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Applications of hemp in textiles, paper industry, insulation and building materials, horticulture, animal nutrition, food and beverages, nutraceuticals, cosmetics and hygiene, medicine, agrochemistry, energy production and environment: a review

Abstract

The hemp plant Cannabis sativa Linn, referring to industrial hemp, is a high-yielding annual industrial crop grown providing fibers from hemp stalk and oil from hemp seeds. Although hemp is a niche crop, hemp production is currently undergoing a renaissance. More than 30 countries grow hemp, with China being the largest hemp producing and exporting country. Europe and Canada are also important actors in the global hemp market. Traditionally, hemp as a fiber plant has been used for the production of apparels, fabrics, papers, cordages and building materials. The hurds, as waste by-product of fiber production, were used for bedding of animals, the seeds for human nutrition, e.g., as flour, and the oil for a wide range of purposes, from cooking to cosmetics. Hemp has also been an important crop throughout human history for medicine. Other more recent applications include materials for insulation and furniture, automotive composites for interior applications and motor vehicle parts, bioplastics, jewelry and fashion sectors, animal feed, animal bedding, and energy and fuel production. Foods containing hemp seed and oil are currently marketed worldwide for both animal and human nutrition. They also find applications in beverages and in neutraceutical products. Hemp oil is also used for cosmetics and personal care items, paints, printing inks, detergents and solvents. It is estimated that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products. Currently, the construction and insulation sector, paper and textile industries, and food and nutrition domains are the main markets while the cosmetics and automotive sector are growing markets. Innovative applications, e.g., in the medical and therapeutic domains, cosmeceuticals, phytoremediation, acoustic domain, wastewater treatment, biofuels, biopesticides and biotechnology, open new challenges. Hemp is also the object of numerous fundamental studies. This review presents and discusses the traditional and new uses of industrial hemp.

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Source: G. Crini, Chrono-environnement, Besançon, France

Fig. 3

Source: G. Chanet, Eurochanvre, Arc-les-Gray, France

Fig. 4

Source: G. Chanet, Eurochanvre, Arc-les-Gray, France

Fig. 5

Source: with the kind courtesy of Florence Collet (Rennes, France) and Yacine Aït Oumeziane (Belfort, France)

Fig. 6

Source: G. Chanet, Eurochanvre, Arc-les-Gray, France

Fig. 7

Source: G. Crini, Chrono-environnement, Besançon, France

Fig. 8

Source: G. Crini, Chrono-environnement, Besançon, France

Fig. 9

Adapted from Rehman et al. (2013)

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Correspondence to Grégorio Crini.

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Crini, G., Lichtfouse, E., Chanet, G. et al. Applications of hemp in textiles, paper industry, insulation and building materials, horticulture, animal nutrition, food and beverages, nutraceuticals, cosmetics and hygiene, medicine, agrochemistry, energy production and environment: a review. Environ Chem Lett 18, 1451–1476 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-020-01029-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-020-01029-2

Keywords

  • Hemp applications
  • Textiles
  • Paper
  • Building materials
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Cosmetics
  • Biocomposites
  • Energy production
  • Biofuel
  • Environmental uses