The word 'hemp' for many people still conjures up images primarily related to the mood altering drug, Marijuana.
Cannabis Sativa is certainly used extensively for medicinal, illicit
and 'recreational'purposes as marijuana, Industrial hemp is a different
strain containing very little of the psychoactive substance found in
marijuana. You simply cannot get high on industrial hemp.
hemp is an extraordinarily useful plant that can provide more
environmentally friendly food, fiber, fuel, medicinal and building
Hemp is incredibly robust to the point in some places
it is invasive and is considered a noxious weed. Some varieties are
very hardy and able to thrive in saline and heavily degraded soils.
It's these characteristics that make it a great candidate to replace
pesticide and herbicide dependent crops such as cotton. Hemp is also a
water miser and can be processed into useful products with little
energy and without requiring toxic chemicals.
Here's some other fast facts about hemp
*Hempseed has high levels of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, essential fatty acids and trace elements.
*Hempseed oil comprises nearly a third of the seeds' weight; making it a viable source for cooking oil, lighting and bio-fuel.
*Hempseed oil is also beneficial as a body care product and can be made into soaps, conditioners and lotions.
stalk provides an incredibly strong, durable and rot resistant fiber
that's been used in the shipping industry for centuries. As hemp can
grow over ten feet tall, the long fibers are perfect for rope.
*The short fibers of the stalk can be used in textiles as a replacement or blender fiber for cotton.
*The core of the stalk can be used to make paper and organic plastics.
woody core, known as hurds, can be mixed with lime, sand, plaster and
cement to create a very strong concrete or building bricks.
*The core fiber can also be utilized in producing a fiberboard that is twice as strong as wood-based fiberboard.
*The stalk can also be used to make methanol and ethanol
*Hemp can be planted as a crop for restoring the fertility of fields in the process of stock rotation.
its fast growth, hemp may also be useful in carbon sequestration -
taking carbon out of the air and putting it back into the earth.
is a great insulation material that can be applied in the wall cavaties
and roof spaces of houses as a replacement for fiberglass batts.
flowers and leaves are used to make medicines for treating many
ailments such as glaucoma and cancer sufferers can be prescribed it to
and that's just a short list. For a
closer look at this incredible plant, it's history and uses, check out
John McCabe's fantastic book, Hemp: What The World Needs Now, the entire contents of which can be read online for free.
given that industrial hemp is so useful, why is the cultivation of
industrial hemp generally banned in some places? Most hemp products are
It's all tangled up with the confusion with marijuana
and the interests of other sectors who don't want to see it competing
with their own products. This is another aspect John delves into in Hemp: What The World Needs Now. Thankfully, this is changing; but the changes are too slow.
is truly an amazing plant that Western society should be making far
more use of in an effort to reduce our impact on the environment. Hemp
products such as some of those mentioned above aren't outlawed, so we
should be doing more to help farmers grow it in our own countries.
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