As you will have gathered, every HempStyle product is made primarily from hemp. It’s the material of choice for our brand, but why? What makes hemp so great and why should you choose hemp products over others? Luckily, we’ve already done all the research, so here’s everything you need to know.
What is hemp?
Hemp refers to the industrial, non-drug variants of that Cannabis genus that are cultivated for fibre, hurd and seeds. All hemp contains negligible amounts of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the chemical that makes marijuana psychoactive.
Is hemp the same as marijuana and can it be used as a drug?
No, both are part of the cannabis family but that’s where the similarities end. Marijuana can have up to 25% to 30% THC, whereas hemp has a maximum level of 0.3%, making it impossible to feel any effect from it. This threshold is heavily regulated in countries where hemp production is legalised.
Furthermore, hemp also has high Cannabidiol (CBD) content that acts as THC’s antagonist, which further negates any tiny percentage of residing THC.
How is hemp made?
Hemp is grown closely together on a growth cycle of approximately 108-120 days. Hemp fabric is made from the long strands of fibre that make up the stalk of the plant. Fibres are spun together to produce a continuous thread that can be woven into a fabric.
- ► Separating the fibres
- ► Spinning and weaving these fibres into yarn
- ► Cleaning and softening
- ► Dyeing and finishing
The various stages of the process can be done mechanically, which is the more traditional method and with modern machinery can have a low impact on the environment. Alternatively, chemical methods can be used which are less labour intensive but have a greater environmental impact. Therefore, how the process is completed determines how good for the environment using hemp is. Growing it is only half the battle.
What can hemp be used for?
There are 3 parts to hemp and these all have different uses.
- ► Used in dietary products
- ► Can be eaten raw, ground into a meal or made into milk
- ► Can be pressed and made into oil that can then be used for paint, ink or body care products
The bast (fibre, from the hemp stalk)
- ► Can be used for clothing
- ► Can be used for construction materials and paper
The shiv (hurd)
This is the soft inner core of the hemp plant stem.
- ► As chunks it can be used in cement, insulation and paper
- ► As pulp it can be used to make biodegradable plastics
- ► Hemp concrete (hempcrete) is on the rise in use in buildings as it has strong insulation, windproof and low carbon footprint properties
Why is hemp good?
So we’ve heard a lot about how it’s made and what it can be used for, but why should we use it at all?
Hemp has over 25,000 known applications and is a sustainable and eco-friendly crop. It is grown pesticide free with zero toxic chemicals.
Benefits of hemp fibre
- ► More durable and stronger than cotton
- ► Porous and breathable
- → Hemp fibres are porous so allow skin to breathe
- → The fibre softens with age while being mildew resistant
- ► Lightweight but strong
- ► Natural organic hemp fibre is biodegradable
- ► Fabrics made from hemp are considered to be hypoallergenic and non-irritating to the skin
What makes hemp ‘sustainable’?
Hemp is densely grown and chokes out competing plants so chemical herbicides aren’t necessary. It also naturally reduces pests so pesticides aren’t required either. It requires a relatively small amount of land to cultivate and returns 60%-70% of nutrients it takes from the soil.
Why is hemp better than cotton or leather?
- ► Cotton is grown on 3% of the earth’s best arable land, yet uses a whopping 25% of the world’s pesticides
- ► Cotton uses 50% more water than hemp to be turned into fabric. When you include growing and processing together, cotton uses a massive 4-5 times more water
- ► Hemp can produce up to double the fibre yield per hectare than cotton
- ► Hemp insulates better than cotton and is also better at blocking the sun’s harmful UV rays
- ► Hemp is less prone to fading
- ► Hemp is lighter but stronger than cotton
Can I find out more?
You sure can, and we’d recommend you start with the links shown below: