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What is hemp and how does it differ from cannabis? A unique variety of the cannabis sativa species, hemp is one of the planet’s most diverse and far-reaching crops. A non-psychoactive form of cannabis, hemp has little THC content, but its applications are even more robust than its more popular counterpart.

For centuries in countries around the globe, hemp pushed up legally and grew wildly. Domesticated crops were found everywhere, and the hemp plant was used in myriad residential, commercial and industrial practices. In addition to hemp fibre being used in food, construction and clothing, the plant has recently taken on an even wider mandate.

As cannabis and hemp have moved into favour with legislators and policymakers, so too have the opportunities to seize the day on the hemp plant’s potential started to take shape. In fact, hemp has recently been used to build homes, fuel cars, produce cosmetics, and even clean up chemical spills. And these are just a few of hemp’s future possibilities!

Already, the plant is being used to build airplanes, in textile production, and food. Considered by some to be an up-and-coming superfood, hemp is incredibly nutritious and high in protein, amino acids, iron, fiber and zinc. Hemp food products and infusions are becoming increasingly popular among cannabis patients. 

Behind the curtains of hemp, there have been hundreds of advocates pushing for legalization. Though hemp has no psychoactive properties, it has long been outlawed alongside its more potent kin. For activists like Dany Lefebvre, this fact has long been viewed as absurd. Why criminalize a plant that has the capability of helping humanity in so many different fashions? 

The answer explains why Lefebvre has so many reasons to smile these days. For years, he pushed to have hemp recognized, legalized and commercialized, and has recently been rewarded for his efforts, as Canada and other countries have moved to allow hemp cultivation.

In addition to being the proprietor of one of the country’s largest hemp crops, Lefebvre is the founder of one of Quebec’s first licensed producers and the brains behind Chanv, a hemp-based health and beauty brand. 

“We have a real infatuation with hemp products,” Lefebvre said recently. “Our brands – Chanv, Crocx and Maison d’Herbes – are sold at more than 200 retailers in Quebec and online at Amazon. There are a number of large national chains that are equally interested [in hemp] and we need to react quickly to match the growth that’s happening in the industry.” 

Chanv’s product line includes hair and body care products, and facials. Lefebvre can see that line-up expanding as Canada welcomes legalization this fall. Like the possibilities for cannabis as reform becomes a reality, hemp is also taking a lead role as a solution to a flurry of issues – both social and environmental.

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