Station: [4] Grow Room

Visually, the highlight of our museum is the grow room. At first glance, you may think we’re growing narcotics in here – but don’t worry. The hemp we grow is a commercial strain with point two per cent THC. THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, the molecule in the resin of the hemp plant that’s responsible for the intoxicating effect.

Incidentally, all our information about hemp is right up to date as of 2021. 

Our grow room is currently the only publicly accessible place in Germany where you can legally watch hemp growing under artificial light. We’ve mapped the entire life cycle of a hemp plant here – from the germination phase to the moment it starts to flower.

We grow Fedora 17, a French commercial hemp variety. It’s hermaphroditic (or monoecious), which means that it has male and female organs. Pale green filaments with tiny resin globules form at the tips of the plants. These become the female umbels. The male flowers are found lower down, where the leaves branch from the stem. They’re small clusters that slope downward. When they open like a flower, the pollen falls out and is picked up by the sticky female flowers. Male flowers have no resin.

Because hemp cultivation is restricted by law, the effort involved in maintaining this tiny hemp farm is enormous. We have to keep a plant book. The sowing and harvesting date of every single plant has to be recorded along with its wet and dry weight. And because we have to treat our hemp as if it were a narcotic, we also have a special plant officer.

But we’re happy to fulfil all those requirements, because a hemp museum without hemp really would be missing something.

All depictions: © Hanf Museum