If you haven’t heard, Hemp is one of the world’s most important resources, and for good reason. Hemp is a superplant that is pound for pound the most renewable resource on Earth. Why is that you say? Let’s take a look.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years by ancient Earthlings of a time come to pass. They knew the importance of cannabis and other sacred herbs. There was no war on drugs back then and people were more free to experiment.
Thankfully, some souls were smart enough to tinker with hemp. The only thing we take with us when we die is experience; earthly possessions remain behind.
Historians have found bits of hemp cord in what was once Czechoslovakia, dating back to around 26,000 BCE, making it the first known plant cultivated in the ancient world. Let’s take a look at why hemp would be, and still is cultivated today .
1) Hemp As Food
Flora grows naturally everywhere in the world, but agriculture is man made. There is an ongoing argument over whether or not cannabis was the world’s first agricultural crop, but we definitely think it was. Hemp produces seeds that aren’t just edible, but high in protein and fiber as well.
Farmers in ancient China used hemp to feed their families. Hemp seeds, more commonly referred to as “Hemp Hearts”, are these little shell-less seeds that are a great source of “vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc” .
According to The Information Distillery, “Hemp is the only plant that contains all of the essential fatty acids and amino acids required by the human body. These essential nutrients affect a variety of body functions, including metabolism, the skin, mood, behaviour, the brain, and the heart .
Many people today are turning to hemp milk, a cruelty-free alternative to dairy. The best thing about hemp is that it is more than food; its fibers can be refined for textiles.
2. Hemp As Clothing
Popular Mechanics produced an article in 1938 praising hemp as “the next billion dollar crop”, even though at the time there was heavy opposition against it. Hemp has the ability to yield three to six tons per acre, and has a short growing season of 70 to 110 days. Hemp produces grassy buds that contain low levels of CBD, however its main industrial appeal is what can be made from the rest of its naturally fibrous and woody mass.
Machines are needed to separate the fiber part from the woody “hurds”, leaving behind two multi-useful sources. Hemp hurds can be used to make “over 25,000 products from dynamite to cellophane”, while hemp fibers can be used to make “more than 5,000 textile products”.
Both of those numbers were figures from 1937 . Today the possibilities are endless, however heavily regulated. Cotton giants, booze businesses, and tobacco companies all lobbied against hemp then, fearing a loss of business if people thought to make the switch to the billion dollar crop.
Reefer madness ensued, and the world lives in the aftermath of that madness today. Even here in Canada, where its now legal to produce industrial hemp, hemp clothing is still not the mainstream, although it is far superior than cotton.
In its time in the ground, hemp breaks up the soil, leaving it ripe for the next grow, where cotton does not. Popular mechanics also claimed it to be a solution to reclaiming grounds overrun by Canadian thistle, the garden killer.
Hemp fibers and textiles are naturally stronger than cotton, while also being more environmentally friendly. Cotton production relies on an abundance of pesticides and heavy watering, while hemp needs little nutrients and water, and requires no harmful chemicals to grow . Hemp isn’t just superior as a textile, its also a more efficient plastic.
3. Hemp as Plastic
Certain plastics made from hemp are biodegradable. Imagine a world free of plastic garbage polluting the oceans, rivers streams. Imagine having a solution to dumping plastic in holes in the Earth. That reality is possible with hemp plastic.
Due to experimentation with combining cornstarch and hemp, a grade of plastic has been created that is 100% biodegradable. The material created from the corn / hemp union can be either blow or injection molded. This innovation can replace virtually everything we know made from plastic today . All that would need to change is the perspectives of the people.
Biodegradable plastic takes only three to six months to break down into something environmentally friendly, whereas traditional plastics take anywhere up to a few hundred years. The earth could stay green for generations, especially since CO2 is given off from the decomposition of the bio composite plastic . The flora of earth need the CO2 to get bigger, stronger, and to produce oxygen for people to breath.
Keeping the earth green by using hemp as a plastic, clothing, and food would do wonders to reduce our footprint here on Earth, however we can take it one step further. Hemp can also be used to replace insulation in our buildings!
4. Hemp as Insulation
Hempcrete is a non structural building material used as insulation, made by the combination of hemp hurds and a lime binder. The result is a thick, concrete like substance, that is applied like concrete. Poured into blocks and walls by using wood framing, hempcrete prevents excess racking, or damage from seismic events.
This type of earthquake protection is due to hempcrete’s, “breathable” yet air-tight design that regulates a good living environment by taking in humidity within the air and releasing it without condensation and the buildup of mold. This vapor permeability allows for adequate temperature control and energy efficiency, no matter the thickness of the wall, making it especially useful to combat thermal climates .
Hempcrete also deters pests and retards fire, all while being non toxic. To top it all off hempcrete is carbon neutral, leaving behind little footprint in relation to the other building materials of today .
In a world were we no longer need petrochemicals, one can only wonder when mankind will switch to hemp fuel.
5. Hemp as Fuel
One could argue that the main reason why hemp and cannabis are illegal, is because of its ability to completely replace our reliance on fossil fuels, all without the modification of your car. Hemp produces two kinds of sustainable, renewable biofuels .
The first is biodiesel, which is made from the oils of pressed hemp hearts, methanol, and lye. It can be made at home and used in any unmodified diesel engine. Containing 11% oxygen by weight, hemp biodiesel is the only alternative fuel found to have little damaging effects to humans and the environment under the Clean Air Act.
The second is hemp ethanol / methanol, made by the fermentation of the woody hemp stalk. The ethanol / methanol made from this fermentation process is perfect to use in the production of hemp biodiesel. Production of these biofuels can help prevent things like oil spills, fracking, and enviornmental destruction.
Hemp biofuels also create a pleasant weedy smell, unlike other diesel fuels. Why not make the world green again by choosing to do whats right, rather than what is convenient.
Hemp can do it all; literally. It can replace the food you eat, the fuel in your car, the plastic of your water bottle, the insulation of your home, and the clothes on your back. If this article taught you something, pass it on! The greatest gift in today’s world is the gift of knowledge. The more people who know about the power of hemp, and cannabis, the better.
1) Cannabis: A Journey Through the Ages
2) 6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
3) The Many Uses of Hemp
4) New Billion Dollar Crop
5) Hemp Versus Cotton
6) Hemp Plastics
7) How Long Do Biodegradable Bags Take to Decompose?
8) Why We Like Hempcrete
9) Why Hempcrete
10) Hemp Fuel