Amazing Hemp: Nature’s Cure
Hemp is an amazing plant with so many great benefits. I keep writing about it because I keep being amazed by what I learn. Hemp is a crop that could ease or eliminate many of the world’s challenges like energy, food and pollution. It is easy to grow and prolific with awesome properties and benefits. It can be used for food, medicine, fuel, construction, replacing plastic, clothing and much more!
For example, 1 acre of hemp can grow as much fiber for paper as 4.1 acres of trees, and then be replanted to harvest in about 4 months versus the 20 years it would take to regrow the trees! Hemp uses one-half the water of wheat and has many more uses. Farmers all over the world are growing hemp due to its many uses and benefits, but in the US, it is only legal as a research crop! This is a baby step to help cultivate and restore our seed stock in the US. Cultivators need to be developed for each climate and region of the country.
In the 1800s and early 1900s hemp was the largest US cash crop with 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes and bed sheets made from hemp. Virginia even required its farmers to grow it! The US had a thriving hemp industry with a seed stock that was the envy of the world until 1937 when hemp was outlawed along with marijuana.
Here are just a few of the many uses for hemp:
- food – hemp seeds are one of the most nutrient and protein dense plant foods. They are high in protein, essential oils, amino acids, fiber and minerals.
- medicine – hemp oil aids our health by improving hormonal balance, protecting skin cells, boosting immunity, lowering cholesterol and helping the nervous system! There even are studies suggesting that the CBD in hemp oil can attack cancer cells. Why the heck aren’t we serving up hemp oil instead of radiating people!
- clothing – hemp fibers can be made into clothing, canvas and many more textiles.
- building materials – hemp can be mixed with earth to make what is called hempcrete. It is cheaper, with less environmental impact and actually sequesters CO2 as it cures and ages! Hemp can also be used for bricks, insulation, composite building materials, animal bedding and more!
- livestock feed and bedding – hemp is just starting to be used to feed and bed animals for its properties to grow fast, provide healthy animal food and lower environmental impacts.
- fuel – hemp oil can also be used as a biofuel for cars, generators or almost any engine. And it is easier to grow, cheaper and much friendlier to the environment emitting 80% less carbon dioxide & nearly 100% less sulfur dioxide than fossil fuels. A farmer could run the tractors and farm machinery using only a part of the harvest.
- plastics and composites – hemp can be used to replace plastic or combined to make stronger composites for building materials, packaging and other materials. Car parts are starting to be made from hemp (Ford did this 100 years ago, until hemp lost its status). Plus, it is eco-friendly, fast-growing, low water use and biodegradable. Much better than plastic!
Sadly, even with all these great benefits, our policy makers have not given a full green light to hemp growing. And to make matters worse, some government agencies are still fighting its use and seizing shipments of hemp seeds imported into the US. This is despite the fact that importing seed is entirely legal under the Farm Bill of 2013. Here’s more interesting background on the differences between the US and Canada toward this super crop.
If you catch the hemp bug like I have, here is one of the best sources of information at hemp.com. Meanwhile, I hope you become a hemp advocate and help spread the word. Please share this post, join one of the hemp organizations and let others know about this amazing plant that we could be growing to solve so many challenges in the world.
Hemp to the rescue!