Let’s start with the facts, why you should be reading this article: Hemp is an extremely durable and versatile fabric that uses 50% less water compared to cotton.
So how come we haven’t heard more about this magic material in the past decades? That’s simply because it has been restricted to grow hemp in many countries to be grown due to its let’s call it cousin – the psychoactive marijuana – that is known to make people high due to its THC.
So, but what are hemp shirts then made of? (And no worries, you will not get high of a hemp t-shirt 😉 )
So, first, what is hemp?
Hemp is a natural plant fibre, the texture of the fabric is comparable with cotton.
The material fabric is made of the Cannabis Stavia plant, we guess you might know the plant as psychoactive marijuana. The hemp that is used for textile production has been bred in a way that contains a very low level of THC (=the substance that makes you high in marijuana). Everything above 20% THC is considered as Marijuana, while the plant that is used for fibre has 0.3% or less THC.
What are the characteristics of hemp?
Hemp has a very soft feel on the skin, it is known for getting softer with each wear. Clothing made out of hemp protects your skin as it is resistant to bacteria and provides a natural UV protection.
Even if the hemp fabric is very soft, since the fibers of the plant are long and sturdy it makes it much more durable. Compared to a cotton t-shirt that might last max 10 years, the same t-shirt made of hemp might last double or triple the time.
Which countries are growing hemp?
The biggest provider of hemp are China, Canada and USA.
In many countries, the legislation doesn’t make a distinction between THC-rich hemp and the one that has almost no THC (to repeat, we are speaking of 20%+ vs. 0.3%). In the US growing hemp was illegal since the 1930s, but in the past years there have been some changes and it has become legal in most states.
How big is the hemp industry?
The global economy is not yet taking the advantage of the hemp fiber in a way they could. But we love to say, that the industrial hemp market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 34% from USD 4.6 billion in 2019 to USD 26.6 billion by 2025.
How is the hemp fibre produced?
The hemp stalks is being harvested and separated between long fibre (=bast) and short inner fibre (hurds) that look like wood chips (is commonly used for fuel and isolations) watch here for more:
What is the environmental impact of hemp?
Hemp has a very low environmental impact, especially compared to cotton.
Hemp uses about 50% less of the amount of water compared to cotton. Hemp is also not depending on the soil conditions and can grow kind of anywhere.
And the best, hemp does not require any pesticides as they kind of protect themselves.