What is Hemp and the Cannabis Sativa Plant?

“Hemp” is another name for the Cannabis Sativa plant.
This same species of plant is also referred to as Marijuana.

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.

Did you know: the oldest known records of hemp farming can be traced back approximately 5,000 years, to China,
although hemp industrialisation probably goes back to ancient Egypt.
In fact, it is one of the earliest plants to be cultivated.

Hemp plant diagram

Plant diagram

Whilst plants can produce a wide range of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating cannabinoid in marijuana, this particular strain does not produce enough THC to create intoxicating effects when consumed.

It is one of the fastest-growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fibre – 10,000 years ago.
The fibrous stem of the plant an be divided into 4 categories:

The outer bast fibers

The inner hurds, or shives

The seeds

Plus, the leaves & flowers

Hemp plant fibre

Plant fibre


Hemp fibre is:

1/ A naturally strong fibre

2/ Has anti-bacterial properties

3/ Is UV light resistant

4/ 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 & transport it.

5/ Has a low water footprint – 24 times more water efficient than cotton.

Hemp natural fibre

The natural fibre

Pure hemp has a texture similar to linen & can be refined into a variety of commercial items,
including clothing, bags, purses & accessories, shoes, paper, rope, textiles, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food & animal feed.

The whole plant – from stalk to seed – can also be used to make fuel and feedstock.

Bast fibres make up the outer portion of the stalk & can be used to make textiles that are 100% hemp,
but they are commonly blended with other fibres, such as cotton, silk or flax as well as virgin and recycled polyester,
to make woven fabrics for apparel and furnishings.

Hemp was commonly used to make sail canvas – in fact the word “canvas” is derived directly from the word cannabis.

Natural hemp fibre texture

Natural hemp fibre texture


Although industrial hemp & cannabis as a drug both derive from the species Cannabis Sativa
and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses.

Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD),
which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.

The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries.
Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content.

In the United Kingdom, cultivation licences are issued by the Home Office under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
When grown for non-drug purposes, hemp is referred to as industrial hemp and a common product is fibre for use in a wide variety of products, as well as the seed for nutritional aspects and the oil.
Feral hemp or ditch weed is usually a naturalised fibre or oilseed strain of Cannabis that has escaped from cultivation and is self-seeding.
So, to summarise, only the seed and stalk of the plant are “non-controlled”, once separated from the plant & are then legal.


“I hope this blog post clarifies some of the issues surrounding hemp.
Thank you for reading.
If you have your own views, comments or experiences, please leave them in the Comments section below” – Paul



And finally, if you want to buy a product made from hemp, check out this Hemp & Gheri Fabric Patchwork Explorer Travel Belt Bag