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Hemp is one of the many varieties of the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa L., or more commonly referred to as industrial hemp. When people ask, ‘what is hemp?, And how does it differ from the marijuana variety of cannabis?’ Hemp has had a long history dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. Today many in the industry are working to set the record straight on the uses and purposes of hemp. It’s a common belief that smoking hemp can get you high, but the truth is that hemp cannot get you high and is specifically non-intoxicating (less than 0.3% THC, vs. varieties of medical cannabis that have more than 30% THC ). The two varieties of hemp and marijuana get even more different when you look at the production, use, and chemical makeup. Furthermore, the legal parameters placed on each make it clear they are truly different. While many states have medical and recreational marijuana laws, hemp is legalized under an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Did you know the first Levis’ were made from hemp textiles and the original drafts of the U.S. Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper? Looking back on a plant that has had such an abundant and yet complicated history, hemp has been known to have thousands of different purposes. The hemp plant is highly renewable with nearly every part of the plant having a practical application upon harvest. For over 10,000 years the hemp plant’s flowers and leaves have been used to create oils and smokable flowers, its seeds ground for proteins and the stems shredded and woven to create fiber. Today CBD oil leads the hemp industry as the primary product of cultivation and carries with it the ability to aid in tending to a number of conditions.
To take a look further into how hemp and marijuana differ, we can look into the ways they’re cultivated. When working with marijuana plants, ensuring males are separated and removed from the crop is critical to ensure pollination doesn’t take place and the flowers aren’t filled with seeds. Whereas with hemp cultivation, separating plants based on sex is unnecessary because the seeds have many possible uses. Hemp plants are typically grown outdoors and can be planted at a more dense ratio based on whether the crop will go towards fiber or oil production. One important farming technique used by many that grow hemp is crop rotation. Even though hemp may appear to be more hardy than marijuana, it doesn't make it immune to potential disease or infestation of insects that might occur from the buildup of organisms in the fields. Marijuana plants are a bit more particular about the conditions for which they are grown in, and are often grown indoors or in protected greenhouses where the elements can be controlled more easily.
As the pictures above shows, the seeds and stalks of the hemp plant provide many possibilities for consumption. As Cannabis Tech explains about hemp processing, “Hemp is naturally tough; the stalks are woody and nearly impossible to break down with traditional equipment used for most common grain products. It's this very characteristic that makes hemp extremely applicable for a virtually unlimited number of commercial and industrial applications.” This is why the decortication process (the removal of the tougher material from the softer more fibrous material) will directly influence the quality of the hemp byproduct.At Rocky Ford Hemp Company, we strive to think of new ways to innovate the hemp farming process. Wherever possible, as a family operation we need to rely on equipment to help us get the job done. We’ve dialed in our hemp cutter which takes the first pass at our field prior to the use of our patent pending Hemp-Combine Machine. Rocky Ford Harvesting has taken what once was a painstaking manual operation and cutting time to harvest down to a fraction of what it once was.