Hemp – what is it and what plant are they made from, properties of clothes made of spinning fiber and ropes

The content of the article

Many people associate hemp (from lat. Cannabis) with a drug. Indeed, some varieties of this plant have a stupefying effect. Unlike Indian (hash) cannabis, industrial culture has no narcotic effects on the human body. Hemp fiber obtained from industrial hemp is the strongest and most durable among all types of vegetable raw materials for yarn. This is due to the ability of the fiber to break down into the smallest fibrils, so hemp rope, clothes, paper and other products last for decades.

What is hemp

Thin filaments of plant origin, which are obtained from the stems of industrial hemp, are called hemp fiber. It is located in the bast layer of the cannabis stem (pericambia). These threads consist of individual cells, which are elementary fibers, lignified and tightly glued together. Thick-walled hemp fibers with a small internal channel that does not open outward make up about 22% of the mass of hemp stalk.

According to its high physicomechanical, electrostatic, breathable, hygroscopic properties, hemp is similar to flax fiber or cotton. Only hemp yield is much higher, and the financial costs of growing it are lower, so interest in hemp fiber has been growing lately. More than 50% of the total sprayed chemical pesticides are used to cultivate cotton and flax. Hemp can completely do without the chemical effects of herbicides and pesticides. Kanabis grows very vigorously – for a period of 90 to 150 days, the culture reaches up to 5 meters.


Hemp in our ancestors had a very diverse application in everyday life. A century ago, street lanterns and lamps in the dwellings were filled with hemp oil and used for cooking. In Russia, every peasant settlement cultivated this valuable plant. Whole hemp seeds are characterized by a high protein content, all the necessary amino acids, including 9 indispensable ones. Our wise ancestors ate cannabis seeds, which were a complete alternative to meat.

Hemp cake served as a feed for agricultural animals rich in vitamins and minerals. Hemp was used for the production of high-strength canvas, clothes, bedding, burlap, ropes and ropes were woven from it. In the 18th century, about 90% of the world’s paper (newspapers, books, notebooks, banknotes, cards, etc.) was made from hemp.

In the West, in the last century, there were about 25 thousand applications for industrial cannabis. Henry Ford at the turn of the 30s created a car for 70%, consisting of hemp plastic, which in addition was refueled with oil based on cannabis. Cannabis oil was added to varnishes, paints, paintings were painted on hemp fiber canvases.

Coarse cannabis strands are more durable than linen and cotton. Hemp hemp, like manila, is resistant to the aggressive effects of salt in sea water, so ship gear was made from it: ropes, ropes, canvas, wire ropes and other attributes for ships. To hemp rope served longer and to prevent the process of decay of natural yarn, it was resin.

The heyday of hemp breeding came to the 60s of the XIX century. As Russia in its time, the USSR for the production of hemp was ahead of the whole planet. Russian hemp fiber was famous for its quality throughout the world. The end of Soviet large-scale hemp breeding was laid by the UN convention on psychotropic drugs, when in 1961 the bast culture was recognized as a drug.


What plant are they made from?

For the cultivation of hemp fiber, only selective hemp varieties that do not contain narcotic substances have always been used. In the spring, prepared plots of land were sown with useful cannabis. They did not touch the field until the leaves fell on the stems of hemp. In the fall, they began to collect, cut the grass or pulled out their hands. Hemp was divided into potash (male) and mother (female). Poskon went to the canvas, it is popularly called canvas or in-line. The mother was allowed to ripen completely until the formation of seeds, which was used for future sowing, making food and oil.

After flowering, when pollen fell out of the male hemp, and the stems were still green, they pulled it out. People called such shoots of cannabis Zelentsy, it was believed that hemp fiber was obtained from this plant material more clean and strong. While dried (dry hemp stems) yarn was coarse, not too strong and difficult to bleach. The hemp fiber obtained from cannabis, which was removed without sorting (lean and swab), was valued lower.

To make hemp spinning fiber, plant materials go through several stages:

  • soak;
  • spread (drying);
  • threshing;
  • carding;
  • spinning;
  • weaving;
  • whitening.

Mowed hemp was tied into sheaves, and then transported to a pond, where they were soaked in running water, crushing with a load. The plants were drenched until the stems became soft. The process of soaking hemp could last from several weeks to months, this contributed to the preservation of lignin in plant cells, which provides hemp strength and protection against decay. As soon as the cannabis stalks acquired the necessary softness, sheaves were removed from the water and laid out on the shore for drying. Then they started beating the hemp to peel the hemp fiber.

For threshing cannabis, a pulverizer was used, which consisted of two parallel boards with a stick located in the middle. The beaten tow was twisted in small batches, so that it was convenient to wrinkle. They did this until clean and soft threads remained without husks, sticks and impurities. Further, the softened hemp bunches were combed with a comb prior to conversion to hemp fiber, and threads were twisted from it and spun in a spin. The basis of the future hemp cloth was made on a warp frame, after which it was wound on a workbench drum and woven on a loom.

After the fabric was ready, we proceeded to the final stages of the production of the cloth: bleaching and washing. There were several ways to lighten the self-fabric. The easiest of them is to wet and spread the material on the grass in sunny weather. For quick whitening, the hemp cloth was placed in a container without a bottom, covered with ashes from straw or wormwood, and then poured with boiling water. The villagers erased the self-tissue with “soapy grass”, lye from wormwood ash or white clay.

Hemp plant

Use of hemp

Hemp breeding is gradually being revived in our country, because this branch of light industry is able to significantly enrich the state. The fabric obtained from hemp fiber is used for the manufacture of underwear, clothes, knitwear, bedding, curtains, tablecloths, bags, shoes and other household items. Hemp seeds and oil from them are used to prepare all kinds of drinks, products and dishes (more than 30 thousand items).

It is planned to expand the scope of hemp raw materials in the production of building materials. Hemp paper does not turn yellow, it does not require thorough bleaching like wood, in the process of lightening which by-products are released (dioxins, chloroform, ammonia, mercury, nitrates, methanol, benzene and other toxic substances). In addition to all the advantages, hemp paper is stronger and more durable than similar products made from wood..

Hemp sweaters

Hemp Plants in Russia

Particularly strong are the lignified fibers of southern and central Russian hemp, so they are used for hemp spinning. These types of cannabis are cultivated in the North Caucasus, Western Siberia, Volzhsky, Dnieper, West Dvina regions. Central Russian hemp grows mainly in the Oryol, Bryansk, Penza, Nizhny Novgorod, Kursk and some other areas, as well as in Mordovia.

Hemp is produced in factories whose activities are associated with light industry. About ten large organizations are located in the Republic of Mordovia (Chamzinsky, Temnikovsky, Staroshaygovsky, Sabaevsky, Krasnoslobodsky, Kochkurovsky, Insarsky, Dubensky, Atyashevsky hen mill). Several enterprises are located in the Kursk region – these are Khomutovsky, Fatezhsky, Ponyrovsky, Mikhailovsky, Dmitrievsky hemp plants.

Krasnodar Territory has also preserved the tradition of hemp fiber production. There are two concerns in the region: Petropavlovsk MP, Kubanpenkovolokno AO. In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, hemp is produced at the Kuraginsky and Idrinsky plants. Nowadays, there are production facilities in such areas as the Bryansk (Trubchevskaya, Starodubskaya factory), Novosibirsk (Toguchinsky hen mill), Nizhny Novgorod (Pochinkovsky plant).

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