Edmonton grown hemp products
A member of the cannabis family, industrial hemp is notably different from marijuana. Although a quick look won't reveal these differences, nor perhaps even an untrained intimate look, industrial hemp varieties of cannabis differ from marijuana varieties in a few key ways:
1. Industrial hemp has very low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content (<.03%) and varying amounts of other cannabinoid compounds. Marijuana varieties are bred to have much higher THC or cannabinoid content. THC is a psychoactive component, while other cannabinoids (of which there are many different compounds) have multiple impacts on the physiological and cognitively linked endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol (known as CBD) is a particular cannibinoid being harvested from both marijuana and industrial hemp for use as a health product.
2. Hemp is grown for the food that comes from the seed, the fibre that comes from the stalk, and the cannabinoids that come from the seed coverings and leaves. Marijuana is not grown for food or fibre purposes, but instead for the THC and cannabinoid compounds.
Harvesting three valuable products from one crop makes industrial hemp a valuable addition to Alberta’s agricultural landscape.
Hemp for Food
Hemp seeds are made up of a shell (hull) and the meat (‘heart’ or nut). Hulled hemp, as pictured below, is produced by impact separation of the hull from the meat. The meat is a high source of protein, fats in the form of Omega 3,6,9s, and of iron. This combination of nutritional qualities makes hulled hemp a valuable addition to any individual’s diet, and especially to vegetarians and those seeking to reduce their meat intake.
Cold-pressing hemp seeds separates the hemp fats from the protein source, which enables the protein to be produced into supplement form.
Hemp for oil
Hemp seeds can be pressed to extract the fats in a pure oil form. Cold pressing the oil requires keeping the oil under 50 degrees Celsius to ensure that the nutritional value of the fats is preserved. Hemp oil has balanced proportions of Omega 3,6 and 9 with Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which reduces inflammation of joints and soft tissues. These qualities all make hemp oil a valuable nutritional supplement which can be taken on its own, added to smoothies, used for salad dressings, bread dips, in baking, and a variety of other ways. Hemp oil is also used as a component for skin care products, equestrian performance supplements, dog nutritional supplements, and for wood stains.
hemp for Fibre
Hemp fibre is made of two key components; the inner hurd and outer bast fibres. Bast fibres, shown below, go into products such as textiles, rope, and various other fabric types. Hurd on the other hand, is used to produce hempcrete, fibreboard (plywood alternate), animal bedding, absorbent, and much more. To be able to use these two products, the bast and hurd have to be separated through a process called decortication. Natty Sask Farms completes decortication on-farm in partnership with Edmonton based Natural Fibre Technologies, and produces hemp fibre for a Maskwacis decortication facility, run by Kentucky based company, Sunstrand.
How a hemp crop is grown depends on which of the three products are desired:
It can be grown for fibre by choosing a tall variety and planting it closely together;
It can be grown for food using a shorter, high seed-producing variety; and
Since October of 2018, crops can also be grown for cannabinoids by choosing a suitable high-yielding variety.
After choosing a target market; density of seed planting, amount of fertilizer, harvest timing, and fibre retting (curing) practises are decided for a growing-year. To grow fibre-only crops, factors such as which variety, fertility, and harvesting methods are carefully determined in order to produce the highest-quality fibre products.
Natty Sask Farms primarily grows hemp for seed, while cannabinoids and fibre are grown as secondary products.
No pesticides (herbicides or insecticides) are sprayed onto our hemp crop.