Hemp can be used to produce a very large variety of products from clothing to paper to building supplies to cars to fuels to food products to much, much more. Some people have called hemp the plant of 30,000 uses because it combines the utility of the soybean, the cotton plant and the Douglas Fir tree into one green package. Hemp is an environmental, renewable, reusable and recyclable resource.
Hemp grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. The production of cotton, on the other hand, consumes almost half of the agricultural chemicals used on American crops. Hemp bast fibers are one of the longest natural soft fibers. They are longer, stronger, more absorbent, more mildew-resistant, and more insulative than cotton. This means that hemp will keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer than cotton.
Hemp is more effective at blocking the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. The nature of hemp fibers makes them more absorbent to dyes, which coupled with hemp's ability to better screen out ultraviolet rays, means that hemp material is less prone to fading than cotton fabrics are. Like cotton, hemp can be made into a variety of fabrics, including high quality linen. When blended with materials such as cotton, linen, and silk, hemp provides a sturdier, longer lasting product, while maintaining quality and softness.
Hemp is environmentally friendly in many ways. It can displace the use of cotton, which requires massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. The production of cotton consumes 50% of the pesticides sprayed in the entire world. Hemp has a deep root system that helps to prevent soil erosion, removes toxins, provides a disease break, and aerates the soil to the benefit of future crops.
Biodegradable industrial products.
Because hemp is rich in cellulose, research is being conducted into the use of hemp for the production of biodegradable plastic products. Plant based cellophane, recycled plastic mixed with hemp for injection-molded products, and resins made from hemp oil could one day be manufactured. BMW in an effort to make cars more recyclable, is using hemp materials in their automobiles. Hemp fibers are increasingly being used in industry as a substitute for fiberglass. The advantage of replacing fiberglass with hemp is that hemp is lighter, as strong or stronger, is biodegradable and is cheaper.
Hemp is a high yield fiber crop, producing more biomass per acre than most other crops. As a result, the hydrocarbons in hemp could be used as a renewable, low polluting alternative to fossil fuels that is non-polluting to our atmosphere. Hemp is excellent in producing alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. Hemp could be processed into fuel pellets, liquid fuels, and gas, reducing our consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Both the seed and the fiber can be used, though the process varies depending on what you use.
Replacement for wood products.
As a replacement for wood products, hemp offers many more environmentally friendly benefits. Hemp yields three to eight tons of fiber per acre, which is four times the yield of the average forest. Unlike wood, hemp is low in lignin, which means that hemp can be pulped using fewer chemicals. Many construction products now made out of wood could be made from hemp.
Beams, studs, posts, oriented strand board, and medium density fiberboard made from hemp would be stronger and lighter because of hemp's long fibers. Washington State University produced hemp fiberboard that was found to be twice as strong as wood-based fiberboard. The replacement of wood fiber by hemp-based products can save forests for wildlife habitat, watersheds, recreational areas, oxygen production, and carbon removal, which reduces global warming.
Hemp paper is of the highest quality, resists decomposition, and does not yellow as it ages when an acid-free process is used. It is for these reasons that hemp paper is used in Europe for bibles. A sample of hemp paper has been found that is more than 1500 years old. Only around 1850 did paper from wood pulp start to replace hemp. Trees were cheap, but now they are rapidly getting depleted.
Over a period of 20 years one hectare (ha) of hemp can produce as much paper as four hectares of forest. Japan still imports much of its wood pulp from tropical rainforests which are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Hemp paper can be recycled many more times than wood-based paper. Hemp's natural creamy color eliminates the need for chlorine bleach, which prevents the dumping of extremely toxic dioxin into streams. Instead, hemp can be bleached using gentler hydrogen peroxide.
Body Care Products.
Hemp s antimicrobial properties make it useful for cosmetics and body care products such as shampoos and hair conditioners, lotions, massage oils, salves, soaps, skin crèmes, sunscreen, and lip balm. The oil from hemp seeds has been known to cure dermatitis and other serious skin diseases.
Hemp provides a healthy protein for pets from dogs and cats to cows and horses to all varieties of birds and chickens.
The oil is also being made into a laundry detergent that biodegrades naturally in our water systems.
Hemp is an excellent archival material, for use in paintings and books. Most famous paintings are painted with hemp oil on hemp linen. In ancient China the art of making paper from hemp and mulberry bark was guarded as a state secret, but eventually the knowledge found its way to Japan and also to Europe via the Arabs. In 1390 the first European mill processing hemp rags into paper was founded.
In 1455 Gutenberg printed the first printed book in Europe on hemp paper. Washi, a traditional Japanese paper, was made from hemp and mulberry fiber. Nowadays hemp is virtually unavailable for this purpose though a limited supply of hemp paper has been manufactured in Tochigi recently. Hemp and mulberry paper are also used for ritual strips of paper decorations used at Shinto shrines. Japan imported the recipe for paper making from China where most paper still contains hemp today.
A vast array of food products can be made from hemp seeds. They have exceptional nutritional value and are second only to soybeans as a source of complete vegetable protein. However, they are longer lasting and more digestible than soybeans. The main protein found in hempseed is edestin. Unlike soy, hemp doesn’t t have to be cooked or fermented for it to be digestible.
VALUE OF HEMP IN FOOD PRODUCTS
Hemp seeds contain all eight essential amino acids in the correct proportions required by humans, including Omega-6 (LA- linolenic) and Omega 3 (ALA alpha linolenic). Hemp has a balance of three parts Omega-6 to Omega-3, very close to the body's nutritional requirements. As regulators, the LA and ALA fatty acids provide stability and control the movement of all substances in and out of our bodies' building blocks. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), another essential amino acid found in hemp, also stimulates the production of eiconsanoids, which are hormone-type substances. For this reason, many women find hemp oil in their diets helps relieve pre-menstrual syndrome and extreme symptoms of menopause.
Some of the other benefits of having all these Essential Fatty Acids in the diet include an increased metabolism, lower cholesterol, better digestion, general vigor, improved skin and hair condition, and a boosted immune system