Industrial Hemp: One Of The Most Eco-Friendly Fabrics In The World


With the popularity in and demand for Industrial Hemp on the rise, everyone from fabric manufacturers, sustainable textile advocates and designers, to artisans, young entrepreneurs, and DIY crafters are discovering creative ways to cash in on the cannabis crop. But what is all the buzz about? And what are the benefits of this strand of hemp?

Industrial Hemp comes from the same Cannabis Sativa family of plants as its more notable female cousin, CBD Hemp…aka Mary Jane. The main difference between Industrial Hemp and CBD Hemp is that Industrial Hemp contains only traces of the psychoactive THC that has made its cousin famous. What makes Industrial Hemp special however, is what’s hidden in its fibers.

Creating one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world and containing CBD oil that calms and soothes, Industrial Hemp’s tall reed-like frame offers some of the most long, durable, sought after, natural fibers of old-world plants.

Used for everything from rope, sails, canvas, and construction products to fashion textiles, cosmetics, bedding and supplements, the uses of Industrial Hemp seem almost endless.

Non-reliant on herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizer for growth, Industrial Hemp can be grown organically, preventing use of toxic poisons in the process. It  has the ability to withstand high temperatures without degeneration, is resistant to mildew, naturally repels insects, and is able to kill micro-organisms including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus viridans, Pneumococcus Cornyebacterium diphteriae, and Bacillus anthracis to name a few.

Although hemp is not as soft as cotton, it does soften over time and becomes more comfortable the more you wear and wash it.  Not only that, hemp requires only 1/3 the amount of water to grow than cotton, making this plant less taxing on Mother Earth as well. And because it is so absorbent, it is easy to dye and holds its color for longer than other fabrics making this and ‘in demand’ textile for artisans and designers alike.



Despite having been used by humans since around 8000 B.C., hemp, along with other cannabis products, was outlawed by the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 due to its minuscule yet none-the-less traceable THC levels. Through this entire time however, American consumers have been spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually on legal hemp-based products grown and manufactured outside the country…mainly in China.



Sighting a need to be more ‘in-house’, farmers fought for their rights to grow the in-demand crop thru the formation of the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. Its provisions were incorporated in the 2018 Farm Bill that became law in December of 2018. The bill made allowance for the legal production of low-THC cannabis to take place on American soil for the first time since the early 1900’s.

But going from a raw fiber to a finished good is no easy feat as some farmers have discovered. It involves natural and mechanical processes that break the ‘bast’ out fiber material from the rest of the plant. Next, the plant must be partially decomposed in a process called ‘retting’ followed by a crushing process called ‘decortication’ that breaks the bark away and releases the fiber. The fiber must then be ‘de-gummed’ and combed before it can be spun into yarn, which then can finally be woven into fabric. Without this process, hemp farmer’s crops can’t be made into fiber textile or anything else for that matter.

Now that it is legal to grow Industrial Hemp on US soil again, the question yet remains…

Will the U.S. Textile Industry have enough of a supply and demand chain to sustain hemp’s fabrication production, or will  China continue to? Only time will tell.

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