Hemp. Ever wonder what it could be used for? I’m going to go ahead and answer for you and say probably not. For those who are not familiar, hemp is a strong,durable fiber that comes from the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has been commonly referred to as “the billion dollar crop” and “the plant of 30,000 uses” because it combines the utility of the soybean, the cotton plant, and the evergreen tree into one environmentally friendly, renewable, reusable, and recyclable resource. For thousands of years humans have used hemp fiber for uses such as yielding a variety of products from textiles to food to much, much more. Today, modern processing technology has made it possible for us to create alternatives to gasoline, plastic and other petroleum products for the betterment of the human race as a whole. Not only is the hemp plant an eco-friendly alternative to harmful fossil fuels, but it is also more economical as it can be produced domestically in the United States. Hemp grows remarkably faster than any substitute, thrives in most climates, and enriches the soil in which it grows in. Some of the most significant uses of the hemp plant are:
Considering hemp is a high yield fiber crop, it produces more biomass per acre than any other competing crops. This means that hemp could be used as a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels, which are highly polluting our atmosphere with the greenhouse gas carbon monoxide. Hemp is an excellent candidate for producing fuel in the forms of biodiesel and ethanol.
Food and Nutrition
Hempseed and hemp oil possess exceptional nutritional value and are second only to soybeans as a basis of complete vegetable protein. However, they last longer and are far more easily digestible than soybeans. They are a great source of protein, minerals, and dietary fiber which allows it the ability to produce a vast array of food products. The essential nutrients in hempseed affect a variety of bodily functions such as metabolism, mood, behavior, and brain and heart health. Hemp is the only plant in known existence to produce all eight of the essential amino acids required by the human body, including Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. For more comprehensive information on hemp’s nutritional value we recommend you visit this website: http://www.hempproteinhealth.com/
Fabrics and Textiles
Hemp can be used to replace cotton in the production of a variety of fabrics. It produces a similar yet much stronger, durable, longer lasting, and cheaper result than cotton. Hemp is known to grow well without the use of herbicides or pesticides, while cotton currently consumes almost half of the agricultural chemicals used on crops in the Unites States. As well as being more durable, hemp fiber is also one of the longest and softest fibers allowing it to be more mildew-resistant and a better insulator than cotton. Due to hemp’s ability to screen ultraviolet rays as well as absorb more dye, it would be a far less prone to fading than cotton fabrics. Hemp has a deep root system that helps to prevent soil erosion, remove toxins, and aerate the soil to the benefit of future crops.
Hemp is an ideal material for making paper, as it regenerates in the field in months as opposed to trees which can take up to 30 years to become harvestable. Hemp paper is of the highest quality, resists decomposition, and does not yellow as it ages. Over a period of 20 years one hectare (ha) of hemp can produce as much paper as four hectares of forest. Hemp paper can be recycled many more times than wood-based paper. Hemp’s natural creamy color eliminates the need for chlorine bleach, which prevents the dumping of extremely toxic dioxin into streams.
Hemps antimicrobial properties make it useful for cosmetics and body care products such as shampoos, hair conditioners, lotions, massage oils, soaps, skin creams, sunscreen, and lip balm. The oil from hemp seeds has been known to cure dermatitis and other serious skin diseases and is a good alternative to the toxic chemicals present in many petroleum based lotions and cosmetics.
Other Interesting Facts:
-The core or the hemp plant, known as “hurds”, can be mixed with sand, plaster, lime, and cement to create strong concrete or building bricks
-Hemp contains less that 1% THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana
-Hemp has been used to make rope for over 10,000 years
-The original “Levi Strauss” jeans were made from hemp
-George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp
-Ben Franklin owned a mill that produced hemp paper
-Before 1883, over 75% of the world’s paper was produced from hemp
-In 1937 Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act rendering commercial production of hemp illegal
-Hemp was briefly legalized again during WWII because its versatility was necessary towards production of war-related items
-During WWII farmers were highly encouraged to grow hemp, even to the extent of a movie release entitled “Hemp For Victory”
-In 1941 Ford motor company created an experimental automobile composed of 70% hemp fiber. This car could absorb blows 10x stronger than steel without denting, but was never mass produced due to hemp’s illegality.
-Today industrial hemp is cultivated in China, Russia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, France, Spain, England, and many other Eastern European countries.
-The hemp plant can grow up to 20 feet tall
-Over 600,000 acres of hemp grow worldwide today
-Hemp is 4 times warmer, 4 times more water absorbent, and has 3 times the tensile strength of cotton
-Hemp breathes well and wicks moisture away from the body
-Hemp oil extracted from hemp seeds is used in the production of art supplies such as oil paints, varnishes, inks, solvents, lubricants, putty, and coatings
-In 2001, the “Hemp Car”, a converted 1980s diesel Mercedes station wagon drove a 13,000 mile fifty city tour of North America. It was powered by solely by 600 gallons of hemp bio-diesel fuel made from the stalk of the hemp plant.
-The version of the Declaration of Independence released on July 4, 1776 was written on hemp
-Hemp is draught resistant
-Hemp paper can be recycled up to seven times while wood pulp paper can be recycled only four times
-Hemp fuel is 10 times less toxic than salt and as biodegradable as sugar.