Everything you need to know about the hemp plant

The hemp plant is one of the oldest useful plants in the world. At the same time, hemp is also a cultivated plant, because it has been grown, cultivated and bred by people for centuries - and not only for narcotic purposes. The hemp plant has much more to offer.

Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) is a genus within the Cannabinaceae (hemp family) and is native to Central Asia. Due to its deep and dense roots, which extract pollutants from the soil and loosen the soil, the crop is considered particularly robust and is also used as a preceding crop for various other crops.

In addition, the hemp plant has other advantages. This is because infestation by pests does not have a major impact on the yield or the quality of the harvest. In addition, artificial fertilizers are usually unnecessary, because the absorption of nutrients is carried out by the strong roots.

The size of the plant varies. As a rule, it grows 1.5 to 3 meters, in exceptional cases up to 4 meters. Sowing takes place between April and May. After that, the hemp develops slowly at first.

After germination, however, the hemp grows rapidly in height and requires a lot of water during this growth phase. In early July and mid-August, flowering begins and longitudinal growth is complete.

Table of Contents

1 Male and female hemp plants
2 What are hermaphroditic hemp plants?
3 What is the difference between hemp and cannabis?
4 Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis.
5 What is the difference between marijuana and hashish?
6 Hemp - a short review of the history
7 Hemp as a raw material for the future
8 Hemp in medicine
9 Products from hemp
10 What is the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil?

Male and female hemp plants

As a dioecious plant, there is a male plant and a female plant. This means that hemp plants bear either only female flowers (hemp hen) or only male flowers (femel hemp).

In hemp cultivation, the determination of the sexes is very important. This is because only the female plant produces buds that are rich in cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. In contrast, the male plant produces only small amounts of them.

In return, the male hemp forms small pollen sacs to pollinate the female flower. Since a single male hemp plant is sufficient to pollinate all the female plants, they are sorted out in the early flowering stage, otherwise the plants produce too many seeds.

Identifying male and female plants

To identify a female cannabis plant, just look at the flowers. The calyx has the typical thin white hairs and resinous trichomes that form on the flowers as well as on the small leaves.

The male species can be identified by the pollen sac that hangs down from the branches. Since they grow faster than the female plants, they are also easily recognized by this. Also, the male hemp plant often shoots up farther than the female hemp.

What are hermaphroditic hemp plants?

Hermaphroditic hemp plants (hermies) are hermaphrodite plants that have the characteristics of both male and female hemp plants. These are removed during hemp cultivation just like the male plants, so as to prevent the unwanted budding.

What is the difference between hemp and cannabis?

Cannabis is the Latin word for hemp, so there is no difference. Colloquially, however, the term cannabis is often used when referring to cannabis as medicine or cannabis as an intoxicant and the plant has a high content of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is known for its intoxicating effects.

When hemp is mentioned, it is usually used to describe commercial hemp (industrial hemp), which contains hardly any THC and is used, for example, for the extraction of CBD oil drops or for the oil from the hemp seeds.

Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis

Cannabis Sativa L. has long been divided into three main genera:

  • Cannabis Sativa: The genus Cannabis Sativa originates from tropical regions near the equator, such as Jamaica, Colombia or Mexico. Outdoors, the plants grow up to three meters high. In contrast, the length of indoor cultivars is two to three meters. The leaves are narrow, long and finger-like. Female plants have a high THC content and a low CBD content, so consumption can have a stimulating and motivating effect.
  • Cannabis Indica: This cannabis strain is native to subtropical countries such as India, Morocco or Afghanistan. The plants reach a maximum length of two meters and the leaves are thick and dark green compared to Cannabis Sativa. Since Cannabis Indica has a low THC and higher CBD content, consumption can have an anxiety-relieving and calming effect.
  • Cannabis Ruderalis: Ruderal cannabis, unlike Sativa and Indica, is autoflowering and grows in cold areas of Russia or even in the Himalayas. A particular characteristic is that the plant is unbranched and has robust, fibrous stems. The leaves are very narrow and the plant grows to a maximum height of one meter. Just like Cannabis Indica, the THC content is low and the CBD content is high.

For more information on cannabis strains, check out this article.

What is the difference between marijuana and hashish?

When it comes to the use of cannabis as an intoxicant, terms such as marijuana, hashish, weed, shit, and many more come up, which can lead to confusion. As part of the educational process, these terms will be explained here.

Marijuana refers to the dried, resinous flower clusters and the small leaves near the flower. Other terms for marijuana are, for example, grass, weed or dope.

The term hashish refers to the resin extracted from the flowers, which is pressed into slabs or blocks. These then have a golden yellow to brown color. Colloquial terms for hashish are shit or pot. The term Piece is also used for individual pieces.

Hemp - a short review of the history

The history of hemp goes back a long way. According to archaeological findings in Georgia, hemp was used for fiber production as early as about 30,000 years ago. In a ceramic vessel excavated in China, scientists:inside even found hemp seeds, which are about 4500 to 5500 years old.

The useful plant or hemp fibers were a popular raw material for the production of paper and textiles. Especially the ancient Greeks and Egyptians made clothes from hemp. Around 812 AD, hemp was even a popular means of payment among farmers.

mentioned the hemp plant in the Ländergüterverordnung and Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of letterpress printing, printed his writings on hemp paper in 1455. It is also interesting to note that the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper.

Versatile use of useful hemp

In addition, hemp fibers were of great importance in shipping. For example, the fibers were used to make sailcloth, nets and rigging. However, industrialization changed the role of hemp.

Cotton replaced hemp for textile production. In agriculture, the crop was replaced by wheat, rye and oats. From then on, printing on hemp paper also ceased, as the pulp process was discovered.

Hemp as a raw material for the future

A few years ago, the ecological and economic potential of hemp was rediscovered. In the meantime, hemp is being used as an efficient and sustainable insulating material in house construction, and the automotive industry is also becoming increasingly interested in the plant again. Various car manufacturers, for example, have decided to produce interior trim and fittings from hemp fibers.

Hemp in medicine

Man discovered the therapeutic potential of the hemp plant very early. According to tradition, the legendary ancient emperor Shennong examined the hemp plant for its therapeutic benefits about 5000 years ago. The resin of the flowers was said to have an effect on various diseases, such as gout, rheumatism and neuritis.

In India, people used hemp and its components as offerings and for meditation purposes. Ayurvedic medicine also discovered the benefits of hemp on health to relieve various ailments such as anxiety, headaches, hysteria and pain.

Eventually, the medicinal plant came to Europe. One of the first to recognize the benefits was Hildegard of Bingen. She recommended the use of hemp extracts, tinctures and oily solutions to treat pain, nausea, stomach ailments, rheumatism and bronchitis. In addition, cannabis replaced opium in the treatment of pain and was even used for anesthesia purposes.

In the 19th century, extracts and tinctures of cannabis were the most widely sold medicines in Europe and the United States. Cannabis was also extremely popular as an intoxicant. However, as tobacco became cheaper over time, cannabis lost popularity.

Prohibition then began in the 20th century in the USA. Thus, the prohibition movement ensured that cannabis and its components were declared a dangerous drug.

Products from hemp

A wide variety of products can be made from the plant parts of commercial hemp. In the areas of food and cosmetics, especially the oil from the hemp seeds is popular. Because the seeds of hemp contain numerous ingredients that can have a positive effect on health and the. Thus, the hemp seeds are rich in antioxidants, minerals, amino acids and other natural substances. In addition, hemp oil has an ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Thanks to the valuable ingredients, hemp is also increasingly used in the cosmetics industry. Meanwhile, there are numerous ointments, creams, soaps, shampoos and other care products with the oil from the seeds.

What is the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil?

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. In contrast, the extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) from the hemp flowers and leaves of the female hemp plant is done by means of extraction processes. Subsequently, the CBD extracts are dissolved in a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil, sunflower seed oil or MCT oil.

Notes: Several books could be written about the history of the hemp plant and its use as a diverse crop. This article only touches on important topics and tries to summarize the most important information.


Is it illegal to own a hemp plant?

Yes, it is illegal to possess a hemp plant or hemp flowers. It does not matter if it is THC-containing hemp or commercial hemp. On the other hand, it is legal to possess hemp seeds. Cultivation with the seeds, on the other hand, is not allowed.

Which hemp plants are allowed?

For private individuals, the cultivation of hemp is basically prohibited. Both in Switzerland and in the European Union, commercial hemp with a low THC content may be cultivated in the countryside. However, only certified seeds from the EU variety catalog may be used. Currently, there are around 50 different varieties to choose from.

Where does hemp grow best?

The hemp plant is quite undemanding and grows basically all over the world. It prefers medium-heavy soils with a pH between 6 and 7.5. It also needs sufficient water. Compaction and waterlogging, on the other hand, the plant does not tolerate well. The hemp plant has no great demands on the previous crop. However, thanks to the taproot, it has a good previous crop value.