The all so wonderful and controversial “Hemp” deserves a detailed article and a careful read. Legalized and banned over and over, the final verdict on existence of hemp is still pending. Here are some interesting facts about hemp and its uses and legality.
1. The Infamous Marijuana Family
Hemp belongs to the same Cannabis Sativa family that Marijuana does. The basic difference between the useful hemp and recreational marijuana is the THC level. THC is the element that gets you high. It is only 1% in hemp and around 20% in weed. A migraine is all you gonna get if you try smoking hemp to get high!
2.The Old Gold
Hemp was first domesticated 10,000 years ago, when it was spun into usable fiber for the very first time.
3. One hell of a Raw Material
This one plant can be used to produce several products including rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and bio-fuel! The medicinal properties and uses of hemp are not promoted fairly in the mainstream media. Too good to disclose or may be too cheap for business!
4. Useful to its last unit!
All the parts of the plant produce different products. In its raw form, it’s good for mulch, animal bedding and litter. The seeds can be used to press hemp oil. On drying the hemp oil, it can be used to manufacture paint, creams (as a moisturizing agent) and plastic. Hemp oil can be used for cooking as well!
5. Eat, grind, drink!
Hemp can be eaten raw as salad, seeds can be taken raw or sprouted and grounded into a meal or dried for sprout powder. The liquid form can be used for baking and also drank as hemp milk or hemp juice. In US, it can be only imported and is available in health stores since 2000.
6. Nutritious and Healthy!
Hemp seeds have 5% carbs, 49% fat and surprisingly 31% protein (60% of Daily Intake Value per 100 g).
Amino acids are one of the compounds that help in regeneration of the skin tissue; the very basic thing from which our body starts to develop. The composition of these essential compounds in hemp is comparable to meat, milk, eggs and soy.
Other minerals and vitamins present in hemp are B vitamins, manganese (362% of DIV), phosphorous (236% of DIV), magnesium (197%), zinc (104% of DIV), iron (61%) and dietrary fiber up to 20%.
Approximately 73% energy comes from fats (polyunsaturated) and essential fatty acids.
7. Fiber to fashion!
The hemp has been used to manufacture ropes and clothes since it has been introduced to the New World. Pure hemp cloth has a texture like linen. Hemp jewelry is quite hip too.
Hemp processed with lime to create a concrete-like material can be used for insulation in houses. Hempcrete can replace wood to build very durable and breathable homes. Although, it can not be used to build big structures.
9. Speeding in cars manufacturing!
This seems to be a little too much, even for a hemp fan! Several leading car manufacturers have started to use hemp for making composite panels. Big car giants like Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Lotus, Honda, Mitsubishi, Iveco, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo already include hemp in their cars. Mercedes has 20 kg of hemp in every Mercedes C-class.
10. Paper problem? Not a problem!
The first piece of rough paper was found two hundred years ago before the nominal paper-making in the Western Wan Dynasty. The paper-making, although, dates back to 2000 years.
The paper mill Goznak in Saint Petersburg in Russia, used hemp as its main raw material. The manufactured paper was used for bank notes, stamped paper, credit bills,stocks, postal stamps, bonds and other watermarked material.
Dried hemp has 57% cellulose (paper content), compared to 40-50% in wood. Not only that, hemp has lesser “lignin” (5-24%) as compared to wood (20-35%). Lignin must be destroyed to process raw material into paper and needs proportionate amount of chemicals in direct proportion to the amount of lignin present in the input material.
It seems like a smart move on behalf of the state Uttarakhand (India), to legalize hemp cultivation for industrial purposes.
The matter of fact is that some researches conclude that there is no plant known on the face of the earth that can produce as much paper per acre as hemp.
Trees take 20-50 years to grow back, where as hemp grows back in 4 months.
Why are people still cutting trees?
11. Hemp Miscellaneous
Hemp is used to make a lot of products that have one of their niche markets. These products combining hemp with other ingredients can range from jewelry like bracelets, rings, necklaces, anklets, watches and other adornments to cordage, cigarette paper and animal bedding.
12. Purifier for water, soil and more
Hemp does not only washes off the impurities out of wastewater and soil but also reduces the effects of the deadliest thing – the destructive radioactive material. It has been used to reduce the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site clearing the radio isotopes and other impurities out of the soil.
13. Weed kills weed
Because of its fast growing nature and tall plants, weed is used to kill other forms of useless and unwanted weed. It’s a good choice for crop rotation, that will yield hemp produce and will organically purify the water and soil.
Hemp can be used to produce fuel that actually works and not only to ignite lamps but also capable of running a diesel engine. Rudolf Diesel, when invented the diesel engine, he intended to use filtered hemp oil “hempoline” and other oils from vegetables and plants to power the Diesel engine.
In fact, hemp-derived products, mostly, are renewable, non-toxic and bio-degradable.
15. Production in US
Until 1937, quality paints were made from hemp seed oil. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were made in America for paint products. Some rare companies still use hemp for production of paint.
16. Ancient farming
Hemp farming goes back as long as 10,000 years in China and its industrialization dates back to ancient Egypt.
17. Sailor’s rope
Ninety percent of the rope used by sailors used to be made of hemp.
It feels like a little injustice to the nature to not grow hemp. It’s like cutting its whole finger, when you only need to clip off the naturally growing extra nail. Poor wild life!
18. The Wise Men
The founding fathers that started growing hemp were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers started cultivation in America by smuggling hemp from China via France.
19. Benjamin wanted it
Benjamin Franklin was the first person to own a paper mill in America. The mill processed hemp to produce paper. There was a war because of hemp in which Napoleon was aiming to cut off Moscow’s export to England.
20. Van Gogh stamped it
In 1820s, 80% of all textiles, fabrics and clothes were made from hemp. To my surprise, Van Gogh’s Gainsborough and other early paintings were made on a hemp made canvas.
Not just that, but the first Bibles, Betsy Ross’s flag, maps, charts and first drafts of American constitution were made from hemp.
21. The hemp Ford!
Henry Ford’s Model T was made out of hemp plastic, whose, impact strength was 10 times safer than steel. The car was also supposed to run on hemp fuel and Ford proudly called it “The car grown from the soil”.
22. Legality of hemp!
After noting so many benefits about this plant, it is natural to think that why would the government not legalize the production of this wonder plant! Let’s leave this here! Like real people do!
The reason why it is illegal is because it is confused with Marijuana and taken for granted that it is bad and just a recreational drug as they belong to the same Cannabis Sativa family. (Please refer to point one for THC stats).
Hemp was declared as “The Most Profitable And Desirable Crop That Can Be Grown”: Mechanical Engineering, February 26, 1937; and “New Billion Dollar Crop”: Popular Mechanics, February 1938. Yet no hemp farming in the US!
Over 30,000 useful products can be manufactured from hemp.
23. Eco-friendly clothes
To grow cotton, enormous amounts of pesticides are required to keep it alive and protect from insects, diseases and weed. Around 50% of the total pesticides used in the US are used on the cotton farming.
24. Legalization in US for WWII
Because of shortage of materials like lubricating oil, shoe material and other products, the US government legalized hemp cultivation in 1937.
25. Death penalty for farming!!
Hemp was banned stating that it is a harmful drug and the government regulated it under Schedule 1 of The Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
In fact, despite all the benefits and uses of hemp, the government has banned its production, and as that was not enough, they have also imposed death penalty for growing an acre of hemp in US! Makes sense! Totally!
26. Myth or Not?
There have been strong testimonies online, where people have cured and survived cancer using only 70 grams of hemp. It doesn’t just help in remission, but also keeps cancer at bay. There is a testimony available on http://www.thehempconsultants.com/Success_Story__1.php.