Hemp has been in use since 10,000 years ago, grown and used all over the world, even by the first-ever president of the USA. However, in 1937, the American government decided to outlaw it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance; due to its links to marijuana, hemp was seen as a threat.
Luckily, the administration finally removed it from the list and there are programs on their way that will regulate the ways farmers can grow it; according to Las Vegas ReLeaf, hemp is being grown across 19 different states by nearly 1,500 farmers right now, and it’s growing quickly. Luckily, because it’s one of the most versatile plants in the world. And it can actually help us save it. How? Well, be prepared to have your mind blown away by these ways how hemp can save us all:
- Hemp Can Produce a Biodegradable Alternative to Plastic
Plastic is one of the most dangerous materials to our environment, as it takes between 400 and 1000 years to decompose in a landfill. It all ends up in our soil and oceans, harming marine life and our own health. We have over 6 billion tons of plastic lying around our planet that has not been recycled. But, all’s not lost yet. Hemp is biodegradable and it’s actually the greatest cellulose producer in the world. What’s more, hemp-based plastic is much stronger and stiffer than plastic made from polypropylene. How do we know that? Almost 100 years ago Henry Ford made his first car with hemp-based plastic and many companies continue to do so for one simple reason – hemp makes a car much lighter than steel but also ten times more resilient. Luckily, many global brands have already started using hemp in their plastic products.
- Hemp Can Produce a Renewable Biofuel
Yes, hemp is amazing like this. The need for any natural alternatives to fossil fuels and oils is only getting stronger because of the environment, the prices, the resources, and many different factors. And hemp can help us end our dependence on fossil fuels. It’s the only alternative that will run in diesel engines as they are (without any modifications), it’s also more efficient, cheaper and sustainable. With hemp, we can either produce biodiesel from the oil of the pressed hemp seed, or ethanol/methanol from the fermented hemp stalk. And since Henry Ford and his first hemp-based car have already been mentioned, it’s worth adding that he also used hemp fuel to run it on.
- Hemp Can Save Trees
The number of people inhabiting the Earth is only growing, and so is their need for resources. Unfortunately, trees are useful in producing many different things – paper, fibre, wood, building materials, and other wooden products. It’s estimated that since the rise of humankind, the number of trees in the world has decreased by almost a half. Ouch. And since the trees are responsible for absorbing carbon dioxide and providing us with oxygen, their decrease can lead to catastrophic climate changes. But hemp comes to the rescue in this case, too! Hemp fibre is the perfect alternative – it can produce the same wood products as trees; what’s more, it’s more effective and cheaper. It’s a more sustainable and efficient choice.
- Hemp can Build more Sustainable Houses
And not only houses. Hemp can produce something more than plastic. Because of its strong, versatile fibres, it can be used to produce alternatives to various building materials. For example, hempcrete is a natural material made from hemp shivs, lime and water, that can be used in the place of drywall, insulation and, of course, concrete. It’s much lighter, so it’s easier and safer to work with it, and it’s also more efficient as to insulation, keeping the heat in, and resistance to fire. Hemp as an alternative to wood has already been mentioned – and yes, it can replace all possible uses of wood, including building material. Also, it can help produce steel in a more sustainable way; an alternative that’s actually stronger and easier to mend with than steel. Plus, it’s more eco-friendly to produce than steel which produces a lot of harmful emissions to the air.
- Hemp Can Provide us with Food
Almost one-seventh of Earth’s population is undernourished, and one-third of all children can’t develop properly due to lack of proper food. Hemp is the solution – it can be grown basically anywhere, it’s really cheap, and its seeds are considered to be extremely nutritional – they are a complete protein, full of vitamins, amino acids, natural oils, and more. They can be used to produce flour and oil, eaten raw, added to other meals, etc.
There’s still hope. If we start acting now, we will be able to preserve our planet without doing any more damage. That’s why it’s so important to keep exploring alternatives and educating people about them. Hemp is not weed and it shouldn’t be banned. It can help save us all.