The uses of hemp are numerous – with growing promising applications of this plant including fuel, paper, food, clothing, medicine, construction, cosmetics – already the list is impressive. The hemp plant is trending in popularity and proving useful for a green and sustainable economy.
This renewable resource is easy to grow and creating a market that awaits to be tapped. The hemp plant holds revolutionary potential, as it can effectively replace huge numbers of currently unsustainable products and industrial practices.
With modern processing technologies available today, it is possible to develop alternatives for plastic, gasoline, and other products made from petroleum. Thus it can help reduce our dependence on polluting expensive fossil fuels.
Legal Status Today
Hemp’s legal status varies in each country, and also the laws are constantly changing. In Australia, industrial hemp should not contain more than 1% THC in the flowering heads and leaves and can be grown under license from certified hemp seeds.
In the U.S., it’s not federally legal, to freely grow hemp. China and Europe, are more liberal as concerns hemp. China is the leading hemp producer in the world, and smaller plantations exist across Europe. In Europe, France presently has the highest production of industrial hemp.
The Top 10 Uses Of Hemp
Let’s look at some of Hemp’s most important uses
In the recent past, the medicative benefits of cannabinoid have been proven scientifically. CBD, THC, and other lesser-known cannabinoids show promising effects for different ailments, like mood disorders, cancer, MS, epilepsy, PTSD, and many more. While hemp contains little to no THC, it may be grown to have higher levels of CBD, a component that has also been confirmed to be therapeutically beneficial.
Its CBD-rich content makes it possible to get many extracts and medicines, that include CBD rich oil, tinctures, and solid consumables.
- Fabric, Textiles, and Rope
Hemp plant may be used to create different fabrics, that resemble but more long-lasting than cotton. This plant is also great for making rugs and ropes. The word canvas is the Latin word for hemp.
Hemp plants contain two main kinds of fibres. These are bast fibres (are long, made from the stem) and the hurds (shorter inner fibres from the stem). The bast fibres are best for production of textiles, makes up 20 – 30% of the plant stem.
Hemp clothing is softer, safer, and more comfortable. Hemp plant provides the traditional rope-making fibre as it is water-resistant, strong and flexible. It is very important in the shipping industry, and fishing as it was used in making nets, sails, ropes and riggings.
- Food And Drink
Of all the edible plants found on earth, none compares to the nutrition levels provided by hemp seeds. They contain the right balance of amino acids, fatty acids, and oils. 65% of proteins within hemp plants are called globulin edestin, and provide all the proteins that the body needs.
Also, hemp contains a huge amount of healthy fatty acids, that help in the maintenance of a variety of circulatory tissues, like arteries and blood vessels, and in keeping things like your hair, skin and eyes healthy. Additionally, the hemp plant is highly resilient and can grow in any weather condition – it’s worth noting that in the 19th Century, Australians endured two prolonged famines on hemp seeds alone.
- Body Care
Since hemp has high levels of emollient properties and beneficial oils, it is now becoming a popular component in lotions and hair, skin, and cosmetic products. The oil extracted from hemp seeds is very rich in minerals and nutrients that are extremely beneficial to your hair and skin.
New research indicates that many cannabinoids are beneficial to our skin. Hence, hemp has been for a long time a key component in many cosmetics.
The essential fatty acids found in hemp seed oil closely match our skin. And the levels of essential fatty acids contained in hemp are perfect for the maintenance of the body’s natural barrier against diseases and the elements. This similarity is what enables hemp seed oil to refill the moisture levels when used topically.
Hemp can revolutionise the building industry thus allowing for greener housing. Almost all parts of constructing a house can be sourced from the hemp plant. This plant may be used to make bricks, wall-boards, plaster and concrete. Pipes may also be made using hemp plastic, while insulation and carpets may be made from hemp. Not to mention paint made using hemp oils. The versatility offered by this green resource is incredible.
The real gem in hemp-based construction products is “hempcrete”, concrete made using hemp. Hempcrete is used for foundations and walls, it is half the weight, seven-times stronger, and has the flexibility of three times that of normal concrete. This building product is also very breathable, allowing for moisture to be transferred out of a building, thus preventing dampness and even mould.
Most plastics used today are made from cellulose derived from petroleum. Oil, used for making petroleum, is not only extremely toxic to our environment, but it’s also running out. Luckily, it’s possible to use plant cellulose to make plastic which is 100% biodegradable and stronger than the conventional plastic.
Since hemp stalks are 85 percent cellulose, they make a perfect resource for the plastic industry. Furthermore, the ease and speed with which the hemp crop grows, and its ability to grow almost anywhere makes it an abundant and also a renewable resource.
Hemp plastics have endless possibilities considering they are easier to produce, safer, and greener. This shifts the power from oil barons as more industries seek to sever their dependency on big oil.
Yet another revolutionary application of hemp is making it into bio-diesel. Hemp can be transformed into a green and renewable fuel that can be used for most diesel engines – this property makes hemp a viable option to petroleum-based diesel.
Though not a known fact, but Rudolf Diesel, creator of diesel engine and Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company, didn’t imagine today’s cars running on petroleum-based fuel. They both designed their motor components to use bio-diesel and believed hemp to be the fuel of the future. Rudolf Diesel operated one of the first diesel engines using peanut oil.
New research has been done into how to use hemp in cleaning up of contaminated soil. Since, hemp is very resilient and will grow in very harsh conditions, including those areas where man activities have killed off all other life.
This process is called phytoremediation. This process uses plants in the restoration of damaged environments. While hemp is not seen as a hyper-accumulator (plants that store contaminants within their mass), hemp takes up significant amounts of contaminants that it stores within its roots. This has some advantage over hyper-accumulators since lack of contaminants and heavy metals getting stored in the plant’s main body allows it’s being harvested for other industrial applications, like paper making and conversion to a biofuel; while the contaminated roots are disposed of safely.
Hemp makes a possible pick for paper. The analysis shows that hemp paper is superior to wood-based paper owing to its composition. The Hemp paper has high cellulose levels and only has 4 to 10% lignin. Since hemp uses less chemical treatments, it decreases waste water contamination. The creamy natural colour of hemp paper implies that it doesn’t require extensive bleaching – and both these aspects are a lot better for our environment.
Additionally, hemp paper is much stronger than paper from wood, and is long-lasting – this can be for many years (1500-year old hemp paper was found intact). Moreover, hemp paper is recyclable many times over compared to paper made from wood.
- Animal Feed
Humans are not the only ones who can benefit from the high nutritive value of hemp. it can also be beneficial to livestock as well as other animals. Often, Hemp seeds are used in seed mix for wild birds. It is preferred by many species for its quality to give energy and rich oils. This is great as it helps them get through winter and for maintaining healthy feathers. When hemp seeds are added to a bird’s diet, it can live 10 to 20% longer, flies longer due to its high-quality feathers and has more offspring.
When feeding domesticated animals and livestock, there is nothing better than the hemp seed cake. The Hempseed cake is a by-product of oil pressed from hemp seeds. Hemp seed cake caters for all dietary needs for nearly all animals, including dogs, cats, poultry, horses, and farm animals. Also, it allows for maximum gaining of weight at a lower price than the current feeds being used.
Hemp is a renewable resource and can be cultivated domestically. It grows fast, resists plant diseases naturally, can grow in most climates, and replenished the soil it grows. Though hemp might look like marijuana, it, however, does not carry the active chemicals which cause mind-altering effects. Even with this, the availability of hemp products continues to grow throughout the world.