Hemp is quietly becoming one of the key components in the exploding cannabis industry worldwide. Less hyped than CBD, medical cannabis and recreational marijuana, it is now having the spotlight turned on it due to the sheer volume of possible uses, its environmental benefits and the sheer scale of global production. Sara Marie Williams, founder of Hemp for Healthcare in Alaska, discusses the practical uses of Hemp.
What is Hemp?
Hemp, or industrial Hemp, is a phenotype of the cannabis Sativa plant species that is defined by the THC content of 1% or less. Hemp is grown for industrial uses of its derived products, as well as for various phytochemicals other than THC.
Hemp is also an essential plant for the environment. It is a fast-growing summer crop and within four months, it can grow up to 4 meters tall, sequestering 11 tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per hectare. Therefore, any product made from hemp is automatically creating a closed carbon cycle and is biodegradable.
Hemp requires little to no pesticides or herbicides and has a long taproot that digs half a meter into the soil, extracting contaminants, pollutants, and toxins, and helping to secure and condition the topsoil. After the nuclear spill in Chernobyl hemp was used specifically to clean up the radioactivity. Also, due to its short growing season, hemp doesn’t require significant changes to current land use.
Hemp is also useful to farmers as a rotation crop that prevents soil erosion, absorbs carbon dioxide and removes toxins from the land. It is hardy, easy to grow, isn’t fussy about climate and has high yields. Compared to cotton or petroleum it has clear environmental benefits and uses fewer resources. It is being promoted as a viable green alternative across the globe.
Hemp seeds are a fantastic source of protein and amino acids, including arginine which has noted benefits for cardiovascular health. For vegans and vegetarians, hemp seeds are a popular way to supplement dietary protein levels. They are a good source of vitamins, including vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and folate, amongst others. They are also rich in the fatty acid Omega 3 and rich in fiber.
Since the passing of the U.S. Hemp Farm Bill in 2018, we are beginning to see a huge resurgence in hemp manufacturing. If we don’t act soon, we could miss this vital opportunity to be part of the worldwide hemp renaissance. British focused technological, manufacturing, and design innovations are essential to create new market opportunities for a domestic hemp industry, to boost the local, bio and circular economies.
It was recently discovered that humans have an ‘Endocannabinoid System'(ECS) that is essential for physical and mental health and wellbeing. Hemp flowers contain natural levels of cannabinoids needed for this internal system to function. The hemp plant helps to regulate and maintain homeostasis in the body by nourishing the ECS. This vital food helps to prevent health issues, which occur from a deficient ECS, offering a prophylactic approach to health and wellbeing.
What Else Is Hemp?
The Hemp plant has 50,000 different known uses to replace products we use on a daily basis. It is a renewable resource that yields a harvest in 4 to 5 months’ time.
Hemp is energy
Hemp biomass can create biofuels such as gasoline, methane, ethanol, and methanol. Hemp can also be used to create electricity. It is a cleaner-burning fuel than that of fossil fuels and is a renewable resource that can be harnessed by all people in all places.
Hemp is textiles and clothing
Hemp fiber creates softer, longer-lasting and more durable fabrics than that of cotton and takes less water and pesticides than cotton to grow. One acre of Hemp is equal to 2 to 3 acres of cotton in fiber production.
Hemp is building materials
Hemp biomass can be used to create hempcrete, hemp insulation, and hemp wood. Hemp is more thermally efficient, fireproof and less susceptible to mold and mildew as well as providing significant sound absorption. One acre of Hemp is equal to up to 4 acres of trees in fiber production.
Hemp is packaging
Hemp biomass can be used to create biodegradable and compostable packaging options that can replace plastics and cardboard currently used to package the items we purchase around the globe. Hemp is being used currently to manufacture Hemp drinking straws that can be found on HempforHealthcare.com.
Hemp is paper and wood
Hemp biomass can be used to create toilet paper, furniture, paper products of all kinds and to serve as a complete replacement for the need to cut down trees to serve our consumption needs. Hemp can grow on land suitable for farming or even indoors while trees need forests or large tracts of land for growth. Hemp can also be harvested in 120 days from planting in contrast to the years it takes for trees to grow.
Hemp is planes, trains, and automobiles
In 1941, Henry Ford proved that you could make cars out of Hemp instead of steel. Recently Porsche has made a Hemp vehicle and Hempearth has made an airplane out of Hemp. Hemp fiber composite can create vehicles that can be up to 10 times stronger than steel and is more environmentally friendly to produce than steel.
Hemp is food for our people
Hemp seed is a viable plant-based food source for our people. The growth of Hemp can end World Hunger. Hemp seeds hold 51g of fat and 32g of protein per 100 grams. It is also an excellent source of magnesium and Omegas. It can make milk, pasta, baked goods or be eaten alone.
Hemp is good for the planet
Wherever Hemp is planted it absorbs toxic metals, chemicals and radiation from the soil thus cleaning the soil for future use. Hemp also cleans the air of carbon emissions wherever it is planted. Planting Hemp will help clean up the damage we have done to our planet.
Hemp is jobs
In a time such as this when the World needs more jobs for the people, the Hemp industry answers the call and provides jobs in every area of growing, manufacturing, transportation and retail of these products into mainstream society.
Hemp is economic diversification and development for our planet
The Hemp industry will create a new economy that is plant-based. It provides the answers we have been looking for about how we can stop the pollution that is causing the extinction of wildlife and polluting our oceans, land, and air. It is a new opportunity to give the power back to people to create a self-sustainable future for themselves out of Hemp.
Hemp is freedom
Hemp has the potential to create an economy where each country can grow, process and create everything they need in an Earth-friendly way out of Hemp. It removes the bondage of Oil Companies and Plastics who have knowingly continued to destroy our planet in the name of profits. It gives the power to the people to grow their own fuel and everything else they need. Therefore, it removes the fear of lack and can bring abundance to all people in all places.
People’s Demand for Hemp
From the traditional uses in rope, paper, clothing, construction materials, and biofuel, cannabis is now increasingly being turned into organic cosmetics, health foods, and nutraceuticals. Hemp tinctures, creams, balms, lotions, and tablets are now available alongside the traditional packets of seeds and ground hemp seed powders which have been used as remedies for centuries.
Today, large-scale hemp production is spreading with the U.S. catching up fast and regions from Lesotho in Africa to Colombia in South America setting aside land for farming. A boom similar to the palm oil boom is underway, which has raised the specter of overproduction and pricing slumps.
At present, the CBD market in the UK is valued at £300 million and is expected to rise to £1 billion by 2025. A hectare of hemp flower is valued at around £33,000.
Since the passing of the U.S. Hemp Farm Bill in 2018, we are beginning to see a huge resurgence in hemp manufacturing. British focused technological, manufacturing, and design innovations are essential to create new market opportunities for a domestic hemp industry, to boost the local, bio and circular economies.
Demand for hemp is surging globally. By 2026, it is estimated the global market will be worth $13 billion. The two major producers of hemp are China and Canada, with giant commercial farms and massive factories for processing plants and creating extracts.
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