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Robert Gomez
Robert Gomez

Hemp: Industrial Production And Uses


Other uses of hemp include cosmetics (oils, lotions, shampoos, etc.) and energy production (biofuels). There is also interest in the production and marketing of hemp extracts, notably cannabidiol (CBD), due to its possible uses in cosmetics, health products and food. These possible uses are, however, subject to the relevant EU requirements. In November 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union determined that the marketing of legally produced CBD is permitted under EU law.




Hemp: Industrial Production and Uses



Hemp (Cannabis sativa Linn) is a species in the Cannabaceae family in which the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is very low, according to the provisions under the common agricultural policy (CAP). Hemp is grown primarily for its industrial uses and there are 75 different hemp varieties registered in the EU catalogue. Due to the very low level of THC, hemp complying with the provisions of the CAP is not used to produce narcotic drugs.


Key cultivation techniques and recommended cultivars for the production of hemp grown for fiber and grain are provided in the literature, particularly for production in Europe, China, and Canada (Amaducci et al., 2015; Government of Alberta, 2020; Laate, 2012; Parvez et al., 2021). There is limited peer-reviewed, published literature providing recommended cultivars and production practices for cannabinoid cultivars (Caplan et al., 2019; Mark et al., 2020). Several state universities have issued guidelines for industrial hemp flower production. All emphasize that additional research is required before scientifically based production recommendations can be made. A University of Georgia Extension publication (Coolong, 2020) states that much of the acreage of hemp grown for floral material is being produced using polyethylene mulch and drip irrigation with early spring plantings on black polyethylene mulch and late spring plantings on white-on-black polyethylene mulch. Clear skies and high temperatures can lead to excessive heat buildup on the surface of soil under black polyethylene mulch. The high heat can damage young plants and reduce germination of seeded crops. White-on-black polyethylene mulches can lower bed temperatures significantly and improve transplant survival and increase germination and survival of seeded crops. Although the exact date to switch from black polyethylene mulch to white-on-black polyethylene mulch can vary from year to year due to seasonal environmental conditions, a rule of thumb has been to switch to white mulch in the middle of June (Johnson, 2021).


  • On December 20, 2018, the President of the United States signed the 2019 Farm Bill, which authorizes states to implement a hemp (= industrial hemp) program under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including removal of hemp from the definition of marijuana - a Schedule I drug. This change will allow commercialization of hemp as a legitimate agricultural crop separate from marijuana. Marijuana is still illegal to grow in Indiana. On March 26, 2014, Governor Mike Pence signed the "Industrial Hemp" bill into law, IC 15-15-13, authorizing the Office of Indiana State Chemist & Seed Commissioner to obtain the necessary permits and authorizations for and production and regulation of industrial hemp in Indiana. USDA approves Indiana Hemp Plan - Press Release (pdf, 120kb) - 10/22/20



The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill, Section 10113) directs the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue regulations and guidance to implement a program for the commercial production of industrial hemp in the United States. USDA hemp production program


Placer County code currently excludes the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) from the list of allowable land uses in the county. All industrial hemp activities are prohibited until such time as the county elects to change its code.


Federal Farm Bill - While the 2018 Federal Farm Bill defined industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, and removed it from the Federal Controlled Substances Act, there are still a number of steps that must take place before USDA certifies state hemp programs, including California's. More information on USDA's program can be found here: -production-program


There is currently no legal exemption in Ireland under the Misuse of Drugs legislative framework for any amount of THC, causing a barrier for the processing of hemp in Ireland, as the main two cannabinoids in industrial hemp are CBD and THC. Some European countries have amended their national legislation to exempt finished products containing trace amounts of THC at levels not greater than 0.3%. This would remove the grey area concerning the production and sale of CBD products. To enable the development of an industry based on hemp, a licence to grow approved varieties of hemp can be obtained. The approved list of varieties is published by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), which is a State body whose parent Government department is the Department of Health. Advice on obtaining a licence is available by emailing: controlleddrugs@hpra.ie.


Hemp oil has both industrial uses and applications in the health supplement and personal care markets. It contains many essential fatty acids thought to be of benefit to human nutrition. Hemp oil has similar industrial uses to that of linseed oil in paints and varnishes, and may also be used in printing inks and solvents.


In the 2018 farm bill, industrial hemp was removed from the controlled substance list and hemp farmers were made eligible for federal crop insurance and researchers were enabled to apply for federal grants. In that year US hemp production increased to 78,176 acres, an increase of more than 200% from 2017 (Table 1), when hemp was grown for research.


Nebraska legalized hemp production for fiber, grain, or cannabidiol (CBD) in 2019, with the condition that plant parts of industrial hemp have a THC concentration of less than 0.3%. Production and use of marijuana and THC for medical and recreational purposes remain illegal in Nebraska.


The planned end use is also very important when considering variety selection. Like in other crops, there is significant variety variation in height, biomass production, fiber quality, grain production and quality, as well as CBD production and quality. Typically, crop height is associated with end use, taller varieties are used for fiber and medium and semi-dwarfs are used for their reproductive structures (i.e. floral and seed). Taller varieties are typically 7 to 18 feet tall, medium are 6 to 7 feet, semi-dwarfs are 4 to 5 feet and dwarf varieties are 3 to 4 feet. Identifying the production goal is critical in choosing the proper variety. It is important to note that Oklahoma State University has not conducted industrial hemp variety trials and does not have a recommended list of varieties. 041b061a72


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