Hemp seeds and stalks are processed using a variety of methods. The technology employed is determined by the final product's purpose.
Seeds of hemp
Hemp seeds can be eaten whole or processed into hemp seed oil and flour by being pressed or crushed. To make them more appetizing, these seeds are also hulled, or shelled. The rest of the shells, which are high in fiber, can be ground into flour.
Stalks of hemp
Decorticating, a multistep method for separating the long fibers from the remainder of the plant, is used to prepare hemp stalks. This may entail field retting, which entails cutting the plants and laying them out in the field for four to six weeks. Any bacteria on the plant's surface will tear down the outer layer of the stalk during this time. After that, the retted stalks are dried.
Another option is water retting. After harvesting, the stalks are quickly dried before being immersed in water for a few days. The water softens the stalks' outer covering and encourages the growth of more germs, speeding up the process. Finally, chemical retting breaks down the chemicals that hold the tough bast fibers together using acids, bases, and specific enzymes.