The hemp plant is harvested for its fibers, seed, and oil. It is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. Due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana. Although both plants are from the species cannabis, hemp contains virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. Hemp cannot be used as a psychoactive drug because it produces virtually no THC (less than 1%), whereas marijuana produces between 5-20% THC. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, the level of THC in hemp is limited to .03% or three-tenths of one percent!
Hemp is a fiber plant with long slender primary fibers on the outer portion of the stalk. Unlike many other plants, Hemp requires limited pesticides because it grows so quickly and attracts few pests. Hemp crops are harvested at different times for different products. Harvesting stalks for high-quality fiber occurs as soon as the crop is in flower, but before the seeds are produced. Harvesting for seed production occurs 4-6 weeks after flowering when the flowers are ripe and full of seeds. At this time, most of the leaf matter has fallen off and the seeds are easier to harvest. The seeds are then harvested with a combine tractor, cleaned and stored in grain bins until it is shipped.