Hemp an Intro
Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to humanity. Hemp fiber is extraordinarily strong and its use dates back thousands of years as it was utilized for the production of things like cordage, clothing, and paper.
Additionally, industrial hemp has a long and rich history in the United States. The first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Hemp was a mandatory crop in the early republic, and citizens were required by law to grow it on their homesteads. In 1841, Congress passed a law that ordered the US Navy to purchase hemp from farmers. Hemp has been a staple of American industry since the beginning.
Things took a downturn in the mid-Twentieth century, as hemp was confused with its psychoactive cousins and included on the list of forbidden substances under the Controlled Substances Act. However, it looks like there may be a new hemp revolution brewing that has the potential to radically transform modern industry.
Industrial hemp legalization in the United States is now on the horizon as new bills were recently submitted to the US Senate and House of Representatives. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove any federal barriers to hemp and legalize its industrial use.
So, why Hemp? It is known as the plant of 10,000 uses, after all, and that’s not far from the truth.
Industrial Hemp is used in the manufacture of thousands of products. The whole stalk can be used to create paper materials and energy products like biofuels. In fact, hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber, so it is a highly sustainable renewable resource. Hemp biodiesel and ethanol/methanol have a proven track record in Europe and the United States as a renewable and cleaner-burning energy source.
The bast fiber of the hemp plant is used to create textiles like clothing, bags, and shoes, technical textiles like cordage and netting, and new-use industrial products like plastics. Henry Ford, for example, built a vehicle out of hemp and other plant fibers that had an impact-resistance 10x stronger than steel.
The hurd, also known as shives or hemp wood, of the hemp plant is used to create building materials like insulation and hempcrete, and also industrial products like animal bedding and chemical absorbent.
Hemp seed is also used in the manufacture of food products like breads, protein powders and flour, milk, and cereal. Hemp oil pressed from the seeds has uses in supplementation, body care products like shampoo, soap, and cosmetics, and technical products like paint, lubricants, and ink.
Hemp can literally replace thousands of products that we use every day.
Additionally, Hemp is now being accepted once again as a medical product because it contains Cannabidiol (CBD) and other vital non-psychoactive cannabinoids necessary for human health. CBD, by itself, has been shown to treat pain, mental illness, anxiety, and insomnia.
Does hemp sound like a wonder plant? With thousands of uses ranging from everyday industrial and household products, to food and medicine, it seems to be the most simple and powerful solution to creating a sustainable, healthy future.