Canadian Hemp

Nature's wonder fibre

Imagine a single product that is so versatile it can be transformed into textiles, clothing, cosmetics, soap, beer, industrial fibre, building materials and paper. Better yet, imagine one that can produce that full range of items without using dangerous chemicals. Well, the product already exists. It's the hemp plant or, as it's often called, industrial hemp.

People have been using hemp for a very long time; the imprints of its fibres have been found on Chinese pottery dating from 10,000 years ago. During the 18th and 19th centuries, hemp was widely grown in Canada for cordage, canvas, clothing and many other purposes, but became an illegal crop in 1938. In 1998, however, industrial hemp was legalized in Canada for research and commercial purposes. The potential offered by the newly resurgent global hemp market has sparked much interest among Canadian farmers.

From fibre to food

Canada's hemp industry is pioneering the development of hemp-based foods. Food products derived from hemp seed include flour, nutritional bars, pasta, cookies, lactose-free milk and even ice cream. For health-conscious consumers, hemp seeds are second only to soybeans in furnishing complete proteins. In addition, the seeds can be crushed to provide a nutritious oil that contains both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Hempseed oil's emollient properties also make it an ideal ingredient for producing both leave-on and rinse-off body care products such as lotions and creams.

At the industrial end of the spectrum, automobile manufacturers are using hemp fibres to make stronger, lighter and less expensive structural panels. In the paper industry, hemp can be environmentally preferable to wood because the plant matures in three to four months and can yield four times as much paper as an equal acreage of trees.

Cleanliness and safety

Industrial hemp thrives in damp earth, but dislikes standing water. This makes it an excellent crop for the clean soils of Canada's prairies, so most of our hemp is grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It's environmentally-friendly because it doesn't need herbicides; in fact, most of Canada's hemp is certified organic.

All Canadian commercial hemp strains are carefully regulated and monitored by the federal government to maintain and ensure genetic identity, and to control its levels of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). So, although hemp and marijuana belong to the same species, industrial hemp contains only small amounts of THC, and products made from industrial hemp have no psychoactive effects when consumed.

Experience the Canadian difference

From unique, nutritious foods to environmentally friendly clothing, Canada's hemp industry has something for almost everyone. For further information, please visit:

Government websites

Industry websites


Trade Statistics

The following tables represent Canada's total trade in a given export commodity based on Statistics Canada data. The product categories represent HS code groupings and have not been modified. In most cases, statistics have been presented at the 6 or 8 digit level. Statistics are presented in Canadian dollars and are complete through year end 2010.

HS Codes

  • 12079910 - Hemp seeds, whether or not broken
  • 15159020 - Hemp oil and its fractions, whether or not refined but not chemically mod
  • 23069010 - Oil-cake & other solid residues, of hemp seed, whether or not ground or pelleted
  • 53021000 - True hemp fibre (Cannabis sativa l), raw or retted
  • 53029000 - True hemp fibre otherwise processed but not spun; tow and waste of true hemp
Canada's Exports to All Countries ($CAD)
HS 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
12079910 2,656,276 3,625,804 4,408,474 6,294,072 137.0%
23069010 0 0 2,758,817 2,957,333 -
15159020 695,870 756,341 864,072 1,107,886 59.2%
53029000 57,342 44,463 55,233 21,826 -61.9%
53021000 44,661 24,677 6,632 5,627 -87.4%

Canada's Exports to All Countries (Quantity, KGM)
HS 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
23069010 0 0 999,526 2,963,382 -
12079910 699,567 1,030,729 683,512 818,375 17.0%
15159020 76,704 91,812 103,965 178,932 133.3%
53029000 69,645 29,177 30,136 22,374 -67.9%
53021000 29,651 26,817 4,425 4,552 -84.6%

Canada's Monthly Exports to All Countries (HS Codes 12079910, 15159020, 23069010, 53021000, 53029000, Value $CAD)
Month 2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan 261,820 295,802 346,544 651,223
Feb 153,506 425,607 560,774 1,147,932
Mar 401,594 424,177 801,052 877,745
Apr 232,548 484,755 578,626 769,223
May 294,898 281,753 693,148 667,947
Jun 324,372 434,911 618,105 1,149,620
Jul 382,664 460,324 660,242 453,217
Aug 309,928 340,790 600,400 916,560
Sep 153,413 437,043 972,882 963,920
Oct 426,500 351,573 895,881 1,218,480
Nov 275,016 205,938 753,727 949,934
Dec 237,890 308,612 611,847 620,943
TOTAL 3,454,149 4,451,285 8,093,228 10,386,744

Canada's Exports to All Countries by Province (HS Codes 12079910, 15159020, 23069010, 53021000, 53029000, Value $CAD)
Province 2007 2008 2009 2010
Alberta 20,245 31,159 678,663 1,685,059
British Columbia 238,786 224,949 278,420 267,934
Manitoba 2,003,691 2,187,134 4,783,283 6,345,536
New Brunswick 33,455 0 0 30
Nova Scotia 0 70,494 17,072 122,757
Ontario 233,963 291,349 420,907 203,612
Québec 124,933 195,374 603,927 1,414,785
Saskatchewan 799,076 1,450,826 1,310,956 347,031

Canada's Top 10 Hemp Markets (HS Codes 12079910, 15159020, 23069010, 53021000, 53029000, Value $CAD)
Country 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
TOTAL: 3,454,149 4,451,285 8,093,228 10,386,744 200.7%
United States 3,178,444 3,966,157 6,642,667 8,588,296 170.2%
United Kingdom 38,895 57,143 137,778 481,593 1,138.2%
India 0 0 520,185 356,743 -
Ireland 89,360 58,291 128,740 268,626 200.6%
Netherlands 0 37,803 79,237 162,018 -
Germany 16,679 1,140 24,853 128,781 672.1%
Japan 80,899 61,552 112,569 106,285 31.4%
Belgium 0 175,637 113,999 98,613 -
Italy 0 23,059 129,159 29,694 -
New Zealand 2,000 5,400 64,978 27,850 1,292.5%