Hemp has been vilified for decades and when the U.S. government enacted the prohibition of its cousin, Cannabis, they decided to group the two together and ban both. There is zero reason for this prohibition of Hemp, because unlike Cannabis, Hemp doesn’t produce THC– in other words it can not get you high. Even though its prohibition is portrayed as Hemp and Cannabis being the same, the real reason hemp was banned was simply because of these amazing benefits (particularly the first 3).
- Paper: Using Hemp to make paper is light years ahead of using trees in every aspect. The process of making paper out of trees not only uses a lot of energy but it also uses a crazy amount chloride and bleach which creates the very toxic dioxin (the component in Agent Orange that makes it so dangerous). The process also omits a massive amount of Co2 into the atmosphere, not to mention deforestation of the planet. On the other hand, most people don’t know that paper products have been made from Hemp for hundreds of years. The crop regenerates fast and harmful chemicals are not needed to whiten the paper. In fact, the Constitution was actually written on Hemp paper.
- Plastics: Plastics are made from cellulose. To be more specific, most plastics are made from cellulose derived from petroleum. However, plastics can also be derived from plant cellulose which produces a non-toxic, biodegradable product- unlike its petroleum counterpart. Hemp has a very high cellulose content and because it grows fast, it is perfect for producing a non-petroleum plant based plastic. This hemp.com article lists the many products already being made of hemp based plastics, including car doors (which started in 1941 by Henry Ford)
- Fuel: This illustration from the 1941 Popular Mechanics article on Henry Ford’s Hemp car show the comparison of fuel derived from biomass (called biofuels now) and fuel from petroleum. They concluded that “biomass derived fuels could provide all U.S. energy needs currently supplied by fossil fuels.” This is an amazing statement being that it was made nearly 6 and 1/2 decades ago! This was not simple conjuncture or hypothetical. The car featured in this article ran on Hemp ethanol. This also was not the first time a car was ran on biomass from Hemp or other crops. Rudolf Diesel, the creator of the diesel engine, made a car that ran on peanut oil for the 1900 world fair. However, because of the high cellulose content of Hemp, it makes for a better option. Ford actually designed the first Model T’s expecting that ethanol based fuel would be what fueled the cars. In 1925 Ford told time magazine: “The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything,” he said. “There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.” It is no wonder that more communities are looking into Hemp as an alternative fuel source.
- Food: Hemp seeds and Hemp seed oil are a complete protein , meaning it contains all essential amino acids and the best source for Essential Fatty Acids, making it a superfood. Some of the benefits of taking this superfood are that it helps with cardiovascular health, weight and diabetes control and strengthens your immunity. It is very easy to add to sandwiches, soups, salads and just about any meal- without really affecting the taste. The two links at the beginning of the paragraph are great sources for different options to add this super food to your diet.
- Fabrics and Clothing: This one may not be a big surprise. A lot of people associate Hemp clothing with the hippy movement. However, you may not know that although Hemp fiber is a lot like cotton fiber, it is far stronger and absorbent than cotton, making it a better option (in my opinion). Clothing is not the only thing the fibers can produce. Rope has been made with Hemp for a very long time. As a matter of fact, it’s regaining so much popularity that it can be bought for very cheap.
- Homes: Rounding out this list with one of the more exciting uses for Hemp- constructing buildings! This is not a new idea. In Japan, they have used Hemp to make homes for centuries. It may have taken us (“the West”) a while to catch on, but more and more homes in North America and Europe are being built out of hemp, now. With the help of more companies like Hemp Adobe Homes and Hemp Technologies , we can further the path towards more homes being built out of this versatile material.
These are just 6 of the most amazing uses for Hemp. Imagine if we stop planting crop with virtually no nutritional value, such as corn and planted this multi-use crop instead! We would quickly transform the world into a much better place, not only for us, but for the planet as a whole.