Did you know that hemp is actually quite the miracle plant? It has so many uses that it was once used in WW2 to help out our soldiers in need. Hemp can be used as a fiber, medicine, and even building materials! With the decline of tobacco users due to the healthy lifestyle trend that can be observed in most states, the hemp industry indeed has a chance to step up and be someone once again. Some farmers are even actually heavily considering transferring from growing tobacco and other similar products to growing good ol’ hemp!
As we all know, marijuana has been the craze ever since it was legalized in some states. This hype actually rendered its brother the hemp invisible. All the attention (both good and bad) was being hogged by marijuana but now hemp is starting to get some of the limelight. However, some people are still having a hard time distinguishing hemp from marijuana. If you’re not sure, here is a short list of their differences:
- Hemp is NOT capable of getting someone high while marijuana can; hemp does not contain enough THC to give someone that high feeling.
- Hemp has very little potential to create the THC content required when pollinated. Industrial hemp has little to no chance of creating THC. I
- Even though that they are from the same plant, hemp refers to the commercial or industrial use of the plant for textiles while marijuana refers to the medicinal and recreational use.
- Hemp commonly grows upward instead of outwards. The reason for this is that the goal for hemp is not to create buds but to create parts of the plant which can be used as fibers.
- Hemp can be grown in any places while marijuana and their buds must be grown in warm areas.
This blurred difference is actually one of the causes why some people avoid the whole hemp idea because it is still confused with marijuana which may have some negative view from other people. For example, the federal law that banned marijuana in Oregon actually affected the legality of hemp! In reality, however, U.S. policy is finally seeing the potential of hemp in helping their agricultural economy. Canada, our neighbor country, actually nears $1 billion every year with their hemp market!
Well, as of 2014, the hemp industry is finally back. Last Feb. 7, 2014, President Obama signed a provision of a bill that lifted Hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. In order to show how miracle of a plant hemp is, here is a short list of its uses and benefits:
- Hemp fiber
Fiber made from hemp is actually one of the strongest out there. It is also unaffected by water which is absolutely useful especially when it comes to durability.
The seeds of the hemp plant are actually edible and nutritious. It is rich in linolenic and lanolin acids and is in the proper ratio for human consumption! The leaves are also edible raw or could be made into a liquid and be used for baking.
- Building Purposes
Almost 70% of the cannabis plant is made from its woody inner core. This part of the plant is both THC free and durable enough to be used in housing and building purposes. Hemp blocks are actually very strong and durable that it is often used to replace wood. Additionally, silica and unslaked lime, both from the plant and the soil, creates a chemical similar to cement which is both water and fire proof! It can also be used as an insulating material. Lastly, it can also be mixed with other materials to create sturdier raw materials.
A by-product of hemp production can be fuel. The oils from the seeds and the stalk can create biodiesel while the stalks (and its fibrous state) can create biofuel.
- Beauty Products
The oil in a hemp plant can be used in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits together with its slimming properties.
- Easier to grow
Hemp is somewhat easier to grow compared to other plants. For example, hemp actually takes half of the water wheat does!
Hemp is considered to be a very environmentally friendly product. The reasons for this is that it uses less land, decreases ecological footprint and requires fewer pesticides. Additionally, it’s a plant, which can give out oxygen.
There are actually many more uses, but these are the general ones. With all these benefits, the future of hemp is certainly getting brighter and brighter. Even though that Hemp growing is only available in Colorado, Vermont, California, and North Dakota because they have passed laws enabling hemp licensure, hemp will soon be allowed in other states simply because it is a plant which can bring huge changes in our economy!