Industrial hemp raw materials feed several industries with grains, fibers and flowers.
The grain is beneficial for health foods, cosmetics and industrial applications.
The grain breaks down into three components: the heart, the pressed oil, and the cake.
The heart and the cake of the hemp grain are mostly utilized as foods. The heart is the heart of the nut, or the dehulled seed. Similar to almonds, hemp’s protein compounds serve as an effective, lactose-free milk alternative. When eating it plain, it tastes similar to a sunflower seed, but is less of a hassle. It is a subtle flavor so when mixed with other foods, it takes on the flavor of that dish. Given it’s high protein content (3lbs = 10g) and that it contains all the essential amino acids the human body needs but cannot produce, it is an excellent addition to any recipe!
After crushing the oil from the seed, a processor possesses cold pressed oil and its byproduct, the cake. Unrefined, the cake serves well as a protein powder. Refined, the cake is more commonly a dietary fiber and/or flour. Alternatively, the oil contains a high fatty acid profile with a near perfect omega 6: omega 3 ratio. This ratio makes it healthy for the human body, particularly for inflammation and digestion. Hemp oils are also natural lubricants making them effective for cosmetic applications and industrial applications. Hemp oil could be found as salad dressing, shampoo, paint, or fuel!
The fiber is beneficial in textile, construction, and plastics industries, among others.
Upon harvest, farmers bale stalk which is decorticated (separation) at a nearby processing facility. The process separates the exterior bast fiber from the interior core. A different process patented by PureVision Technologies, uses a continuous countercurrent reactor to separate the lignin from the core.
The bast fibers are long fibers useful in woven and non-woven applications like textiles, insulation, automotive components and other composite materials. Pressed on a matting line, injection molding can form the fibers into whatever the mold is, making automotive components, tables, chairs, plastics, bicycles and so much more! The lignin can also be used to make plastics!
Conversely, the core is a lower quality fiber. It is useful as animal bedding, pulp paper, or as a high-insulation building material in hempcrete.
The flowers contain phytocannabinoids which are found in the flowers of all cannabis species. There is a wide spectrum of phytocannabinoids including: cannbidiol, cannabigerol, cannabichromene tetrahydrocannabinol, and many more that have been less intensely studied over the last several decades.
Cannabinoids are reported to play a role in the body’s endocannabinoid system particularly with the brain’s CB1 receptors. Given recent research findings* linking cannabinoid ingestion to regulating different diseases, there has been a rapid influx in demand for extracting the phytocannabinoids from the flowers of hemp plants as supplements, nutraceuticals, ointments, and salves.