Hemp: the ideal organic plant
Hemp grows quickly, without phytosanitary products, with very little water and in all kinds of soil. Its root system aerates the soil, while its density suffocates weeds. As for insects, they don’t love it… All in all, hemp is the ideal organic plant, particularly as it has multiple uses. And yet, while 176,000 ha of land was used to grow hemp in France in 1850, this figure stood at just 700 a century later.
Thankfully, hemp is now back in vogue and France is the second most prolific producer of it in the world, only behind China. With 16,400 ha of hemp grown in 2017, considerable progress has been made. It is mainly grown in five regions: Île-de-France, Normandy, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Pays de la Loire and Grand Est. But what is this hemp used for?
Historically for industrial use
Hemp seeds are used in food for humans, especially in the form of oil. They contain precious omega 3 and 6 in perfect proportions for the body. They are also widely used in bird rearing and in cosmetics. Hemp shives, the woody part of the stalk, are used for animal bedding and mulching for gardens. The fibres in the stalk can be used to make special kinds of paper, like Bible paper, in insulation for buildings and to make bioplastics. The textile industry even uses them in denim. What’s left over can be used to produce energy, through anaerobic digestion.
There is just one main requirement for hemp growers: they can only grow Sativa L varieties without narcotic properties included on European and French authorised lists.
Infinite potential and a new market: CBD
This ‘industrial’ hemp has always raised a host of questions, especially surrounding the benefits of its cannabinoids. R&D studies and innovation in extraction techniques have opened up new markets over the last few years. Well-being, cosmetics, foods, inhalation, vaping… All of these areas have seen endless new products, much to the delight of consumers, with one ingredient in common: cannabidiol, or CBD. Many manufacturers have mixed this substance with their stock solutions through state-of-the-art preparation techniques.