What is hemp?

Hemp is Cannabis, so both industrial hemp (iHemp) and marijuana are from the same family, just different varieties. 

In New Zealand cannabis is illegal, except iHemp which can be grown legally if you have a current licence issued by Ministry of Health.  

iHemp is hemp with a THC content less than 0.35%.  Nearly all countries in the world allow industrial hemp and a growing number of countries allow medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis with higher THC contents.

Hemptastic New Zealand - Hemp

Hemp is a herbaceous annual plant that produces a nut and is related to hops, it produces leaf, roots, seed and the stems are split into fibre and hurd/shiv.

Click to enlarge

It can grow to maturity in 90-120 days and produces a seed, fibre or dual (both) crop.  It requires little if any pesticides, fungicides and herbicides and can actually clean and condition the soil.

The hemp plant is Cannabis Sativa, belonging to the family Cannabaceae of the nettle order (Urticales) 

There are many varieties depending on use and are mainly dioecious (distinct male and female plants) but can be monoecious (male and female on the same plant) 

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Why hemp?

Hemp produces high quality seed and the strongest most durable, longest lasting natural soft-fiber in the world.  

The high yielding annual crop can be used for a diverse range of end uses, in the food, construction, fuel & oil, plastic & composite, paper, textile and medical industries.

It can be grown sustainable and the carbohydrates can replace hydrocarbons as an industry feed stock.

Hemp fibre is UV resistant, anti-fungerial , anti-bacterial, ant- static and anti-microbial, the seeds are super food and useful industrial oil

For farmers is is great in rotation and requires less agricultural inputs than other crops and can compliment other natural fibre, flax , kenaf and pine and wool.

It can phytoremediate soils, cleaning polluted lands and conditioning compacted soils.

Significant quantities can be grown in a short  90-140 day growing season and it is the worlds premier, renewable natural resource.

A true good news story, good for industry good for business and good for the environment.



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Information on hemp products

In New Zealand hemp products can only be made from industrial hemp
(iHemp) and under our regulations anybody is permitted to possess, use and trade in hemp products and stalks of industrial hemp as long as those stalks are without leaves.

Therefore currently you need a licence to work with hemp seeds, but not the stems or any product derived from the seed.  Derived products made from iHemp are legal as they have no THC in them and are no longer part of a viable plant.  So at that point hemp products do not need to be controlled as a drug.

Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 (SR 2006/163)

 S4 Interpretations. 

cannabis means Cannabis sativa

hemp means cannabis plant, seed, or fruit

hemp product means a product of a kind that is derived, in whole or in part, from industrial hemp

industrial hemp means hemp in the form of—

(a) plants with a THC content that is—

(i) generally below 0.35%; and

(ii) is not above 0.5%; or

(b) seeds harvested from plants of that

“If all fossil fuels and their derivatives (coal, oil, natural gas, synthetic fibres and petro-chemicals) as well as the deforestation of trees for paper and agriculture (e.g Brazilian and Indonesian rain forests), are banned from use in order to save the planet, preserve the ozone layer and reverse the greenhouse effect with its global warming trend; then there is only one known renewable natural resource able to provide all of the following goods and essentials such as paper, textiles, meet all the world’s energy needs and clean the atmosphere – all at the same time – our old stand-by that did it before: Cannabis hemp… marijuana!”  Jack Herer 1990 



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What are cannabiniods?

Hemp flower with seeds showing

Cannabinoids are the therapeutic compounds found in cannabis leaf and flowers, the most well know cannabinoid is THC, which is a psychoactive drug.

There are more than 80 cannabinoids, including CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG etc which are non-psychoactive and have various therapeutic effects, which are being studied for medical use.

In 1964 THC was isolated by Israel doctor, Dr Raphael Mechoulam and by 1970 it was determined to be the only major psychoactive component.  

Since 1964 more than 400 separate compounds have been isolated in cannabis and many more are still being discovered.

Cannabinoids react with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, these receptors have only just been discovered along with the entire endocannabinoid system which exists naturally in all humans.

It seems we are just getting started on understanding these cannabiniods and the endocannabinoid system and the natural symbiotic relationship between us and this plant.

The other compounds include minerials, terpenes and flavonoids – Natuer’s biological response modifiers, all of which have medical and nutritional uses.

See links 

Cannabinoid Facts: THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, THCV, CBG and Other Unique Phyto Cannabinoids




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