The Wonders of Hemp Products

What can’t Hemp be used for? Learn about the wonders of Hemp

Mention hemp and the uninitiated will think of ropes, gunny sacks, and perhaps stone-age sartorial creations! However, perceptions of this plant are rapidly changing owing to recent (and extensive) media coverage focusing on its properties and uses. So if you need a handle on the wonders of  hemp, this brief introduction to the plant, followed by a quick overview of its multifarious applications and possibilities, should fill the bill.

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa species, which belongs to the cannabis genus of flowering plants. An annual, long-leafed plant that’s found mostly in the northern hemisphere, it is cultivated for the extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) and for its seeds and fibres.  Grown from seeds, it can survive anywhere (except in extreme desert environments and hilly regions), but thrives in nutrient-rich soil and warm weather conditions.

Wielding a sustainable edge

Hemp enjoys the reputation of a sustainable crop as it is robust and cost-effective to cultivate, requiring less water, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer than corn. What’s more, because it grows vigorously and tall, it doesn’t allow weeds to flourish on its turf and thus minimizes the need for weeding, which is labour-heavy and costly.

These advantages make hemp an attractive investment for farmers eager to explore the growing market for industrial hemp, which is expected to reach USD $10.6 billion by 2025 and continue to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.0%.[1] This isn’t surprising, as “the plant has become one of the most diversely applied and globally significant natural resources in the world”, to quote Giadha De Carcer, Founder/CEO of New Frontier Data, an analytics company specialising in global cannabis markets. [2]

Making every part count

Not only is hemp a more eco-friendly alternative to mass-produced crops, but every part of it is utilised. In fact, hemp has over 25,000 known uses, a few of which are listed below:  

– Cannabidiol (CBD), a medicinal compound that is extracted from hemp, is used in applications ranging from health foods and cosmetics to medical research, where CBD has shown much promise as a therapeutic agent for a wide variety of health conditions.

– Hemp fibres have seemingly limitless possibilities. They’re processed to make everything from textiles, food, furnishings, and paper to biofuel, bioplastics, and composite, ecofriendly building materials, like hempcrete.

– Hemp seeds are a nutritious food source and can be consumed raw, sprouted, or ground, while the leaf can be tossed into salads. The seeds are also used to make bird feed [3] or cold pressed to make oil, which can serve as a cooking ingredient, a moisturiser in creams, or as part of the formulation for plastics and paints.

Supporting the green movement

Given its properties, it’s not surprising that hemp has inspired many innovations, some of which could revolutionise certain industries and even add momentum to the green movement.

Henry Ford’s first Model-T was not only built from a durable material processed from hemp, but it ran on hemp fuel[4] and was lighter and more fuel-efficient than its metal-bound contemporaries. More recently, hemp has helped create eco-friendly houses like the one owned by UK farmer Nick Voase and the riverside cottage built by Northern Ireland’s Bevan Architects.[5]

Hemp can be used to make plastic that’s not only bio-degradable, but stiffer and stronger than traditional plastic. Honest Pet Products uses sustainable hemp and organic wool to make their eco-friendly products.  And Hempearth, a Canada-based company, got the ball rolling to make an aircraft almost entirely out of hemp in collaboration with a Florida-based aircraft manufacturer. If things go according to plan, the company will even use hemp biodiesel to fly the plane.[5]

Revolutionizing energy management

Hemp can be used to make a substitute for graphene (noted for its strength and ability as a superconductor of electricity) at a very competitive cost. Studies done by David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, and researchers at the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) showed that hemp could be processed to make supercapacitors that were not only lighter and cheaper than graphene supercapacitors, but outperformed the latter in energy storage by nearly 200%.[2]

Building better

Hemp has been used to make hempcrete, a material that is superior to concrete in terms of sustainability, cost, and quality. Nikolas Martens, whose firm Martens Van Caimere Architecten insulated a local home with hempcrete, points out that “hempcrete combines the insulation and finishing in one layer, reducing building costs. Plus it is durable and sustainable, because it is made from a waste product.”[6]

…and more

Apart from the applications mentioned above, hemp can be used to make lighter, more fuel-efficient cars like the BMW i3 electric car, which is 800 pounds lighter than its competitors.[7] Research shows that hemp can also purify contaminated soil by being grown on it.[8] Through a process called phytoremediation it sucks toxins out of the soil by its roots and stores them in its cellulose. It is then destroyed at the end of its cycle so that crops can be safely grown on the newly purified land.

As industries across the board work towards sustainable, Earth-friendly solutions, hemp will continue to play many more roles as a game changer in the quest for progress.The plant has taken root, and the wonders of hemp are here to stay.

HempLife Today is a premier CBD oil company located here in the United States.

References:

1) “Bright Future for CBD and Hemp Industry as Demand Continues to Grow.” CISION PR Newswire. 21 August 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bright-future-for-cbd-and-hemp-industry-as-demand-continues-to-grow-822086414.html

2) Giadha De Carcer (23 October 2018). “The Age Of Hemp: Global Advanced Industrial Applications.” Forbes. Retrieved from:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/10/23/the-age-of-hemp-global-advanced-industrial-applications/#7fee064020cd

3) Michael Karus (February 2005). “European hemp industry 2001 till 2004: Cultivation, raw materials, products and trends.” Retrieved from: http://news.bio-based.eu/media/news-images/20050309-09/05-02%20EU-EIHA%20e.pdf

4) Joe Martino (25 February 2013).10 x Stronger Than Steel In The 1940’s: Henry Ford’s HEMP Car.” Collective Evolution. Retrieved from:https://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/02/25/henry-ford-hemp-plastic-car-stronger/

5) Greg Beach (30 January 2017). “8 surprising uses for hemp that could make the world a greener place” Inhabitat. Retrieved from:https://inhabitat.com/8-surprising-uses-for-hemp-that-could-make-the-world-a-greener-place/

6) Amy Frearson (27 October 2015) “Hemp-based render gives striated skin to renovated house by Martens Van Caimere.” De Zeen. Retrieved from: https://www.dezeen.com/2015/10/27/martens-van-caimere-architecten-hempcrete-hemp-render-striated-skin-renovated-house-belgium/

7) Alistair Charlton (13 March 2018). “Car tech review: BMW i3, the futuristic EV made from hemp.” Gearbrain. Retrieved from: https://www.gearbrain.com/bmw-i3-technology-review-2546873986.html

8) Rafiq Ahmad, Zara Tehsin, Samina Tanvir Malik, Saeed Ahmad Asad, Muhammad Shahzad, Muhammad Bilal, Mohammad Maroof Shah, and Sabaz Ali Khan (August 2015). “Phytoremediation potential of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.): Identification and characterization of heavy metals responsive genes.” ResearchGate Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281651509_Phytoremediation_Potential_of_Hemp_Cannabis_sativa_L_Identification_and_Characterization_of_Heavy_Metals_Responsive_Genes

 


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