Commercial Uses of Hemp

"The global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products in nine submarkets: agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food and beverages, paper, construction materials, and personal care (Table 1). Hemp can be grown as a fiber, seed, or dual-purpose crop.6 The stalk and seed are the harvested products. The interior of the stalk has short woody fibers called hurds; the outer portion has long bast fibers. Hemp seed/grains are smooth and about one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch long.7

"Hemp fibers are used in fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, and composites. Hurds are used in animal bedding, material inputs, papermaking, and oil absorbents. Hemp seed and oilcake are used in a range of foods and beverages (e.g., salad and cooking oil and hemp dairy alternatives) and can be an alternative food and feed protein source.8 Oil from the crushed hemp seed is used in soap, shampoo, lotions, bath gels, and cosmetics.9 Hemp is also being used in nutritional supplements and in medicinal and therapeutic products, including pharmaceuticals. It is also used in a range of composite products. Hempcrete (a mixture of hemp hurds and lime products) is being used as a building material. Hemp is also used as a lightweight insulating material and in hemp plastics and related composites for use as a fiberglass alternative by the automotive and aviation sectors.10 Hemp is also promoted as a potential biodiesel feedstock11 and cover crop.

"These types of commercial uses are widely documented in a range of feasibility and marketing studies conducted by researchers at USDA and various land grant universities and state agencies. (A listing of these studies is in the Appendix A.) Currently, finished hemp products and raw material inputs are mostly imported into the United States and sold for use in further processing and manufacturing for a wide range of products."

Source: 

Johnson, Renée, "Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity," RL 32725, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 22, 2018.