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article imageHemp production increases in Alberta after marijuana legalization

By Ken Hanly     Oct 31, 2018 in Business
Edmonton - Industrial hemp production for fiber etc. has been legal for some time. However, the top parts of the plant were not used. They do not contain significant amounts of THC, the chemical that provides the high that many marijuana users seek.
Hemp
Wikipedia says of hemp: Hemp, or industrial hemp (from Old English hænep),[1] typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.[2] It is one of the fastest growing plants[3] and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago.[4] It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses.[6] Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.[6] 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.[7][8]
Hemp can be used to manufacture a myriad of products including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastic, insulation and biofuels. The fibers can be used to make textiles that are 100 percent hemp but are usually combined with other fibers to make woven fabrics both for wearing and for furniture. The inner two fibers are used for mulch, animal bedding and litter. When oxidized, hemp oil from the seeds becomes solid and can be used in the manufacture of oil-based paints. The seeds can be used in bird seed mix as well.
Whole hemp seeds can be used to make hemp oil, hemp milk and hemp juice. The seeds can be processed into a liquid to be used in baking, or for beverages such as hemp milk juice and tea.
CBD and TCH
CBD , cannabidiol, is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in hemp plants. In the US cannabidiol is illegal except as a prescription drug for very limited medical uses. CBD can be taken in various ways such as inhalation of the smoke or vapor and by mouth. It can be provided as an oil, an extract from the whole plant, capsules, dried or as a prescription liquid solution. It does not have the intoxicating, or hallucinatory effects of THC and is preferred by those who want some of the positive effects of marijuana without the high and hallucinations and sometimes negative side effects while lowering anxiety levels.
Wikipedia describes THC as follows: "Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in cannabis. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. With chemical name, (−)-trans-Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol, the term THC also refers to cannabinoid isomers." This is the chemical that many marijuana users want to see in their marijuana as it is quite psychoactive and produces a high sometimes with hallucinations.
With the legalization of marijuana in Canada, many believe that there will be a strong demand for marijuana with little THC but more CBD or low potency marijuana as described in a recent Digital Journal article.
Brian Rozmahel
Brian is a 59-year-old hemp farmer near Viking Alberta. He was at first teased about growing the crop when he went to the town coffee shops and curling club. However, now he considers himself a pioneer in a budding industry in Alberta that is expanding. He can thank this on the legalization of marijuana in Canada for recreational use.
Rozmahel grows about 400 acres of hemp. He said people still stop on the highway to take a selfie with the plants in the background. He can now sell not just the plants for fiber but can harvest the whole plant and leaves to cannabis producers.
Cannabidiol can now be extracted from the flowers and leaves where previously these materials were just thrown away.
Rozmahel can sell the entire plants to licensed companies such as Aurora Cannabis that use the material to extract and sell CBD which is reported to help with pain, anxiety, and insomnia among other things.
New facilities for processing are springing up.
Aurora Cannabis is leading the way with an 800,000 square foot facility near the Edmonton International Airport. However, there is another cannabis-related venture that county officials claim will create 300 jobs. In just one year, Leduc County has approved four development permits related to cannabis. Two were for production and the other two were for retail outlets.
There are a number of other cannabis-related companies in the county including HempCo, which is building a 56,000 square foot production plant. This will be the largest in Canada.
Barbara McKenzie, executive director of the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association said that the new cannabis legislation was a boon for the industrial park that had been focused before on oil and gas facilities. She said that there were five additional hemp and cannabis related opportunities in the pipeline for the county.
McKenzie said: “There will be completely new jobs that no one has ever thought of before that will be becoming available in that industry. As these deals come to fruition in the next 12 to 18 months, I think we’ll see Nisku change a little bit. One of the things we’ve all really looked at doing … is kind of change the face of the area."
Area around capital Edmonton ideal for growing hemp
The area has long, sunny days in the summer and plentiful black top soil. McKenzie said: “The resiliency of this crop has a lot of farmers interested … It’s an amazing diversification opportunity for Alberta. It’s an opportunity for us to add value to what we produce here rather than just growing it and shipping it out...We need to shift and change to be a resilient province and continue to take part in the world economy. We’re seeing Edmonton rise to the top of its field in behavioural artificial intelligence, so why can’t we be the leaders in cannabis and hemp as well?”
More about Hemp production, Alberta, cannabidiol
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