Hemp is a plant of the Cannabaceae family, widely known as Cannabis and consumed as a drug. This plant comes in different species of which industrial, textile or agricultural hemp (Cannabis sativa L) is one of the subspecies. The cultivation of this subspecies of hemp is done for its production of raw material and is subject to strict supervision to differentiate it from cannabis. Industrial hemp is differentiated from the drug by its concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) unlike cannabis (drug) which contains much more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Industrial hemp therefore contains a low content of THC or other cannabinoids, the term hemp is preferably used to designate the industrial plant or its vegetable fiber unlike cannabis, which is used to designate the psychotropic form, used for medical purposes or as a drug. In the following, we will only focus on industrial hemp.
In the 1950's, the cultivation of hemp was forbidden everywhere in the world because of its THC content, except in France and Spain where hemp was cultivated mainly for paper making. France with more than 50% of the world production of hemp is the first producer before China. It only authorizes the cultivation of hemp with a THC content of less than or equal to 0.2%, this cultivation is subject to an official declaration under the regulation of hemp cultivation in France. In 2016, hemp represented 14,500 ha in France out of approximately 28,000 ha in the European Union. A crop that is growing rapidly over the past ten years.
Hemp is grown in a hemp field during the spring, it grows in three months, requires little maintenance and its cultivation is known to improve soil quality, fight against hydromorphic, and increase the soil carbon rate. Harvested at the end of August, having reached a height of three to five meters depending on the variety, the hemp plant is pulled up by hand and then processed for use in several industries. During its transformation, the plant undergoes retting, crushing, and dyeing; a stage where these different parts are separated and worked for various purposes.
After the transformation of the plant by the hemp grower (cooperative of hemp producers), we obtain the hemp seed (central and soft part that represents the wood of hemp), the hemp seeds still called hempseed and the hemp fiber (periphery of the stalk), which once carded becomes the hemp wool. The different parts of the hemp plant are used in different industries. These fibers are considered among the best vegetable fibers in the textile industry, they are ecological, pleasant to wear and resistant; historical fibers, the first clothing was woven in hemp fiber. These fibers are often mixed with other plant fibers such as cotton to obtain a much softer fabric.
The hemp, which is characterized by short fibers mixed with wood, is used for rope, paper, transportation, and thermal design of buildings. As for the seeds, they are used to make food supplements, oil, flour, and drink.