Non Conventional Fibres Association

Hemp Fibres

Botanical information

  • Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa ssp. sativa) and marijuana both belong to the Cannabis sativa family. However, industrial hemp contains low levels of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) around 0.3% or less, which is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use.
  • This low THC content allows hemp usage for various purposes without causing intoxication.
  • Industrial hemp is a perennial dioecious plant.

Agroclimatic conditions

  • Hemp plants can thrive in well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0pH and 7.0pH.
  • Hemp prefers a mild climate with a humid atmosphere and a rainfall of at least 25 to 30 inches/year.
  • It has a short cropping period and needs less pesticide and water to grow than cotton.
  • Applications support the efficient use of all plant parts, including the roots and seeds.
  • Bast fibres hold almost 20-30% of the stalk. The superior quality of fibres is obtained from the densely planted hemp fields.
  • Though hemp is native to India and Persia, almost all the temperate and tropical zones cultivate it.
  • Russia is the largest hemp fibre producer, accounting for 33% of annual worldwide production(2019).
  • Countries such as France, Italy, Germany, Yugoslavia, Chile, Japan, China, and Peru produce a considerable quantity of hemp fibres annually.

Physical & Mechanical Properties




22-25 μm


0.25-0.52 tex

Linear density[2]

3.0-2.2 tex

Moisture content


Breaking elongation


Chemical Composition













Table 1. Physical & mechanical properties and chemical composition of areca nut fibres


  • The hemp plant is ideal for organic farming as it does not require herbicides or chemical fertilizers. It nourishes the soil to retain nutrients and helps in retaining moisture.
  • It also acts as a weed suppressor in the land and leaves the soil in excellent condition for any succeeding crop.
  • It consists of a deep taproot system, allowing soil penetration, raising nutrients towards the surface and aerating the soil.
  • Additionally, it does not drain the soil out of nutrients as the fallen leaves from this plant function as a rich organic matter for the soil.
  • It is flammable and sensitive to UV, and microbial (fungus and bacteria) attack .


  • Industrial hemp is a versatile resource for making rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, and paper.
  • It is also used as acoustics for sound insulation or absorption .
  • Also, it is used to create hemp-based bioplastics, insulation material, biofuel, composites, etc.
  • The blends of hemp with other textile materials, such as cotton, nettle, etc., are introduced in the market, which is proving itself to be equally beneficial as other products.
  • The users of hemp-based products include industries such as composites, textiles, automotive, fireboard, heat-insulating materials, and construction with fibre-reinforced concrete.
  • It is also used in applications related to the reinforcements of these fibres in brake pad applications in the automotive industry.
  • Research is underway for hemp fibre applications in sporting goods and musical instruments.