Delta Ag is leading the way to a carbon negative global economy by harnessing the power of one plant: hemp.
Many people see the word “hemp” and confuse it with marijuana. Although the two plants look alike, that is where the similarities end. From chemical makeup, to methods of planting and harvesting, to legal designation, the differences are many—and critical to understanding hemp’s potential.
The key difference between hemp and marijuana is in the chemicals contained within each plant. Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by dry weight—meaning that hemp is not intoxicating and doesn’t cause a psychoactive effect.
Marjiuana is a name for the categories of cannabis that are more than 3.% THC by dry weight—and can cause a psychoactive change. That difference isn’t just nomenclature—it’s legalized.
Unlike marjiuana, which is primarily grown for its psychoactive effect, hemp fibers have been used for thousands of years to produce everything from clothing to rope to flour. Every part of the hemp plant serves a purpose, from stalks to seeds. There is even evidence that hemp was the first crop grown by humans at scale.
While marijuana fields try to eliminate all “male plants,” hemp fields do not. That’s because male hemp plants produce and spread pollen that female plants use to create one of hemp’s most important plant products: hemp grain. In marijuana fields, the goal is as many seedless flowers as possible, hence the elimination of male plants. Delta Ag’s proprietary farming, harvesting, and processing methodologies allow us to separate out each component of the plant being the flower, grain, and fiber for mass production of each raw good.
Marijuana is a plant that requires a lot of space and is typically grown indoors. By contrast, hemp can be more densely grown and can be planted outdoors. In this, it is much like any other crop: Planted correctly and rotated with care, it can nourish the environment and the soil in which it’s planted.
Perhaps the biggest difference between hemp and marijuana is in their legal classification. Because of its THC content, marjiuana is dubbed a Schedule 1 narcotic, though laws on this are ever-evolving. Hemp is legal and can be grown by anyone. Thanks to a federal law passed in 2018, hemp farmers are able to access crop insurance and even government grants to farm hemp.
Delta Ag was born out of a mission to efficiently farm and process all parts of the hemp plant at every stage and at scale, from genetics to raw goods. As more and more companies look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and eliminate non-renewable plastic waste, Delta Ag is ready to supply them the hemp that will make their plastic, paper, animal feed, cosmetics, clothing, and countless other products, helping to the transition to carbon-negative a reality.