud that protects hemp flowers and keeps from them drying out. When pollination occurs, the pistil becomes the hemp flower’s ovary, which will then produce seeds.
Pistils: Pistils resemble tiny hairs that start out an opaque milky white and transition to an amber colour as the cannabis flower continues to ripen. Pistils basically function to collect pollen and are what is considered the female sex organs that contain the ovary.
Trichomes: Trichomes are defined as “fine outgrowths or appendages on plants, algae, lichen and certain protists.” They are classified into three different groups: bulbous, capitate and non-glandular and resemble small, microscopic mushrooms. Bulbous and capitate trichomes are the tiny factories where cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are produced. The resin produced from trichomes is also what protects hemp flowers from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, water loss and insects and other predators.
The roots of Cannabis Sativa or hemp are highly plastic. This means their morphology varies depending upon their environment. The roots of all plants include a primary root growing vertically downward and many secondary roots growing horizontally off the primary root. Hemp’s secondary roots can reach out 2 to 2.5 feet while the primary root can stretch down 6.5 to 8 feet. Where a plant’s roots fit within this range depends upon its environment. When grown in loose soils the primary root will grow long in order to better anchor the tall stalk. Conversely in marshy soils, the primary root will remain shallow as the denser soil allows for less anchor.
A healthy, mature Hemp seed will be well-rounded in shape with one pointed end and one flat end. They have a tough outer casing that is rigid to the touch, preventing the seed from being easily crushed. A seam separates the two halves of the shell (also known as the hull or pericarp) and is where the seed opens during germination.
The embryonic plant is protected by an outer shell, formed when pollen fertilises the female plant. Hemp seeds are ready to plant and grow once they successfully germinate, or once the root has broken through the seed. They can be found in multiple forms; regular, feminised, and auto-flowering.
Depending on their genetics, seeds can vary greatly in size, from really tiny (800 seeds per gram) to absolutely massive (15 seeds per gram). In mature seeds the outer shell should be covered with attractive dark markings known as “tiger stripes” which, like snowflakes, are unique to each seed and are in reality a thin layer of cells coating the seed and can be rubbed off easily, revealing the true tan/beige colour of the seed beneath.
Botanical Classification of Hemp
|Binomial name||Cannabis sativa|
Chemical constituents of Cannabis sativa.
The chemical constituents of Cannabis represent almost all the chemical classes, e.g., hydrocarbons, sugars, terpenes, steroids, flavonoids, nitrogenous compounds and amino acids. Out of these, the most specific class of Cannabis constituents is C21 terpenophenolic cannabinoids (Elsohly and Slade, 2005).
In 1980, the total number of natural compounds identified in cannabis Sativa was 423 (Turner et al.,1980), in 1995 was 483 (Ross and ElSohly, 1995) and in 2005 was 489 (Elsohly and Slade, 2005). Out of 489 compounds, 70 were known as cannabinoids which are further classified into 11 categories (number known) such as Cannabigerol type (7), Cannabichromene type (5), Cannabidiol type (7), Δ9-trans-Tetrahydrocannabinol type (9), Δ8-trans- Tetrahydrocannabinol type (2), Cannabicyclol type (3), Cannabielsoin type (5), Cannabinol type (7), Cannabinodiol type (2), Cannabitriol type (9) and Miscellaneous types (14).
Besides cannabinoids the other constituents (419) are also classified into various chemical classes (number known) such as nitrogenous compounds (27), amino acids (18), proteins (3), enzymes (6), glycoproteins (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), simple aldehydes (12), simple ketones (13), simple acids (20), fatty acids (23), simple esters (12), lactones (1), steroids (11), terpenes (120), non-cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (23), vitamins (1), pigments (2) and elements (9), (Turner et al., 1980; Ross and ElSohly, 1995; Elsohly and Slade, 2005).
Policies Regarding Hemp in India – Historical and Contemporary
Hemp, a complex plant with over 400 chemical entities, remains poorly understood to this day due to the restrictions, legal and otherwise, imposed on it, making a rational, scientific appraisal and acceptance of it by the public difficult.
Hemp and hemp products have been a central theme in the international drug control regime and have been controversial. A hemp plant, however, can be much more than just a gateway drug, as is commonly misunderstood, and can have various uses including in the manufacturing of vegetable oils, plant-based protein, paper, canvas, rope, lace, linen, building materials, amongst others.
The Indian legislation governing the hemp plant, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS Act”) defines ‘cannabis (hemp)’ as the separated resin or the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant and is considered being a narcotic drug. However, this definition of cannabis does not include the leaves, stems, roots, or seeds of the hemp plant, within its scope.
The NDPS Act imposes a general prohibition on the cultivation, production, manufacture, possession, transport, import, export, sale, consumption or use of hemp. However, the NDPS Act also empowers the state government and the central government to regulate the cultivation, production, manufacture, possession, transport, import, export, sale, consumption or use of hemp.
Although hemp and hemp products are, by far, the most widely cultivated, trafficked, and seized ‘drugs’ in the world, many countries are now legalising the usage of hemp products bearing in mind the various inherent benefits (both health and economic) of the plant along with the advantage of the creation of jobs, opportunities, and revenues. Against this backdrop, we analyse the historical and contemporary regulatory landscape of hemp and hemp products.
How Does The NDPS Act Define Cannabis?
According to the NDPS Act, “cannabis plant” means any plant of the genus cannabis. The legislation that was enacted in 1985 succeeded the Dangerous Drugs Act, of 1930. It was introduced as lawmakers felt that the older legislation that entailed a maximum punishment of up to four years was not strict enough to check drug trafficking.
Under section 2 (iii), the Act defines cannabis (hemp). The sub-sections refer to parts of the plant that come under the purview of the Act.
‘Charas’ is the separated resin extracted from the cannabis plant. The NDPS Act covers separated raisins, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish. According to a 2018 WHO report by the Secretariat of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), “The resin can resemble a resinous secretion of the plant, which is produced in the glandular trichomes but also occurs as finer plant material, which appears as loose or pressed sticky powder, depending on the method of production.” Charas is also commonly called ‘hash’
Section 2(iii)(b) of the NDPS Act defines ‘ganja’ as the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant but it clearly excludes the seeds and leaves, when not accompanied by the tops, by whatever name they may be known or designated.
The Act also illegalizes any mixture with or with no neutral material, of the two forms of cannabis – charas and ganja — or any drink prepared from it.
The NDPS Act banned the production and sale of Cannabis resin and flowers. Nevertheless, it permitted the use of leaves and seeds.
- Section 3 states that the Central Government has the power to add or omit the list of Psychotropic Substances.
- Section 4 states that the Central Government is empowered to prevent and combat drug usage, Psychotropic Substances, and illicit traffic.
- Section 6 states that in case of advisory function to the Central Government, a Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances Consultative Committee can be set up.
- Section 8 prohibits any person to cultivate any coca plant, opium poppy, or Cannabis plant, producing, manufacturing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transport, ware-house, consumption, inter-state export-import into India except for medicinal or scientific purposes.
- Section 14 of the Act empowers the Central Government to make special provisions for cultivation for industrial purposes of obtaining fibre or seed or for horticultural purposes.
- Section 71 empowers the Central Government to establish centres for identification, treatment, education, after-care, and rehabilitation for addicts.
Tracing The Evolution Of The Regulatory Framework
The earliest efforts to control the growth or consumption of hemp can be traced back to the 19th century. For example, (a) Egypt witnessed its first-ever penal law in 1800 that entailed a 3-month punishment for using hemp, (b) in Brazil, the use of hemp was prohibited in 1830, (c) in South Africa, a law was enacted in 1870 prohibiting the use and possession of hemp, and (d) in Greece, the cultivation, use and import of hemp was prohibited in 1890.
However, the Commission Report 1894 viewed hemp from a different perspective. After studying the usage of hemp in India, it recommended that (a) the prohibition of cultivation of the hemp plant was not desirable as it was growing all over the country anyway and prohibition would lead people to switch to substances that may be more dangerous than hemp, (b) the usage of hemp should be regulated and taxed through licensed production and sale, and (c) moderate use of hemp should be allowed as opposed to unlimited usage and carrying rights.
The Commission Report 1894, however, had little impact on the international community as hemp was not only brought under the purview of various national and international drug control measures but was also placed on par with opium and coca bush. A complete prohibition on hemp at that point (that is, in the 19th Century) was not workable because (a) countries such as Egypt were reconsidering the ban on hemp, and (b) countries that had prohibited cultivation and usage of hemp saw an immediate rise in trafficking of the plant that led to illegal smoking dens and corruption.
Why Hemp? : Possibilities and Opportunities.
We at the Hemp Foundation strongly believe that Hemp is a key to achieving Environmental, Economical and social sustainability.
Hemp is truly a miracle plant with a wide range of applications in environmentally responsible; consumer and industrial products. Hemp can be used in producing textiles, clothing, shoes, bags, food, paper, bioplastics, composites, insulation, biofuel etc. It can become a profitable cash crop for farmers when permitted to utilise the whole plant plus a multi-billion downstream market.
Hemp protects the environment and enhances biodiversity. It can be grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. Hemp is suitable for cultivation near-surface water. It 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)
Hemp has excellent carbon sequestration properties. Hemp is a carbon-negative plant. 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. It is possible to grow two crops per year so CO2 absorption can be doubled.
Hemp also restores soil health. Because of its vigorous growth, hemp is 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 cleans up the mess left behind from industrial waste and poor farming practises, and it does so in three ways:
Phytoaccumulation: Hemp’s ability to absorb contaminants from the soil as it absorbs water and nutrients, storing and accumulating toxins in its shoots and leaves until the plant dies, degrades and repeats the process
Phytovolatilization: Hemp’s ability to absorb contaminants and release the toxins into the air through its leaves.
Phytodegradation: Hemp’s ability to break down pollutants by consuming, metabolising and destroying the contaminants entirely.
Nutritional Potentials Of Hemp
Hemp can be great supplementary food. With 31% of protein; hemp seeds can also provide 2,451 kilojoules (586 kilocalories) of food energy per 100 gm serving.
Hemp is also a rich source of linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Fatty acids. These fatty acids Omega and 6 are found in ratio 3:1 in Hemp seeds which is considered the optimal range. These nutrients help in skin diseases like eczema. Hemp seeds are low in saturated fats and contain no trans fats.
Hemp seeds also contain phytosterols, which help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the body by removing fat build-up in the arteries.
Hemp seeds are also a substantial source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc
The hemp seeds contain high amounts of amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes your blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Hemp is considered a complete protein source; so they provide all the 10 essential amino acids. Our body cannot produce essential amino acids and must get them from our diet. Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants 0often lack the amino acid lysine. Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine and glutamic acid.
Fibre is an essential part of our diet and linked to better digestive health. Whole hemp seeds are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, containing 20% and 80%, respectively. Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in your gut. It’s a valuable source of nutrients for beneficial digestive bacteria and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to your stool and may help food and waste pass through your gut. It has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes.
Results of a review Trusted Source from 2018 suggest that CBD and other compounds in the seeds may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory effects and may also help to regulate the immune system. The review suggests that, because of these potential properties, CBD may help with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, and childhood seizure disorders.
Right from the time medical cannabis got legalised in several states in the US and has been administered in patients clinically, it is a miracle drug in treating several acute symptoms of some major diseases plaguing millions of people. Some of them are,
Insomnia: Research shows that CBD helps improve sleep, mainly when induced by anxiety
Nausea: Nausea is primarily caused as a side-effect of chemotherapy and cancer-related treatments.
Anxiety and depression: CBD oil has shown miraculous effects on the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic attacks. CBD has an excellent ability to act on the receptors of our brain to release the serotonin neurotransmitter, which becomes severely low in patients suffering from mental illnesses, which makes them feel “low” and enervated.
PTSD: One of the most promising areas of research on medical marijuana is in the treatment of war veterans who have PTSD showing miraculous and drastic improvements after the administration of hemp.
Whereas pharmaceutical drugs like benzodiazepines are highly addictive and can even lead to substance abuse, CBD doesn’t lead to addiction.
Glaucoma: It has also been reported to help treat Glaucoma, eye conditions that can lead to blindness, but the results are disputed.
Epilepsy: One particular type of epilepsy in kids, known as the Dravet Syndrome, is practically impossible to manage, but responds to CBD miraculously. This CBD-dominant strain is also popularly known as Charlotte’s Web. (3)Epilepsy also comes with muscle spasms, stiffness, and chronic pain, all of which are significantly reduced with the use of cannabidiol.
Muscle Spasticity: Spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis, or arthritis, and some neurological disorders, which also causes chronic pain, and tremors work miraculously on CBD. The most common drug, Sativex, an oral spray comprising both CBD and THC, has been proven to be effective and safe in reducing these symptoms. Marijuana is excellent in dulling nerve pain and multiple sclerosis. While there are several medical drugs present to treat these conditions- such as Lyrica and Neurontin, they have highly sedating effects on the patients. While patients using CBD report getting back to their daily activities feel much more relaxed.
Parkinson’s disease: CBD also acts as an excellent muscle relaxant and is unique in treating tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Chronic pain: CBD affects the Endocannabinoid receptors to interact with and release neurotransmitters naturally present in the human body to reduce acute pain and inflammation.
Alzheimer’s disease: Inflammation, one of the biggest causes of Alzheimer’s symptoms, can be effectively reduced by CBD oil administration. Clinical trials have also shown CBD’s ability in reversing, delaying, and often preventing the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
ALS: ALS can be managed with CBD oil efficiently as it delays the progression of its symptoms such as spasticity and prolongs the survival of patients, owing to its neuroprotective abilities.
Appetite loss, and severe anorexia: Anorexia Nervosa is a critical eating and psychiatric disorder. While many anorexics are given anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, they come with enormous side effects rendering patients drowsy, while research shows that CBD possesses orexigenic (an appetite stimulant/hormone) which can regulate and enhance the appetite.
AIDS and Cancer symptoms: While many people are plagued by the agony of weight gain or obesity, gaining weight becomes extremely difficult for many people, especially those with AIDS or cancer. (5) Dronabinol, a synthetic THC commonly known as Marinol, is medically approved to be used for treatment in patients, and the effect of it has always been positive with the consistent improvement of appetite, lessens nausea, and vomiting in cancer and patients of AIDS. Wasting Syndrome, a condition associated with AIDS, a slow, painful process involving loss of muscle mass and a gradual decrease in health, has also shown excellent results in reducing the symptoms.
Endometriosis, Fibromyalgia, Migraine, Interstitial cystitis (all these conditions cause chronic pain and inflammation), are also certain critical illnesses whose symptoms are also found to be expertly moderated by the use of hemp oil.
Nutritional Value of hemp seeds per 100 g ( 3.5 oz )
|Energy||2451 kJ (586 kcal)|
|Fats ( total )||48.5 g|
|Proteins ( total )||31.56 g|
|Vitamin C||0.5 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.8 mg|
Cultivating hemp as a staple crop could change people’s lives for the better worldwide, especially if you consider the vast number of people that could not only be fed but also nourished by this superfood.
Potentials and Properties Of Hemp Fibres
Hemp fibre has been used extensively throughout history. It is one of the earliest spun fibres by human civilisations. For centuries, items ranging from rope to fabrics to industrial materials were made from hemp fibre because of their versatility. Hemp was also commonly used to make sail canvas. The word “canvas” is derived from the word cannabis. Pure hemp has a texture similar to linen. True hemp is a fine, light-coloured, lustrous, and strong bast fibre obtained from the hemp plant. When spun, it is rather like flax, but thicker and coarser.
Long, slender primary fibres on the outer portion of the plant stalk characterise bast fibre. The primary hemp fibre is attached to the core fibre by Pectin- a glue-like soluble gelatinous carbohydrate. Primary hemp fibres can be used for composites, reinforcements, and speciality pulp and paper. The wood-like core hemp fibre can be used for animal bedding, paper, fuel and an assortment of building materials.
Hemp’s characteristics as a textile make it a desirable choice in many applications:
Hemp is stronger and more durable than any other natural fabric, including linen, which almost matches hemp’s abrasion resistance and tensile strength. The result is that hemp has a longer lifespan than other natural fabrics. (Patagonia is just one of the many companies which have published studies that show hemp’s superior strength; results for these studies range from 3 to 8 times stronger.) Products made from hemp will outlast their competitors for many years.
Not only is hemp strong, but it also holds its shape, stretching less than any other natural fibre. This prevents hemp fabric used in upholstery, demountable panels, acoustic panelling or wallcovering from stretching out or becoming distorted with use.
Hemp fabric withstands, even benefits from, commercial laundering. Its inherent lustre and light reflective qualities are enhanced by washing; it becomes finer and more luxurious with use. Hemp also possesses excellent soil-release properties because it sheds a microscopic layer each time it is laundered. This eliminates soiling and exposes a fresh surface. In effect, this means that hemp keeps its sleek sheen every time it is washed, that it never dulls, and that it releases stains more easily than other fabrics.
Hemp may be known for its durability, but its comfort and style are second to none. The more hemp is used, the softer it gets: it wears in, not out, thriving on regular use and machine washing without suffering fabric degradation. Hemp actually becomes softer, more resilient and more lustrous because of washing.
Hemp’s superior absorbency, because of its porous nature, means that it is breathable and quick drying. Hemp can absorb up to 20% of its own weight while still feeling dry to the touch (vs. polyester, which can absorb a maximum of 6%). This is important with any fabric that is in contact with human skin, such as sheets, as perspiration is rapidly absorbed.
It feels cooler in summer, yet during cool weather, air that is trapped in the fibres is warmed by the body, making it naturally warm.
Hemp’s absorbency allows it to accept dyes readily and retain colour better than other natural fibres, including cotton.
Hemp has a high resistance to ultraviolet light; it will not fade or disintegrate from sunlight as quickly as other natural fibres. (Tilly Endurable introduced a new hat in 2004 after testing its hemp fabric to a UPF of 50+, the maximum ultraviolet protection rating given.) UV damage is especially a problem for draperies and marine interiors, so hemp would be a good natural fibre choice for these applications.
Hemp fibre is highly resistant to rotting, and its resistance to mildew, mould and saltwater led to its premier use in marine fittings: most of all twine, rope, ship’s sails, rigging and nets up to the late 19th century were made from hemp. The word canvas itself is derived from cannabis.
Hemp as a crop is also a standout. The bio-regional model of agriculture focuses on obtaining high value for the resources of the local land, recycling the waste and end products ad infinitum and creating a “closed circle” of farming and industry. Hemp solves the crises created by modern agribusiness and conventional cotton production because,
Hemp grows well without the use of chemicals: usually, no pesticides or fungicides are used because it has few serious fungus or pest problems – although immunity to attacking organisms has been exaggerated. Several insects and fungi specialise only in hemp! But despite this, the use of pesticides and fungicides are usually unnecessary to get a good yield. No herbicides are used because dense plantings shade out weeds; no defoliants are needed (as they are with machine-harvested cotton) because the dried foliage is not a problem for harvesting.
Hemp requires less water to thrive than cotton–is actually drought tolerant–and usually grows well without irrigation. Globally, 77% of cotton crops are irrigated.
Hemp has a fibre yield higher than any other agricultural crop, requiring less land for equal yield.
Finally, any product made of hemp is fully biodegradable and easily recyclable.
Hemp and Farming In India
Over 10,000 people associated with the agricultural sector in India end their lives each year. There are many reasons for this grim issue.
- Lack Of Water Management
Contrary to popular belief, India has enough supply of water for irrigation. But what we don’t have is the right management systems.
- High Cost of Insecticides, Pesticides, and Fertilisers
Lack of information about the proper use and a will to ensure nothing goes wrong with their crop is what drives high usage of these chemicals.
- Disguised Unemployment and Lack of Modernisation
Lack of resources, no access to modern machines and farming systems, small sizes of landholdings, unorganised farming, dependence on labour.
- Overdependence on Some Crops
Indian farmers, to maximise earnings, don’t diversify their cultivation. They just grow the one crop they believe is ‘in-demand. This results in an over-production of that crop, a reduction in its price because of excess supply, and then a cycle of debts, depression, and death for the farmers ensues. This is while other crops get sidelined and remain underutilised.
- Borrowings From The Informal Sector
Indian farmers lack the paperwork, and the collateral to get loans from banks. That’s why they borrow from moneylenders.
- Climate Change
Dependency on rain, changing climatic conditions make issues for farmers adverse.
Hemp Crop is beneficial in various aspects. Its excellent properties make it the perfect crop for many uses.
- Hemp can grow in barren lands and along with that, it replenishes the soil and helps biodiversity.
- Hemp crops use land efficiently. It can grow twice the fibre volume than that of cotton per unit area.
- Cotton uses 10,000 litres of water to produce one kg of fibre. Whereas Hemp uses far fewer water resources than cotton, as it can grow on natural rainwater.
- Hemp does not need any engineered variety of seeds, it can grow from seeds from previous crops.
- Hemp also needs next to no amount of pesticides and fertilisers. Also, it’s a natural weed deterrent.
- Hemp is a resilient plant. It’s not affected by animals, which is a major concern in Uttarakhand.
- Hemp replenishes soil by returning 60% of nutrients back when dried and ploughed back into the soil.
- Hemp can be cultivated in the same land for a long time, without soil depletion or yield reduction.
- Hemp is also relatively drought-resistant and can be relied upon several times during drought-induced famine for its high protein seed.
- Hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The plant grows up to 12 feet in height within three to four months.
- Hemp is a versatile cash crop, as it gives a wide range of products from a single crop. It will boost the economy of farmers significantly.
As we can summarise, hemp is an independent crop, as it doesn’t need GMO seeds, heavy water intake, chemical pesticides, or vast land areas. It liberates farmers from loans, debts, and low incomes. Hemp can build a sustainable farming system.
Hemp can create a strong and sustainable economy. Not only farmers; but women, artisans and youth can get benefits through various stages of the hemp value chain. Cluster level models for cultivation, handicrafts and handlooms can be developed at village levels. These hubs and spoke models can lead to empowerment, skill development and building an economy that brings economical and social sustainability. We can generate employment opportunities locally for people, to irradiate issues with migrations. Hemp, when legalised and developed; can lead to growth for various industries like Textiles, Nutraceuticals, Bioplastics, Biofuels, Biocomposites, Processing and Storage Facilities, etc. Looking at global markets of hemp-based products can state that this industry can bring a considerable amount of forex to help the national economy.
Hemp is one of the few solutions for humanity that provides comprehensive development in both economic and ecological sectors. In current ages of climate change, global warming, irreversible amounts of pollution and other planetary crises, Hemp can be a great tool for humanity.
Hemp can help in carbon sequestration and hence can help significantly in climate actions towards environmental sustainability. Hemp can answer to deforestation, carbon emissions,
Plastic and textile pollution, land degradation. Through the Hemp ecosystem, the Hemp foundation aims to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and help India as a global sustainability leader.
Moving from the Hydrocarbon to the Carbohydrate Economy
The term “carbohydrate economy” was coined by David Morris of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, and North American Industrial Hemp Council founding board member.
Anything we make from a hydrocarbon can be made from a carbohydrate. The many wonderful products that come from hydrocarbons come with a large price: pollution that is massive and difficult to deal with. Every one of the products and benefits we receive from hydrocarbons (ancient and nonrenewable plant and animal material) can also be had from carbohydrates (new and renewable plant material). From a pollution standpoint, hydrocarbons are inherently dirty, carbohydrates are inherently clean.
We can get much of our industrial feedstock from the farm, rather than the oil well or the mine. We can grow our fuel domestically, rather than periodically going to war overseas for it.