Is Hemp Sustainable & Eco Friendly For Fibres, Fabric & Textiles?

We’ve already put together guides about some of the most eco friendly fibres and fabrics, and the least eco friendly fibres and fabrics.

In the guide below, we look at how Hemp rates in terms of sustainability and eco friendliness according to different measures.

We also include some basic information about what Hemp is, what it’s used for, how it’s grown and processed, and what the current regulations and restrictions around Hemp might be.


Summary – How Sustainable & Eco Friendly Is Hemp For Clothing, Fabric & Textiles?

Sustainability & Eco Friendliness

– Potential Benefits

It’s natural and renewable

It may be a carbon neutral or carbon negative as a plant and crop i.e. the hemp plant absorbs the same amount or more carbon dioxide as it takes to grow or produce hemp

May use less energy to produce than some other fibres, and may help save fuel and energy as a material at the consumer usage stage

It can use minimal or no irrigation in places with adequate rainfall

It can use minimal or no pesticides and herbicides

May in some parts of the world not need much synthetic fertilizer

Can be a very high yielding crop compared to other fibres like cotton and flax (can yield roughly double the yield of flax for example in some instances on the same area of land)

Can be biodegradable and recyclable

It can use less land to produce than cotton

It’s good for soil health and can help reduce land degradation in a number of ways

May be good for a range of other sustainability measures like biodiversity, oxygen production, and more


– Potential Drawbacks

Hemp is known as a ‘weed’ when unmanaged, and may strangle or take over other plant life in the area

May not have the established third party certification organic programs that a fibre like cotton might have right now 


– Compared To Other Fibres

Hemp might be better environmentally than regular cotton across sustainability indicators such as potentially using less pesticide, less water (particularly irrigated water), and using less land.

But, there are also some fibre crops, and some fibres in general, that may outperform hemp across some sustainability indicators at different product lifecycle stages.


Social Considerations

Where less pesticides and herbicides are used, farm workers may not be exposed to as much potentially harmful chemicals


Economic Considerations

Can grown very cost effectively in some climates around the world, such as in Colombia with greenhouse cultivation

May not currently receive as much subsidy support as a fibre like cotton in some countries countries at the moment, which may be a limitation in some regards

China, because of their history with hemp and their mass producer status (which has lead to development of infrastructure), may hold an competitive economic advantage over other countries


Practical Considerations

Farmers can use crop as a rotational crop, it can grown near surface water, and it can be used as a crop in countries where fuel wood is scarce and food security is an issue

How efficiently and quickly hemp can be harvested and processed may be an issue in some instances

Separating fiber from the hemp plant (i.e. retting) can be time intensive when some methods are used, although new technology may change this in the future

Hemp spinning can be less efficient than cotton spinning (and can involve chemicals when companies try to do it quickly and cheaply)

Hemp as a fibre has different traits to consider compared to other fibres

Most parts of the hemp plant can be utilized, especially the fibers, and the seeds/grains. And a range of products can be made from hemp

But, legislation and regulation on hemp can restrict and put challenges in the way of the growing, selling, importing/exporting and using of hemp for different purposes (such as industrial, commercial and research purposes) in different Provinces and States in different countries

China is currently identified by several sources as the major producer of hemp

Some projections expect the hemp industry to grow, and hemp demand to increase, with increased demand especially for hemp seed and oil


What About The Eco Friendliness & Sustainability Of Other Fibres & Fabrics?

We’ve put together guides about some of the most eco friendly fibres and fabrics, and the least eco friendly fibres and fabrics.

These guides may provide further insight on how hemp compares to other fibres too.


Other Factors That Might Impact The Sustainability Or Eco Friendliness Of Fibres

This guide outlines some more of the factors that contribute to how sustainable and eco friendly different fibres and fabrics might be.


*This Guide Is A Generalisation Only

The different variables in hemp growing (conditions, climates, soils, farming technology, farming methods), retting, processing, production, usage, etc. can all impact the final sustainability footprint of hemp.

This is especially true between different producers, and between the developed and developing world countries.


What Is Hemp?

Hemp, sometimes called industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species 


Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana 

Hemp and Marijuana are both varieties of the cannabis plant, but two of the main differences between them are:

– The THC content in them

– The stalk in terms of how hollow or solid it is, and it’s fiber content


THC Content

From Marijuana can contain as much as 20% THC, compared to less than 1% for industrial hemp. 


China defines hemp similarly to the United States, meaning the plant must not have THC content greater than 0.3% (


Marijuana contains at least 3 percent THC by weight, whereas hemp falls below that threshold (


Hemp Stalk

From ‘Most hemp varieties also have a hollow stalk that have a very high fiber content (35%), in contrast to marijuana varieties that usually have a solid stalk having low fiber content (15%)’


Other Differences further outlines the difference between hemp and marijuana


The Hemp Plant As A Crop

What Does The Plant Consist Of?

Hemp crops/plants consist of the primary outer bast fiber layer, and an inner woody core fiber layer (the hurds).

The woody core fibers also surround the pith


Hemp Crop Derived Agricultural Products

Hemp crop products consist of fiber, seed, or both (when it’s grown as a dual-purpose crop)


What The Hemp Plant Is Used For

Hemp crop derived products like fiber and seed can be used for a number of industrial uses, and also commercial items. lists the different products that can be made from the hemp primary fibers, the wood like core fibers, and hemp seed.

It’s worth noting that it’s the primary fibers that are used for textiles. has a pie chart that shows what types of products China uses it’s hemp plant crops for.

75% of crops are used for fiber, 7% for food, 5% for CBD, and 13% for other products. also outlines what types of products Hemp is being used for in different countries, with fiber, oil, seed or grain based products being common.

In some countries, it can be used with authorization for medical, scientific and research purposes (as long as it doesn’t have more than 1% THC), or for industrial purposes like fiber for textiles.


How Efficiently The Hemp Plant Is Used

The more of a plant or organic material that can be used, the more efficiently that organic material might use resource inputs, and also contribute to a more circular economy.

The hemp plant may have the capability to use most of the plant for products.


The flower, seeds, fibre, shivs, leaves of the hemp plant can all be used … (



[Every part of the Hemp plant can be used/utilized]

[Hemp is used for] over 30,000 different products


How Is Hemp Harvested/Cultivated?

You can read more about how hemp is harvested in the listed resource by 

Some farms and countries may harvest Hemp in a slightly different way depending on the technology available in the country or on the farm


What Type Of Soil Does Hemp Need To Grow?

Hemp generally needs soil with good organic matter to grow well

It needs well aerated, loamy soils, and does best when organic matter is greater than 3.5%.

It doesn’t tend to do well in wet soils or clay type soils



Hemp can be grown on a widespread scale throughout Australia, on nutrient poor soils [and] on existing agricultural land (unlike most forestry projects) … (


You can also read more about growing conditions and soil condition requirements for hemp in this resource from


How Is The Hemp Plant Processed After Harvesting?

You can read more about how each part of the hemp plant (mainly the grain/seed and the fiber) are processed in the listed resource

Once again, depending on the product and processing facility available, the hemp seeds or fibres may be processed differently


Production & Consumption Of Hemp

Total Production Of Hemp (By Weight)

[Hemp fiber has a] global production of 90,000 tons (


Production Compared To Cotton (By %)

Hemp is not produced on the level that cotton is right now as a natural fibre.


Hemp fiber accounts for less than 0.4% of global fiber production. The fiber industries are still dominated by cotton at nearly 75% (


Most Commonly Produced Fibres, & How Hemp Compares

Hemp is not produced on the level that cotton and synthetic fibres like polyester are right now.


This guide outlines the most commonly produced fibres, and includes some data on how Hemp compares to these fibres.


How Many Countries Produce Hemp

Hemp is grown in a number of countries worldwide – over 30 countries in total.


Over 30 [different] countries produce industrial hemp … (


Thirty-six countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and North America permit hemp production (


There’s more information on the production (and regulation) of Hemp in different countries around the world in the listed resource


Countries That Make/Produce The Most Hemp 

China appears to be the top producer of hemp according to various sources.


The world-leading producer of hemp is China, which produces more than 70% of the world output.

France ranks second with about a quarter of the world production.

Smaller production occurs in the rest of Europe, Chile, and North Korea.



China is the world’s largest producer of hemp

Note though that there is a big difference between being able to produce/grow hemp, and being able to commercially sell it – different countries have different regulations and restrictions on this



… China produces more than half the world’s hemp supply (


China is the largest hemp producer and exporter in the world and is responsible for an estimated 1/5 of total global hemp production (


From As of 2017, Canada was the top cultivator of hemp in the world [in terms of acreagle] … [and China was not far behind in second] 


The resource outlines how much Hemp production is happening in countries outside of the US.


Hemp Grown In The US

Colorado may be one of the top producing States in the US According to some of the more recent reports.


In America:

Colorado accounts for nearly a third of the legal hemp acreage in the country in 2017, at 7,500 acres.

Oregon (3,469), North Dakota (3,020), Kentucky (3,000) and New York (2,000) rounded out the top five.

– indicates that the acreage of hemp crops has grown significantly in recent years, but, ‘the U.S. is still significantly behind in the hemp industry compared to other countries’


The Yield Of Hemp Crops

Yield is an important measure of the efficient use of resources in agriculture.

High yield can mean more production, but it can also man that spare land and resources can be used on other production (such as other crops).

From the figures below, it appears that Hemp may be a higher yielding crop than cotton and flax across some indicators.

Hemp may also get more harvests per year in more favorable climates, and inside greenhouses as opposed to being grown in open soil.


Per Acre


One acre of hemp can yield an average of 700 pounds of grain, which in turn can be pressed into about 22 gallons of oil and 530 pounds of meal.

The same acre will also produce an average of 5,300 pounds of straw, which can be transformed into approximately 1,300 pounds of fiber


Hemp is typically grown anywhere between 250,000 to 500,00 plants per acre (

[This plant per acre number can be calculated alongside figures for available land, and production per plant, to get a total production number]


You get roughly 40 to 50 pounds of hemp per acre (


With fiber, hemp should bring a minimum yield of 6,000 lbs. per acre, but … [also] 5 tons per acre (


How Many Harvests Per Year

From Colombia’s tropical weather and plentiful land make it ideal for low-cost greenhouse cultivation [of Hemp] year-round, allowing growers to generate up to three or four crops annually


Compared To Other Fibres

[Hemp is] a high yield fibre

Per acre, hemp produces up to 250% more fiber than cotton (and flax).



Hemp produces 250% more yield per acre than cotton and 600% more than flax (



[Yield] Hemp has a fiber yield higher than any other agricultural crop, thereby requiring less land for equal yield …

[The average fiber production in pounds per acre are – hemp 485 – 809 lbs, , flax 323 to 465 lbs, conventional cotton 121 to 445 lbs, organic cotton 80-102lbs, and wool 62lbs.] … 

This yield translates into high biomass, which can be converted into fuel in the form of clean-burning alcohol, or no-sulphur man-made coal.


How Much Land Does Hemp Use?

Hemp may require significantly less land than cotton, and slightly less than polyester.


Compared To Other Crops & Fibres, and outline a case study that compares the water, land, and energy requirements of cotton, polyester, and hemp textiles.

[They mention that production methods impact the sustainability of a fibre, but the information provided on land use was …]

[Cotton] needs approximately twice as much territory as hemp per ton of finished textile …

While organic farmers can save on energy by cutting synthetic pesticides and herbicides, their yield per acre drops.

Polyester … does almost as well as hemp on land use.


How Much Water Is Used To Grow & Produce Hemp?

Hemp uses water in the growing/harvesting stage.

But hemp can also use water in the processing/manufacturing stage, for retting, and fibre processing and production.

We don’t have data on the production stage of hemp yet, but several sources indicate that hemp uses less water for farming than some other crops and fibres.

Where adequate rainfall is available, hemp may need little or no irrigation.


Water For Growing Hemp

There are some myths around hemp plants and the amount of water they need [it needs more water than people think]

Hemp won’t grow in an area without irrigation unless you have rainfall

Hemp plants need roughly 6 gallons of water per week to thrive



Hemp requires at least 20-30 inches of rainfall during the growing period, and irrigation is necessary if precipitation is less than adequate (


Hemp can be grown on a widespread scale throughout Australia … with very small amounts of water and no fertilisers … (


Compared To Other Crops & Fibres

Compared to cotton, the hemp plant’s water usage is drastically better.

It can take over 5,000 gallons to produce only 2.2 pounds of cotton, whereas it takes less than 700 gallons to produce 2.2 pounds of hemp. 



Hemp takes half as much water as corn and other agricultural products (


From Hemp requires less water … than cotton [and] is actually drought tolerant [and] grows well without irrigation., and outline a case study that compares the water, land, and energy requirements of cotton, polyester, and hemp textiles.

[They mention that production methods impact the sustainability of a fibre, but the information provided on water use was …]

The cotton plant needs about 50 percent more water per season than hemp, which can grow with little irrigation. (It’s so prolific that the overwhelming majority … of cannabis plants uprooted by the Drug Enforcement Administration every year are a wild relative of hemp …)

Cotton also tends to be grown in parts of the world where water is scarce.

More than one-half of the world’s cotton fields rely on irrigation, because it grows in some relatively dry regions …

When you add processing into the equation, cotton uses more than four times as much water as hemp.

Polyester is difficult to compare, because it’s not an agricultural product.

But some studies suggest it’s the least water-intensive of the bunch, using just one-thousandth as much water as cotton. (In fact, water is a byproduct of polyester processing.)


Carbon Footprint Of Hemp

But, Hemp is generally better at removing carbon from the atmosphere at the growing stage – this is one of it’s big benefits.


Carbon Negative, Or Carbon Neutral

The production of Hemp is carbon negative, which means it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere during its growth than is emitted by the equipment used to harvest, process and transport it (


Hemp is carbon neutral or carbon positive (


How Much CO2 Hemp Absorbs/Removes From Atmosphere

Hemp removes 1.63 tons of CO2 [from the atmosphere] per ton of hemp

… in 2016 alone [industrial hemp crop resulted] in an average of 10 tons per acre of carbon dioxide being removed from [the] atmosphere [in Colorado] (



One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare.

It is possible to grow to 2 crops per year so absorption is doubled.

Hemp’s rapid growth (grows to 4 metres in 100 days) makes it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, more efficient than agro-forestry

[Read more about the science behind hemp as a carbon sink in the resource]


From (paraphrased):

… One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare 

[the growth rate of hemp helps with carbon absorption]

It is possible to grow to two crops per year so CO2 absorption can be doubled



On average, an acre of hemp sequesters about 11,000 pounds of CO2 [or about 10 tons of CO2] throughout photosynthesis during its growth cycle.

Then, the carbon emissions of all subsequent farming and manufacturing activities are counted against [sequestered amount].

Ultimately, whether the carbon emissions … exceeds the carbon sequestered via hemp’s growth cycle depends on [several activities, such as whether hemp is mineral fertilized or organic fertilized]


Compared To Other Fiber Crops

From Industrial hemp has been scientifically proven to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop and is therefore the ideal carbon sink has a good infographic that shows the carbon footprint of different natural fibre crops, such as hemp, flax, and jute.

There’s two scenarios for hemp – mineral fertilized, and organic fertilized.

Organic fertilized has a slightly lower carbon footprint.

Hemp has a similar carbon footprint to flax, with jute having a slightly higher carbon footprint than both.


Indoor vs Outdoor Cannabis Production

[Outdoor hemp production might be far more climate friendly in terms of emissions compared to indoor hemp production]

Compared to outdoor growth of cannabis plants, growing one ounce of cannabis indoors] is the equivalent to burning up 60 liters of petrol 

[Making indoor LED lights, climate controlled systems, and indoor air circulation technologies more energy efficient can also impact the carbon footprint]



How Much Energy Hemp Uses

Hemp can use energy in the growing stage for fertiliser, other inputs, and harvesting machinery.

It can also use energy in the processing stage for fibre production.

Hemp may use less energy than polyester to produce., and outline a case study that compares the water, land, and energy requirements of cotton, polyester, and hemp textiles.

[They mention that production methods impact the sustainability of a fibre, but the information provided on energy use was …]

Pesticides and herbicides account for more than one-half of the energy in farming either hemp or cotton …

Organic cotton required [slightly] less energy than organic hemp

Polyester, a petroleum-based synthetic fabric, was the clear loser by a 3-1 margin, because it takes so much energy to extract the oil required to make it.


Hemp As A Finished Material Product, & Energy Savings

What we do have some data on though is the use of hemp in products, and how that might lead to energy efficiency and energy conservation at the consumer usage stage.

This may consequently lead to more sustainable use of resources like vehicle fuel …



Hemp represents a sustainable and carbon negative source of plasticizing material [and] Body panels and chassis components made from hemp are lighter weight than steel or metal which improves fuel efficiency and are far more dent resistant than steel.

[And] Every bit of plastic, carpeting and upholstery in a car can be made of hemp


How Much Pesticide Does Hemp Use?

Several sources indicate hemp doesn’t requirement pesticides and herbicides to grow.


Hemp does not require the use of herbicides or pesticides.

… The acres are thick enough in density of plants that it deters pests and competing weeds …



While most crops require the use of pesticides in order to survive and thrive, hemp, or Cannabis sativa, is considered rare because it doesn’t.

Hemp is naturally resistant to most pests, negating the need for any pesticides.



From Hemp can be grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides.



Hemp grows well without the use of chemicals: usually no pesticides or fungicides are used because [hemp has] few serious fungus or pest problems … [and] the use of pesticides and fungicides are usually unnecessary to get a good yield. … [and finally] no defoliants are needed [like] they are with machine harvested cotton …


How Much Fertilizer Does Hemp Use?

According to several sources, hemp can be grown with little to no fertiliser.

But, in some instances, it may use similar nitrogen fertilizer amounts as other crops such as canola.


Hemp Specifically

[Hemp] requires very little fertilizer … (


Hemp can be grown on a widespread scale throughout Australia … with very small amounts of water and no fertilisers … (


Compared To Other Crops

Hemp has similar nutrient needs as canola and especially requires added nitrogen … with 15% additional nitrogen.

Conventional NPKS (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur) fertilization is recommended at the same levels required to grow rapeseed.



Impact Of Hemp On Soil & Land Health

Some of the potential soil benefits provided by hemp might be:

– Providing and returning nutrients and organic matter to the soil

– Helps aerate soil and protect against soil erosion/degradation with it’s long root system

– Help clean soil, or improve soil conditions, thus helping with either soil reclamation, or preparing soil for another crop to be planted


General Soil Health

… the roots [of the hemp plant] are important for soil health (


Providing Soil With Organic Matter & Nutrients

Hemp may … rebuild and condition soils by replacing organic matter and providing aeration through its extensive root system (


Hemp … puts more nutrients back into the soil than it takes out (


… during the “retting” process when fibers are separated from the stalk, up to 70% of the nutrients from [hemp are] returned to the soil (


Aeration, & Protecting Against Soil Erosion

The plant also has long roots, so prevents soil erosion and aerates the soil (


Land/Soil Reclamation, Purifying Soil & Preparing Soil For Other Crops (paraphrased) indicates hemp has a number of benefits such as:

[hemp] can be used for land reclamation and indeed phytoremediation; ‘cleaning’ land polluted by heavy metals.

Hemp is a valuable preceding crop in rotations.

After cultivation the soil is left in optimum condition


How Many Chemicals Does Hemp Use In The Processing Stage?

It depends.

Hemp could use a more mechanical process to separate hemp fibers, and could also use more organic and eco friendly chemicals or solvents for fibre production.

But, hemp may also use chemicals for fiber separation, in addition to heavier chemicals for fibre production and finishing (such as dyeing).

The second scenario may be less eco friendly and sustainable, and in some countries may also potentially be more harmful for production line workers. 


Other Potential Sustainability Benefits Of Hemp

Below is a list of more potential sustainability benefits of hemp as a crop, and when used in products.


Lifespan At The Consumer Usage Stage

[Has a longer lifespan than other natural fabrics – which means it’s more sustainable at the consumer stage] (


Biodegradability & Recyclability

… any product made of hemp is fully biodegradable and easily recyclable (


Oxygen Production

[Hemp] expels oxygen (


Potential Impact Of Hemp On Humans & Human Health, The Environment, & Wildlife

Impact Of Growing Hemp On Humans, and Human Health

Potential benefits for farmers:

Can be grown as a rotational crop

Can be grown near surface water

Can be grown in countries where fuel wood is scarce, and food security is an issue


Potential benefits for farm workers:

May not be exposed to chemicals and pesticides if hemp doesn’t us them as much as other crops like cotton


‘Industrial hemp may be an excellent rotation crop for traditional crops, because it suppresses weeds and decreases outbreaks of insect and disease problems’ (


[Hemp] can be included as part of a farm’s crop rotation with positive effects on overall yields of follow on crops ( (paraphrased) indicates hemp has a number benefits for humans such as:

Hemp is suitable for cultivation near surface water.

Hemp is a valuable preceding crop in rotations.


[May help developing countries …] where fuel wood is becoming increasingly scarce and food security is a concern [as hemp can be used as a dual purpose crop] (


Environment & Pollution

Below we outline some sources that indicate that Hemp might be good for biodiversity, and also limiting deforestation.

But, in addition to that, when Hemp doesn’t use as much pesticide or even synthetic fertilizer as other crops, there’s environmental benefits such as less pollution, run-off, leaching, etc.

Lastly, from an environmental perspective, hemp may have the ability to strangle other plant species in it’s immediate area if left uncontrolled or not managed.


Hemp is in the top 5 out of 23 crops for biodiversity friendliness, performing better than all major crops such as wheat, maize or rapeseed (Montford and Small, 1999) (via


[Hemp may help address deforestation and may help preserve biodiversity, as not only might it be used as a wood substitute for uses like pulp production, but it can be grown alongside trees whilst] trees reach their ideal maturation (


Impact Of Growing Hemp On Animals & Wildlife

Less pesticide use, and potentially less synthetic fertilizer use may mean less water pollution and less impact on aquatic species.


Economic Impact Of Hemp

The economic value of the hemp industry has grown worldwide in the last decade or so, and is forecast to continue to grow.

There can be some economic challenges in some countries though, related to regulations, legislation, and other issues.


Value & Size Of The Hemp Industry Globally

The global industrial hemp market size is expected to reach USD 10.6 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.

The market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 14.0% during the forecast period.

Rising demand for oil in food and beverages owing to growing awareness regarding dietary advantages of hempseed and oil is expected to propel demand.



The Global Industrial Hemp Market accounted for $3.43 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $41.78 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 32.0% during the forecast period.

Rising prevalence of chronic diseases, increasing use of industrial hemp in various applications, and legalization in the crop growing of industrial hemp are the factors driving market growth.

However, stringent rules and regulations of government may hinder market growth



Value & Size Of The Hemp Industry In The US

According the Hemp Business Journal, the U.S. Hemp industry produced at least $820 million in revenues during 2017, with growth to over $1 billion for 2018, and an expected 14% compound annual growth rate through 2022. 



The total sales for the U.S. Hemp Industry in 2017 were $820mm – but only 13% was textiles (


… United States (US) sales of hemp products in 2015 [was $620 million, and that was] 25% greater than their 2014 total of $400 million … (


Hemp Market In China

[The potential of the hemp market is] several years away

… despite regulatory roadblocks and the tightly controlled market, China is a force to be reckoned with in the hemp world

“The world market for hemp products remains relatively small, and China—as the world’s largest hemp fiber and seed producer—has had and likely will continue to have major influence on market prices and … (profits) in other countries


Economic Feasibility & Profitability Of Growing Hemp mentions (paraphrased) that:

[In some regions of South America such as Colombia or Ecuador, favorable climates allow Hemp to be grown in a cost beneficial way]

Colombia’s weather allows for allows … year-round, low-cost greenhouse production [and] It’s impossible that any U.S. grower or European grower will be able to come even close to production costs in … Ecuador and Colombia


Economic Benefits Of Natural Fibres In General

One source indicates that fibres coming from crops and other plant based fibres provide a number of potential economic and practical benefits.

Plant and crop based fibres such as hemp as one example, may be the only type of fibre that can be produced in some regions of the world, and might offer other benefits too, such as being able to be grown alongside or in rotation with another plant, crop, or other agricultural product.


Traits Of Hemp As A Fibre, & Practical Benefits

Hemp has some fibre traits that other fibres may not have, and, it can be used to reduce smell when used as a material in some applications.


Traits Of Hemp Fibre

In this guide, we outline the traits and practical benefits of some different common fibres such as hemp.

There’s also an resource referenced in that guide, along with other resources, that point out some of the potential practical benefits of hemp.


Practical Benefits Of Hemp As A Material

Hemp bedding has been found superior to straw and other materials for horse stalls in reducing the smell of ammonia (


Cotton vs Polyester vs Hemp – Sustainability Case Study 

Overall, hemp may compare favorably to cotton and polyester across some different sustainability measures in some case studies., and outline a case study that compares the water, land, and energy requirements of cotton, polyester, and hemp textiles.

Some of the notable findings of that case study were:

[The impact of different production methods on sustainability …]

Different production techniques … can significantly increase or reduce the impact [of each fibre]. 

… organic methods are responsible for less carbon-dioxide emissions [for example]

[In terms of overall sustainability of each fibre …]

There’s an argument to make for polyester, but the non-renewability of synthetic textiles raises serious concerns.

Overall, hemp appears to be slightly easier on the environment than cotton, considering it’s superior on water and land requirements, and only slightly worse for energy use. 


Legal Restrictions On Growing Hemp, & Regulations On Hemp

In terms of the legislation & regulations on hemp:

– There’s different legal restriction and regulations on growing, selling, importing/exporting, and using hemp (such as for industrial or research purposes, or it may also be for commercial purposes) 

– This legislation and these regulations have changed over time in different countries, and States or Provinces within countries

– This legislation and these regulations tend to be conditional 

So, the legislation and regulations in each State/Province within a country should be understood in a time sensitive manner when hemp is grown, sold, imported/exported or used

Around 2016 to 2018, it appeared the US began to relax it’s restrictions on growing Hemp within the US for different purposes, whereas China appears not to have restricted hemp as prohibitively as the US in the past (although the Chinese government may control the industry tightly within China).


Regulations In Different Countries Worldwide does a good job of describing the different regulations and restrictions on hemp in different countries outside of the US.

They outline how regulations and restrictions can apply to growing and harvesting hemp, the different parts of the plant that can be used, what uses and products the plant can be used for, the THC requirements for the plant, importation and exportation, and more. outlines the history of hemp legalization and regulations in various major countries across the world.


The legal problem for hemp is that it’s visually and taxonomically identical to marijuana.

Both are classified as Cannabis sativa L, and the only difference between them is the concentration of … (THC) …

The only way to distinguish marijuana from hemp is by taking it to the lab, or rolling it up and smoking it.

A government helicopter that flies over a farmer’s field can’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.



Regulation Of Hemp In The US

As of 29th December 2018 … A new Farm Bill 2018 has been made law [but] legalizing hemp won’t happen overnight.

Until the Department of Agriculture finalizes its hemp policies, the rules of the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to officially apply.

Regulation of hemp will now fall under the USDA [under the new Bill] instead of the DEA [like under the old Bill] … [and] the USDA will set national policies for the crop

… the states can set more restrictive regulations, including banning hemp growing [in their own state].

There are still issues and policies to finalise [and there is a wait on the USDA to release its final rules for the hemp industry so things can move faster], but the 2018 Farm Bill brings about change and more freedom in the Hemp industry

– outlines (paraphrased):

[Some of the obstacles the U.S. has to overcome to be competitive in the global hemp market as being regulations, establishing supply chain infrastructure, more research into genetics (especially stable seed genetics) and breeding, hemp license holders facing roadblocks when it comes to banking and insurance, and oversupply (growing more hemp than they can consume) of hemp leading to price crashes]

[Compared to the US, other countries have] far more experience, looser regulations, established infrastructure, and existing demand


33 states have enacted some form of hemp-specific legislation; nineteen of those have created licenses to grow hemp for industrial or research purposes. 

Hemp’s legality had been somewhat murky, thanks to the federal government’s prohibition of cannabis.

Since the passage of the Fertilizer Access and Responsible Management (FARM) Act in 2016, however, the commercial hemp business has boomed.

The act includes a section called “Legitimacy of industrial hemp research,” which legalized hemp growing for research purposes under agricultural pilot programs and academic research; it also allows states with legalized hemp-growing programs to operate without federal interference.



To produce industrial hemp in the United States the grower must obtain a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) (


Regulations On Hemp In China

According to (paraphrased):

China has been using hemp for fiber and seed production for thousands of years.

They banned hemp at some point, but the prohibition was lifted in 2010

[In China] the market is still tightly controlled by the government, and the regulations can be complex.

“Regulations and processes for importation are unclear, and no clear process exists for applying for an import license,” … “regulatory information is nonexistent or difficult to obtain.”

China doesn’t import much hemp now, but the potential is there, provided regulatory barriers are addressed


Legislation & Restrictions On  Hemp In Canada

Canada is one country that has legalized hemp, though with certain restrictions.

The maximum allowable THC concentration is 0.3% and all hemp farmers are required to undergo a criminal-records check, as well as obtain a license from Health Canada. 









































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