All About Hemp

What is Hemp?

Hemp is an industrial variation of cannabis plant. It is the most useful plant known to man kind. In fact, cannabis sativa means useful (sativa) hemp(cannabis). It is used to make over 25,000 different products, most of which are superior alternatives to less environmentally friendly products.

Some of the products made are: clothing, shoes, diapers, rope, canvas, cellophane, paints, fuels, chain lubricants, biodegradable plastics, paper, fiberboard, cement blocks, food, cosmetics, and soap. Hemp is genetically manipulated to contain no significant amounts of THC (the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana). Hemp is the longest and strongest natural fiber known to man, with its use dated back over 10,000 years.

There is no tree or plant on Earth Capable of producing as much paper per acre as hemp.  Hemp produces twice as much fiber per acre as cotton.

Building materials made from hemp can be used as a substitute for wood. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp- derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!

Hemp was NOT banned because it was a harmful drug. Hemp was banned because it was a competitive threat to the wood products industry and newly developed synthetic fibers that were patentable, and therefore more profitable than hemp. Corporations that profited from the demise of hemp propagated a smear campaign against hemp by claiming that marijuana use was a major drug problem (it was not) unfortunately, these false claims went unchallenged and hemp was outlawed in 1938. Coincidently, or not, DuPont filed for its patent for Nylon in 1937. In spite of the ban, the plant was so necessary to the war effort that the U.S. Government, subsidized farmers during the 1940’s to put over 1 Million acres into Hemp production. 

Hemp as a food

Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein and essential fatty acids. Hemp seed has the second highest amount of protein of any food (soy being the highest). Hemp seed protein closely resembles the protein found in the human blood, making it easier to digest than soy protein. Many patients who have trouble digesting food are given hemp seed by their doctors. Hemp seed protein was once called 'edestine', and was used by scientists as the model for vegetable protein. Hemp seed oil provides the human body with essential fatty acids. Hemp seed is the only seed which contains these oils with almost no saturated fat. As a supplement to the diet, these oils can reduce the risk of heart disease. It is because of these oils that birds will live much longer if they eat hemp seed. With hemp seed, a vegetarian could survive without virtually any saturated fats. One handful of hemp seed per day will supply adequate protein and essential oils for an adult. Nutritional Analysis of Hemp Seed and Oil

Hemp is a good Row Crop

Hemp normally requires very little fertilizer, and grows well almost anywhere. It is also pest resistant, so it uses no pesticides. Hemp puts down deep roots, which is very good for the soil, and when the leaves drop off the hemp plant, minerals and nitrogen are returned to the soil. Hemp has been known to grow on the same soil for twenty years in a row without any noticeable soil depletion. Using less fertilizer and pesticides is good for two reasons. First, it costs less and requires less effort. Second, many agricultural chemicals are dangerous and harmful to the environment -- the less we have to use, the better.

Hemp Paper

Tree paper requires many chemicals to produce quality paper, which are extremely hard on the environment. Paper can be made from hemp without the use of these harmful chemicals. Tree paper yellows and falls apart in a matter of decades, while hemp paper can last for centuries. Hemp paper has been found dating back 1500 years. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four acres of trees. Hemp paper is suitable for recycle use 7 or 8 times, compared to 3 times for tree paper. Trees must grow for 20 to 50 years before they can be harvested for commercial use. Hemp requires a growing season of only 100 days! By using hemp for paper, we could stop the deforestation of our country and produce stronger, more environmentally sound paper for less than half the cost of tree paper. Millions of acres of forest and wildlife habitat could be preserved.

Hemp as a Fuel

Hemp is an excellent source of high quality cellulose biomass. Biomass fuels are clean and virtually free from metals and sulphur, so they do not cause nearly as much air pollution as fossil fuels. Even more importantly, burning biomass fuels does not increase the total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Biomass fuels could provide Canada with all its energy needs currently supplied by fossil fuels. The use of biomass will reduce acid rain and reverse the greenhouse effect.

Hemp results in a 95.5% fuel-to-feed ratio when used for pyrolysis - the thermochemical process that converts organic matter into fuel.

Biomass has a heating value of up to 8000 BTU/lb, with virtually no residual sulphur or ash during combustion.

Hemp is the #1 producer of biomass per acre in the world. Biomass energy expert Lynn Osburn estimates that 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 million acres of hemp could replace all of Canada's fossil fuel demands.


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