Hemp belongs to the same family(cannabis sativa) to which marijuana(cannabis) belongs and hence, is often confused by many as a psychotropic substance(any drug that affects behaviour, mood, thoughts, or perception). But, the active ingredient that produces a feeling of well-being, mild intoxication, and mild sensory distortions or hallucinations, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is only 0.3 per cent or less (by dry weight) in hemp.
Hence, the primary goal for its cultivation is not for psychotropic or analgesic effects.
According to global news wire, The US hemp derivatives market was valued at US$ 1,403.5 Mn in 2018 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23. 7% during the forecast period 2019 – 2027 to reach US$ 7,056.4 Mn by 2027 and according to new data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), US farmers more than quadrupled the land planted with hemp in the past year, from 27,424 acres in August 2018 to 128,320 acres today.
Comparing the stats of the US to that of what we have at home, it is difficult to gauge consumer interest in hemp just yet. It is however notable that the history of hemp and cannabis use suggests that India holds vast untapped potential regarding hemp if there is an ease created for marketers and consumers. Until such time that hemp becomes free to cultivate and attains legal status India remains a market brimming with potential, but only barely realized profits.
What aids hemp demarcate it’s position as a true cash crop is the fact that it is one of the fastest-growing plants and can be refined to get a lot of industrial products like fibres, clothing, paint, food, etc. Hence, it is also popularly known as industrial hemp. The reason for hemp’s growing popularity is its varied industrial applications.
Hemp’s dietary and medical uses which make it profitable for farmers is one of the many reasons for its popularity.
The fibres of industrial hemp are used to develop pulp that gives birth to a variety of papers including cigarette paper, banknotes, etc. Since these papers are commercially very significant it demands extensive hemp farming.
Also, hemp is not a recreational drug as it has a low percentage of THC the legality of hemp is high amongst the countries. That makes it a crop of wider acceptance and hence, popular.
Another very significant reason is the presence of cannabidiol or CBD, which is found in the flowers & leaves of the hemp plant. It’s used to develop medicines like epidiolex which is used in the treatment of epilepsy. Since, along with epilepsy, it is believed to be an anti-inflammatory and analgesic it’s gaining a lot of attention from the pharmaceutical companies which are planning to exploit the medicinal benefits of hemp.
China is currently the largest producer of hemp but due to its gaining popularity the production is increasing in a lot of other countries too and in the near future the US might surpass china in hemp’s production.
Hemp fibers can be blended with other fibers such as flax, cotton, or silk to produce hemp cloth which is both versatile and durable. The one major advantage of hemp clothing is that it provides protection from UV rays and breathes excellently subsiding bacterial growth. It also retains colours better than any other fabric.
Hemp is also gaining popularity and acceptance as it also gives birth to hemp oil which is perfect for most of the skin types. It moisturizes without clogging your pores and acts as a good anti-inflammatory due to one of the omega-6 fatty acids that hemp oil contains which is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Hemp oil also has anti-aging properties as it helps regrow and regenerate skin cells. It can be combined with different essential oils to produce a great and desirable concoction depending on the purpose and skin types. Due to such health benefits of hemp oil, it’s in great demand. Cosmetic industries are working to discover the miraculous benefits of hemp oil and selling it to generate great revenue. Dermatologists also suggest it as it’s a natural product having almost zero side effects.
Clearly, Hemp is a plant of multiple benefits it’s gaining popularity among different sectors and countries.