Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive plant which has been made illegal in many countries including the United States because of its relation to cannabis, or marijuana. According to advocates, this is a somewhat hysterical reaction that is cutting off America and other countries from the potential uses of hemp which genuinely have the possibility to make a positive difference.
Many people are aware of the potential uses of hemp. Hemp has been used as fabric for making clothing in China since around the 8th century BC, and it is also used to create hardwearing paper.
There has also been something of a renaissance in hemp-based food and drink in recent years. Approximately a third of the hemp seed’s weight comes from its hemp oil, which is edible and highly nutritious as is contains essential fatty acids. The seed is also comprised of around 25% protein and is a good source of calcium and iron. Hemp seeds are also said to contain more Omega-3 than walnuts which are considered something of a wonder food.
WHY BIG OIL CONQUERED THE WORLD
But hemp has more to offer the world than fabric, paper, and dietary supplements. It could also be utilized as one of the key materials to improve environmental conditions. In recent years companies in Ireland and the Netherlands have woken up to the versatility of hemp which can be used to create insulation for buildings, fibreboard, pressboard and even hempcrete which is a stronger, lighter and far more environmentally friendly alternative to concrete.
Hemp can also be considered a serious and viable alternative to plastic production. The capability of hemp to replace plastic was proven in the 1940s when Ford produced a car made from hemp and soy plastic. This car never went into production, but Henry Ford famously took an ax to the car to prove its incredible durability and resistance to wear and tear. Recently, it has been used to make curtain liners, cases for CDs and DVDs and other traditionally plastic products. Given the fact that the disposal of plastic is considered to be one of the most difficult and potentially environmentally hazardous issues facing conservation of the Earth, hemp alternatives are definitely worth considering.
In addition to replacing plastic, hemp can also be used to create biodiesel, in a similar way to many other forms of vegetable oil. Biodiesel is considered to be far friendlier towards the environment than traditional petroleum, and it is also sustainable whereas fossil fuels are a finite resource.
One of a unique ways that hemp can contribute to the environment of the world is its extraordinary capacity to heal soil contamination. In the late 1990s, industrial hemp was sown at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine where the soil had been apparently irrevocably contamination. Owing to its incredibly fast rate of growth, hemp proved particularly effective at cleaning up the land contaminated by nuclear fallout. Experts have suggested that the plant could be used to deal with land contaminated in a vast number of ways including fly ash, sewage, and heavy metals.
While the United States may lag behind in these innovations involving hemp owing to their incredibly strict drug policy, companies in other countries are taking the initiative and always coming up with new ways to utilise this extraordinary wonder plant to improve the planet.