What is hemp?

SUMO Cannabis

Hemp is used all over the world, mainly for its fiber and seeds. Although being similar in appearance, hemp and cannabis do not have the same properties.  Unlike cannabis, hemp has a very low THC level. Its consumption does not cause any psychotropic effects. 

Botanically, hemp, cannabis and marijuana belong to the same species, Cannabis sativa L, of the Cannabaceae family. 

The main difference between the two species is the content of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive substance in cannabis. Strains containing less than 0.2% THC on a dry plant extract are considered as hemp, while strains containing more than 0.2% are considered as cannabis. Smoking a joint of hemp does not provide any psychotropic effects to the consumer. 

Hemp is one of the most versatile plants in the world. In the next paragraphs, we will take a closer look at some of the products derived from hemp. Did you know that without hemp Christopher Columbus would probably never have discovered America? 

Why is that? 

The sails and ropes of his three ships were made of hemp. Hemp was even used in the construction of the ships to ensure they were watertight. The crew could even eat hemp which is rich in protein. It is said that even lamps used for lighting were fueled by hemp oil!

Unlike recreational and medicinal cannabis, which is cultivated solely for its flowers (also called “buds”), the whole hemp plant is used. Let’s take a look at some of the products derived from hemp: 

Body care 

Hemp is also known for its benefits and usefulness in body care. Hemp oil, which covers the shell of the seed, has proven its effectiveness in cosmetic products. Hemp oil is used in soaps, creams, lotions and even in some shampoos amongst other things. 


Hemp is also used as a textile for its antimicrobial properties. Several clothing brands in Québec, but also famous international chains, are now using hemp in the manufacturing of their clothing. 


Hemp has been used for centuries as a food source for its richness in essential fatty acids and proteins. The possibilities of using hemp in our food are numerous: hemp flour, shelled seeds, oil, milk, butter etc. 1


Hemp is also used as a natural and ecological insulator in many homes here in Québec, but also in other parts of the world. Écohabitation, an independent organization that helps professionals and individuals to carry out their sustainable housing projects, says that hemp materials are non-toxic and that they contain no glue or other resins that are harmful to health.2 This makes hemp the material of choice when it comes to eco-friendly construction!

1 https://www.chanvrequebec.com/alimentation/

2 https://www.ecohabitation.com/guides/3376/du-chanvre-dans-la-maison/