Hemp is a very misunderstood plant. When people hear the word hemp or Cannabis they think of a dangerous gateway drug. In fact the Cannabis Sativa plant (hemp) is extremely diverse and useful. It can be used to make clothing, paper, food, gas/oil, and plastic. Hemp made products are generally superior and more environmentally friendly to produce and use than products made from conventional materials. Hemp grows well in a multitude of climates and can be grown with little extra water, and no pesticides or herbicides.
Cannabis Sativa subspecies Sativa (hemp) can be cultivated to have very low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC, the active chemical in Cannabis used as a drug) and was used in Europe for thousands of years for textiles, paper, and rope without being used as a drug. Since hemp is literally a weed, it grows well in many different climates all over the world making it a very sustainable resource. This plant can be used in many ways such as paper making, canvas, knit fabric, any plastics, dynamite, nutritional food, rope, fiber board, medicine, bio fuels, oil based paints, and lighting oil.
Currently, 50% of the world’s pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on cotton crops, which are used to make many fabrics and textiles. Hemp needs no herbicides or pesticides and grows well in a wide variety of conditions in many climates. Knit hemp fabric is more water absorbent, warmer, and softer than cotton fabric. Hemp can be woven into canvas and linens. Hemp canvas is perfect for oil paintings, which can withstand mildew, heat, insects and light. Most Van Gogh, Gainsborough and Rembrandt paintings are on hemp canvas. Hemp linens are indistinguishable from flax linens (in 1938, it was estimated that 50% of all linens were made of hemp). Throughout history, hemp was predominantly used for twine, rope and all other cordage. Hemp fiber has 3 times the strength of cotton and is the longest lasting, most durable soft fiber in the world making a superior fiber in all aspects.
Our current production of wood pulp paper is far from sustainable. We cannot keep cutting down trees and pumping harmful chemicals into our air and waterways. Hemp paper requires just hydrogen peroxide, which is almost completely harmless. Hemp paper can be recycled 8 times, whereas pulp paper can only be recycled 3 times. Hemp paper, like hemp textiles, is much more durable compared to the alternatives. It doesn’t yellow with age and resists decomposition. An acre of hemp produces 4 times as much fiber for paper than an acre of trees, which take a very long time to grow after being chopped down. Not to mention the various environmental effects of logging. Hemp on the other hand helps replenish oxygen by using carbon dioxide and leaves soil very fertile and free of weeds for the next crop.
Another problem that the world is slowly facing is the depletion of fossil fuels, most of which can be replaced by hemp biomass. Since biomass can be converted into methane, methanol or gasoline, we can run anything that currently runs on fossil fuels on hemp biodiesels or converted biomass. This would have a huge positive impact on the environment because biomass fuels don’t contain any sulfur and the carbon dioxide released is turned back into oxygen by the next crop of hemp plants. Currently, we use coal tar to synthetically make the polymers for all plastics. Since cellulose is a biodegradable, organic polymer and hemp is about 77% cellulose, all plastics could be replaced with a non-toxic, biodegradable cellulose plastic made from hemp.
Not many people know about hemp’s nutritional content. We all know that complete proteins and essential fatty acids are immensely important; hemp seeds contain perfect proportions of omega fatty acids for human digestion. Linolenic acid makes up 20% of hempseed and can prevent tumors from forming, strengthens the immune system, and reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis. Once hempseeds are pressed for their oil, the remaining seed can be ground into a very nutritious, high fiber baring flour and can be substituted for anything that takes flour. Today, too many people eat foods that are high in starch and sugars so their energy runs out before they use up all the consumed calories. Hempseed is high in protein and fiber, which enables you to maintain energy for much longer periods of time, slowing down hunger and replacing sugar and starches in a diet.
You might wonder why this wonder plant is still illegal to grow in the United States when it can be used in so many ways, often better than what we are currently using. Fully utilizing this plant would mean that timber, oil, pharmaceutical, plastic, wood pulp, concrete, alcohol, tobacco, energy, textiles, and food industries would all be replaced or changed. The timber, pharmaceutical, plastic, energy, alcohol and tobacco companies are the largest, most profitable companies who don’t want Cannabis to be legalized. These companies put pressure on the government to keep Cannabis illegal for their benefit, not the consumer’s.
Until recently, most of this information was only known by very few people. Now that this information is more readily available, we need to spread to the knowledge, buy hemp products, encourage people to learn about hemp, look past all of the propaganda put out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and American government, and think about the future of our planet. Ultimately, we as global citizens need to take full advantage of our freedom of speech to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Ghandi.
Hemp For Victory!
Written by me