Hemp is the fiber of the cannabis plant. Extracted from the stem to create various materials, hemp is both extremely durable and eco-friendly. It grows very quickly with little water and possesses both antibacterial and antifungal properties. Hemp has been around for thousands of years and the first known artifact made from hemp, discovered in Turkey actually dates back to 8,000 BC. Since hemp can’t get you high (hemp contains virtually no THC), you might wonder why it’s agriculture is illegal in much the United States.
The Marijuana Tax Act passed in 1937, stating that all forms of cannabis varieties, including hemp, must be regulated. Then, in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act made it illegal for all forms of cannabis to be grown in the US. There are many conspiracies as to why hemp was grouped with other restricted varieties of cannabis although it contains no THC. The most likely reason being that it posed a serous threat to the cotton farming billionaires of the time. Hemp makes higher quality textiles than cotton and is much, much easier to grow. Although hemp has had a rough past, as of the last few years, 16 states have passed laws making it legal to produce industrial hemp. 20 states have also allowed research to be conducted at universities.
While a few promising bills are currently stuck in the House and the Senate in the US, other countries around the world are filling the demand for hemp. China, where hemp has never been banned, is the leading producer in the world followed by France, Chile, South Korea and The Netherlands. Hemp is an extremely versatile product and has several surprising uses you may or may not know about.
Hemp is used to create many long-lasting textile products. Hemp as a fabric supplies a product that is full of warmth, comfort, durability and quality. It makes the perfect material for popular textile products including a range of clothing items. In addition to clothing, hemp is the perfect material for use in items such as dog toys. Not only is the material eco-friendly, but it also makes for the toughest and most durable dog toy for your best friend. The more hemp is used, the softer and more worn in it gets. Instead of wearing down, it becomes even more pliable, making it the ideal fabric for a range of textiles from wallets to blankets.
Food and beverage
Hemp not only makes fantastic fabric, but it’s extremely nutritious as well. Hemp seeds are healthy and provide great nutritional value. Hemp seeds are considered a “perfect protein”, meaning they have all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies are unable to produce on their own. It is known for countless benefits including, but not limited to, reducing cravings, improving digestion, aiding in weight loss, and improving hair, skin and nails. It can be consumed in the form of hemp seeds or hemp hearts and hemp oil. From dressings to smoothies, salads to muffins and oatmeal to bread, there are countless ways to consume this amazing ingredient.
Hemp also makes the perfect material for paper. In fact, both the the U.S. constitution and the Declaration of Independence were originally written on hemp before they were copied onto parchment! Now there is something you didn't learn in high school history class. Hemp paper can be created from both the fiber and pulp. Fiber paper ends up thin, brittle and rough while pulp paper is softer, thicker and more suitable for typical paper use. Hemp makes for the perfect rolling paper as well because it provides a less harsh smoke and it’s usually grown organically. The hugely popular RAW rolling papers are made from natural hemp material. Other rolling papers companies such as Elements and OCB Rolling Papers have began using hemp as well.
Given hemp’s history in use for ropes and sails, this super fiber fits naturally in the realm of construction. This versatile material can be used in the creation of concrete, plastic and even car parts. Hemp concrete works great as a tool for insulation in buildings, although it’s not often used as a structural element due to cost. Henry Ford famously owned hemp fields and actually created a hemp car made with hemp plastic panels. The car was known for the unbelievable fact that it’s impact strength was 10x stronger than steel! Some of Ford's early Model T prototypes were even designed to run on hemp fuel! Fuel made from hemp? Yea, keep reading.
Lastly, hemp can actually be used for fuel! It’s environmentally friendly, efficient, and if legalized could replace petroleum as a primary fuel source for vehicles. Hemp fuel is also biodegradable meaning that a potential oil spill would become fertilizer rather than a giant environmental hazard. Hemp seed oil when utilized for fuel is nontoxic and, since hemp grows quickly, it would make a great alternative to standard gasoline. With all of the amazing benefits that hemp has to offer, why does the entire world still portray its negative and controversial image? Although hemp still has an uphill battle to fight, we are closer than ever to a hemp revolution!