Some Quick Facts About Hemp

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The uses of the hemp plant are innumerable. It is proving to be a worthy replacement for tree-based products like cotton fiber, paper, fiberboard and an eco-friendly alternative to plastic and fuel. It is a common misconception that consumption of hemp seeds leads to intoxication. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant with a low THC content and, therefore, cannot be used as a psychoactive drug, unlike the marijuana variant. Here are a few interesting numerical and historical facts about hemp:

  • While cotton can only grow in moderate climates without frost, hemp grows well in any climate and needs much less water. The high amount of pesticides and herbicides used on cotton amount to 50% of the world’s usage, as against none in the case of hemp; a little fertilizer suffices.
  • The fiber that is produced from hemp is much stronger than that made from cotton. At the same time, it is softer and can be made into various clothing, such as shirts, pants, jackets and even backpacks. It is not prone to mildew attacks and will last twice longer. 1 acre of hemp fields will give 2 or 3 times the quantity of fiber as a cotton field of the same size.
  • One year’s hemp cultivation on 1 acre of land can produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. All kinds of paper can be made from hemp, including cardboard and tissue paper. Hemp-based paper will save the environment from mass deforestation and be able to meet the global demand of the next 25 years, which is expected to double.
  • Hemp paper is of much higher quality than tree-based paper; it is durable and more recyclable, and its manufacture process involves a lesser use of toxic chemicals.
  • Fiberboard made from hemp is stronger yet lighter than wood. Moreover, it is a fire retardant. Using hemp fiberboards will reduce the felling of trees.
  • While a tree cut down for its wood will be replaced with another tree in several years,┬áhemp can be harvested within just 120 days of being planted. Any type and size farming land is conducive to its growth, unlike trees that need an open, wide area. The deep roots curtail soil erosion and water is saved from pollution.
  • The extraction of hemp seed protein is a more economical process than that of soybean protein. The former is also more nutritious; it can be used to make milk and milk products like butter, cheese and ice-cream, tofu and veggie burgers. The flour produced from this seed makes tasty and healthy pasta, bread, cookies and other baked items.
  • Durable and strong materials resembling plastic can also be made out of hemp-based composites; unlike plastic, these are biodegradable and will not harm the ecosystem. Leading car manufacturers, such as the German Mercedes Benz, are now making dashboards and body parts from this versatile plant.
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, former Presidents of the U.S., grew hemp and advocated its mass benefits. Current U.S. laws ban the cultivation of this plant, but there are millions of hemp plants growing in the wild across the U.S. Although very widespread and popular between 1776 and 1937, hemp and textiles made from it have no mention in the Smithsonian Institute, the American Textile Museum and most American history books.