The Future of Hemp
Hemp was once praised for having thousands of different potential applications.
From Animal feed to shoelaces, cough syrup to teething aids for infants the plant can do so much.
With the passing of the new federal farm bill in 2018, our nation is once again poised to produce this versatile crop after over 80 years of prohibition. As the supply and awareness of hemp continue to grow, innovation will only accelerate. With the world focused on sustainability and curbing our carbon footprint, hemp can be at the forefront of an eco-friendly and sustainable future.
Various Forms of Hemp
Hemp is used to manufacture clothing such as jeans, sport clothing, shoes, and other apparel. Some of the better known clothing labels incorporating hemp fibers into their clothes include Ralph Lauren, Armani, Nike, Adidas, and Calvin Klein. Not only can textiles as smooth as silk be made from hemp, but it is one of the lightest and most durable fibers available, giving clothes a lightweight and breathable feel while outlasting most other forms of textile. Hemp is also used to make rope, cordage, and canvas for industrial purposes, and historically was famous as canvas for ship sails.
Using hemp for paper pulp offsets the burden placed upon forests, and as an annual crop is far more renewable than our timber. Not only is hemp a highly sustainable source of paper, it turns out that paper crafted from the hemp plant contains fewer natural acids and can last many times longer than paper created from timber pulp. This is just one of many positive aspects to hemp paper. The original draft of our Declaration of Independence is on hemp paper and stands strong nearly two and a half centuries after its signing.
Hemp seeds are high in protein and can provide as much as 2/3rds the daily value of protein per 100-gram serving. Hemp seeds are also rich in dietary fiber, and fatty the acids Omega 3 & Omega 6 as well as potassium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B9.
Hemp biomass and hemp seed oil can be used to create biofuels and in some circumstances may produce as much as 5x the return of the current crops used for this purpose. Hemp as a source of biofuel may begin to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels over time and give the oil and gas companies a more sustainable option to fuel our future.
Hemp oil can also be used to create highly viscous and durable lubricants.
Plastic products made from hemp can have a much higher rate of biodegradability and can aid in reducing the burden on the environment. Plastic made from hemp can also be far more impact resistant and lighter in weight than steel. Currently many auto manufacturers are incorporating hemp into their cars including but not limited to BMW and Ford. Virtually anything made from modern plastics can be made from renewable and biodegradable hemp plastic.
A US Health and Human Services Patent states: “Cannabinoids are useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of a wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular applications as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.” For beauty, the key amino acids in hemp oil prevent wrinkles and allow the skin to retain more moisture while providing extra nutrients. They also help conditions like dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis and are becoming a key ingredient in creams and lotions.
Mixing hemp hurds and lime creates Hempcrete. Hempcrete is commonly used as a material for insulation and construction. When compared to concrete, Hempcrete is easier to work and is not as brittle, meaning Hempcrete does not need expansion joints when using it for building. It also continuously absorbs CO2 as it ages, so it reduces your carbon footprint. As it absorbs CO2, the material actually becomes stronger. Hempcrete and other building materials such as oriented strand board can offset the heavy burden we put on timber resources similar to hemp paper pulp.
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