In this section we hope to outline the possible industrial uses of hemp; to summarise the state of the hemp industry world-wide and in the UK; to review hemp products and services; and to show how hemp (along with other plants, and an investment in new technology) could help us move to a sustainable economy future for the planet.
Industrial Uses of Cannabis
The Agriculture of British Hemp in the 1990s
by Peter Messenger and Ian Low from Hemcore. In this major report, pioneering hempsters Hemcore outline how they persuaded the Home Office to let them grow hemp, and all the details of hemp cultivation in the UK in the 90's.
Hemp Textiles in Britain - Opportunities for Bioregional Development
by Sue Riddlestone from the Ecology Center, in Essex. In this paper presented to the Industrial Hemp Conference in Canada in March 1996, the concept of sustainable bioregional development is outlined and the prospects for growing hemp for textiles in the South-east of England are discussed.
The Agricultural History of Hemp in the UK
by Stuart Young (From the Culture section)
In this work-in-progress, you can discover where and why hemp was grown in the UK in the past 1000 years. Also what sort of evidence is there that hemp was grown?
Helping Earth's Sustainable Management with a Plant
kindly donated to UKCIA by the author, Clare Saunders, upon finishing her degree.
This commercial website features pictures of hemp growing, being harvested and processed. They offer a wide range of hemp products and also have an extensive guide to hemp information on the Internet.
UK Flax and Hemp Production - The impact of changes in support measures on the competitiveness and future potential of UK fiber production and use. DEFRA website - PDF format.
The largest grower and processor of hemp inthe UK
A field of Hemp, somewhere in England
Hemp Seed Food
Throughout world history people prized the nutritious and delicious hemp seed as a valuable food resource. Each culture had its own traditional recipies. Typically they would be ground and used like flour, pressed to produce oil or toasted and used in celebratory treats. Today they are still used in cooking in many countries worldwide, while hemp enthuasiasts in the west are developing and marketing new products such as chewy bars, cheese and ice-cream!
Hemp seeds have nutritional qualities which make it extremely valuable as a human food. They are high in essential minerals, but low in dangerous heavy metals. They are low in vitamins but you should be getting those from fresh vegetables. They contain a high proportion of protein, containing all eight essential amino acids (needed by, but not made by the human body) in the correct proportions that humans need. Soybeans contain more protein, but these are complex proteins that many people find hard to digest. The proteins in hemp are so easily digestible, that scientists advise their use for treating malnurishment.
Hemp seeds contain large amounts of oil, almost all of it unsaturated. Hemp oil is mainly composed of the essential fatty acids (needed by, but not made by the human body) in exactly the correct proportion that humans need. The supplementary oil industry in the US is just becoming big business, with sales of primrose oil and flax oil rising. These don't contain the right balance of oils, and they taste unpleasant - hemp oil has a delicious nutty taste. However hemp oil has one major drawback - it goes rancid extremely quickly after exposure to air. Vacuum pressing and bottling will keep the oil fresh for up to a year, but after it has been opened it must be kept refrigerated and used very quickly.