Let’s talk about hemp. It’s a versatile plant, so you can create nearly anything with it. Okay, not anything, but hemp has the ability to become a sustainable alternative for many common goods we use today! It’s an all-around amazing plant, with an abundance of untapped potential. Not to mention, hemp produces the cannabinoid CBD, which is beloved because it contains many great benefits, and unlike marijuana, it won’t get you high. Read on to learn more about why hemp is the plant of the future.
1. Hemp is sustainable
What is sustainability? Sustainability is the idea that your practices won’t negatively interfere with the earth’s naturally existing state, but rather improve or keep it neutral. Consumer packaged goods, produce, and other common goods are moving towards sustainability. It’s no secret today’s generation is passionate about sustainability, and protecting our earth.
Sustainable agriculture and activities won’t deplete the earth’s natural resources local ecosystems rely on, which is why people love it so much. Hemp is a powerful plant, and when it’s planted, it actually removes toxins and other harmful substances from the earth through a process called phytoremediation. Hemp farming is sustainable when done right. If responsible farming is practiced, growing hemp is less likely to damage the earth, and in many cases, it even can help the planet.
2. Hemp can remove toxins and contaminants
Hemp has been planted at toxic zones like Chernobyl and others to repair the contaminated earth. In 2017, Italian farmers made headlines due to successfully using hemp as a phytoremediator to repair a steel site flooded with the toxic chemical, dioxin. Farmer Vincezo Fornano was forced to slaughter his herd of 600 sheep, his farm located just one mile away from the steel site, because they were found to be contaminated with dioxin. Fornano used the newly-empty space to grow hemp and attempt to repair the nearby soil. It worked, and tests showed lowered levels of harmful chemicals.
This is just one example of how hemp literally absorbs the harmful properties in the ground and cleans the earth. Of course, hemp used for clean-up shouldn’t be consumed, as all of the toxic properties will be held inside the plant. “Hemp’s commercial aspects together with its ability to extract heavy metals from the soil makes it an ideal candidate as a profit yielding crop when used for phytoremediation purposes,” reads one 2002 study. Hemp has been shown to remove some pretty gnarly contaminants, including:
- Radioactive elements
3. Hemp makes a great textile, and uses less water than cotton
In addition to repairing the earth, hemp plants use significantly less water than cotton, produce more pounds of fiber per plant, and have a shorter harvest time. Cotton is typically harvested between 150 to 180 days, while hemp can be harvested between 90 and 100. Hemp is actually poised to replace cotton as a textile, with brands like Levi incorporating hemp in their fabric blends.
Organic cotton is typically touted as being more water-friendly than conventional cotton, however it still requires a significant amount of water. Hemp uses 80 gallons of water to produce roughly two pounds of fiber, while cotton uses 5,280 gallons of water to produce the same amount. That’s quite a comparison, and would likely have California farmers who are forced to reduce water during a drought pretty excited!
The difference is crystal-clear here, and in terms of less water consumed, how quick to harvest, and production-per-plant: hemp is the winner.
4. Hemp can be made into numerous other essentials from hemp seeds to hemp concrete
It almost seems like you can make anything with hemp. You can harvest the plant’s powerfully nutritious hemp seeds, make hemp fiber, hemp paper, hemp seed oil, hemp concrete, and other incredible things. What other plant can you both eat and use as construction material? Ancient Roman engineers used hemp fiber to make mortar for building, and hemp stalk is now being tested as a modern construction material. It is lightweight, fireproof, durable, mold resistant, and even acts as a natural air purifier. Hemp also has a softer side: Hemp seed oil has many uses including as a topical for shinier hair and moisturized skin and for cooking.
With all of these amazing uses, why was it not being used before? It’s quite simple. It was illegal! Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp was removed from the Schedule I Substances list. While industrial hemp was still on the Schedule I Substances list, it was classified as a controlled substance as all drugs on the list are. This categorization prevented hemp-derived products from reaching prominence, and research about the plant’s sustainability was stunted because of it.
5. Hemp has many wellness benefits
Hemp produces the cannabinoid CBD that can be consumed numerous ways including in oils, which can be mixed into food and drinks or taken sublingually, as well as in pre-rolls filled with the full flower. Our favorite CBD oil to consume is Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, because it contains a trace amount of THC, and other cannabinoids that enhance the effects. Learn the best ways to consume CBD.
Beyond consumption, CBD also has many topical uses and is being used in more and more beauty products and creams to aid in temporary muscle aches. It’s an all natural product that, if processed correctly, will have minimal toxins, which your skin will love.
What’s the future for hemp?
So, why isn’t hemp replacing cotton worldwide? Why isn’t hemp replacing our concrete, and other common goods? Why isn’t hemp growing in every open field? All we have to say is: you’re preaching to the choir.
All jokes aside, hemp was illegal in the United States until 2018, and is still illegal in plenty of other places. In the textiles world, it’s also not as easy as simply switching from cotton. The two crops require much different equipment. Consumable and topical hemp products have been taking the market by storm since 2018, and their popularity is continuing to heat up, but hemp products are in their infancy. Over the next several years, we predict hemp will grow to be the past, present, and future our planet needs.
For now, we aren’t powered by hemp. But for the future, we are hopefully optimistic.