The History and Uses of Hemp
Hemp used to be a major crop in America, and its uses include production of building materials, fabrics, paper, medicines, foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, plastics, inks, personal care products and fuels. Henry Ford made a car body from hemp that was superior to steel. Hemp does not contain enough THC to get you high.
So What Happened to Hemp?
The oil barons decided that competition was sin, and the politicians realized there was money in it for them as well. The oil barons wanted to share. Oh, and also in synthetic drugs – pharmaceuticals. Rockefeller decided he could make drugs from petro-chemicals. He decided to get rid of hemp medicine and create a new style of medicine, with a new power base. Country wide. He could afford to pay for the new laws. Huge money there, for both the Rockefellers and the pollies.
The Situation Today
It’s still illegal to grow hemp, even though nobody would bother to smoke it. It would prevent clearing and pulping of forests, burning fossil fuels, and spraying tons of pesticides. Bugs don’t like hemp. While it is legal almost everywhere else in the world, hemp is still not being used to its full potential.
A Few of the Main Uses
1. Paper and Cardboard
Hemp regenerates in months; it grows extremely quickly, sounds like a perfect thing to make paper with. Trees take many years, so why are we still cutting forests? Hemp paper doesn’t become yellow or brittle because it’s acid free. It can be recycled up to 7 times, while wood pulp paper can only be recycled a maximum of 3 times. About 200 million pounds of chemicals are the waste products from wood paper and pulp. And hemp does not need to be bleached with chlorine; it can be whitened with hydrogen peroxide, which is a lot safer for the environment.
They say ‘Hemp doesn’t wear out, it wears in!’ Hemp clothing becomes softer every time you wash it. Growing hemp requires the use of very little pesticides and no herbicides, so not only is this great for the environment, but in turn, if used for clothing and blankets, it is not harmful for your skin. One acre of hemp will produce as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton. Hemp material will keep you cool in the heat and keep you warm in the cold. Hemp is also naturally fire retardant.
3. Plastics and Building Materials
Henry Ford made a car body out of hemp-containing plastic. It was lighter than steel but could stand 10 times the impact without denting? Hemp can be made into various different building materials: hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic. It’s environmentally friendly and also rot free, pest free, mold free and fire resistant. Walls made from hemp can last up to 500 years. Sustainability, anyone? Hemp plastic could replace oil-based plastic materials and their toxic additives. Plastic hemp containers can be put directly into the compost, as they are completely biodegradable.
Hemp can be made into fuel in two ways: the oil from the pressed hemp seed can be turned into biodiesel, or the fermented stalk can be made into ethanol and methanol. Biodiesel is completely biodegradable and a much cleaner fuel for the air. Even the exhaust produced from burning hempseed biodiesel has a pleasant smell. Although hemp is not the greatest alternative to fuel that is available, hemp fuel can be used temporarily because it can be used in all the existing vehicles today without making any alterations. Both sources of hemp fuel are non-toxic and are completely biodegradable.
Hemp seeds are known to be one of the most nutritious seeds on the planet. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, hemp seeds contain high amounts of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. They are also very high in protein, containing 25% protein content. And they do not contain phytic acid, as grains do, to interfere with digestion of nutrients – all with a great nutty taste.
Stand up for hemp!