Hemp is an ancient crop that humans have used for thousands of years to make paper, textiles, rope, clothes, and lots more. Recently, though, it’s become more associated with marijuana due to its close relation to the plant. Hemp and marijuana both form part of the cannabis family; however, the two plants are very different.
While marijuana is high in THC and can cause a high, industrial hemp is non-intoxicating. It contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Over the last few years, industrial hemp has become famed for its use in creating potent, potentially life-changing CBD products. As a result, a lot of the world seems to have forgotten that hemp has a long history and a vast range of uses.
In this article, we explore all the ways you can use industrial hemp. Some of them might blow your mind!
What can Hemp be Used For?
Hemp is a hardy and renewable resource that can be incorporated into thousands of products. It’s one of the earliest domestic plants known to man and was first used industrially to produce items like textiles, paper, and cordage.
Over time, the use for hemp has evolved, and the crop is now being used to make plenty of other products, including health foods, clothing, body care, biofuels, plastic composites, and more. And we cannot forget to mention that hemp is also used to create CBD products, like the ones sold here at Premium Jane.
CBD is sourced from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant, while the hemp used to make other items is sourced from different parts of the crop. For instance, hemp fiber is used for paper, textiles, building materials, etc., and is found in the plant’s stalk.
As you may be able to tell, hemp plants are incredibly versatile and can be used for numerous reasons. Here are a few of the primary uses of hemp.
A considerable portion of hemp products falls into the food category. You will often find hemp seeds featured in healthy recipes. Hemp seeds are known for being an incredible source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, dietary fiber, and various minerals.
You can buy hemp seeds with the shell or de-shelled; these are often called hemp hearts. Other hemp food products include hemp milk (more on that later) and hemp protein. Hemp is surprisingly nutritious.
Hemp protein contains more protein and healthy fats than almond milk but fewer calories than cow’s milk. Additionally, it’s considered a “complete protein” because it contains all nine essential amino acids that humans require from food. This makes hemp one of the best sources of plant-based protein.
There is quite a big discussion currently taking place regarding the use of hemp to produce biofuel, known as bioethanol and biodiesel. Biofuel is the term given to fuels made from plants. Hemp fuel is a form of cellulosic ethanol, meaning that the biofuel is made from the fibrous stalks of the hemp plant.
Biofuels are a lot more sustainable than traditional fuels. This is because the materials used to make biofuels can be grown and harvested continuously at a sustainable rate. And hemp is widely believed to be the most environmentally friendly and cost-efficient fuel crop around.
The hemp versus cotton debate has been going on for decades. Before the cotton industry took off, hemp was used to make clothes because of the crop’s fibrous stalks. This means it’s great for weaving into cloth. Hemp fiber is pretty versatile, but its use in textiles and clothing is one of its main claims to fame.
However, the prohibition of hemp meant that cotton took over in later years. But now,
as more people are becoming aware of its environmental benefits, some individuals are choosing to switch to hemp clothing. Keep your eyes peeled for hemp shirts in the near future!
Believe it or not, hemp plastic is strong enough to replace oil-based plastics, filled with dangerous chemicals. Falling into the category of bioplastics (which are not yet widespread), hemp plastic has huge potential in our planet’s fight against plastic use. It’s 100% biodegradable, which means it can be thrown into a compost heap without negatively impacting the environment like other plastic does.
Paper and Cardboard
Unlike trees, which grow over a few decades, hemp regenerates in just a few short months, making it a much better alternative for making paper. Moreover, wood pulp paper can only be recycled up to three times, whereas hemp paper can be recycled seven times.
Paper can be made using two parts of the hemp plant: the hurd (long bast fiber) or the pulp (short bast fiber). Hurd is excellent for strength, while pulp offers a much easier process for making paper. Since hemp grows faster than trees and contains more cellulose, it’s a much more sustainable option. Over a 20-year cycle, just one acre of hemp is able to produce the same amount of paper as 4 – 10 acres of trees.
Additionally, hemp paper is also more durable. Unlike the paper we use now, hemp paper is acid-free, so it won’t become yellow or brittle.
Many people today are switching from cow’s milk to plant-based. The dairy industry is thought to be harmful to the environment, and of course, lactose is another reason to cut out the cow. While soy milk and almond milk are common choices, hemp milk is a rising contender.
Hemp milk is produced from the seeds of the plant. First, the seeds are blended with water; then, the mixture is strained. This process is similar to making nut milk. Hemp milk has an earthy, nutty taste, and many people say that it is surprisingly creamy.
Additionally, hemp milk is packed with protein and healthy fat while also being low in calories. So, next time you’re thinking about making a switch to plant-based drinks, why not give hemp milk a try.
Hemp can be used to build many things, including walls, furniture, and shelves. Henry Ford once used hemp to build a body of a car that could hold up against ten times the impact of steel without denting. It was also far lighter.
With construction being responsible for consuming 40% of the world’s global energy and resources, the world needs to move away from building materials mined from the earth or harvested from forests. As a renewable resource, hemp is the perfect substitute – in the form of a mixture known as hempcrete.
Hempcrete is similar to concrete, but it’s made with woody fibers from the hemp plant, which is mixed with a lime-based binder and water. This mixture is a great option for insulating walls, roofs, and floors. Hempcrete has several advantages over other building materials, such as being sustainable, non-toxic, highly insulative, breathable, and fireproof.
With many years of appreciation in the health industry, hemp oil is becoming increasingly popular in the beauty sector. One of the latest innovations is hemp-based nail polish. The chemicals found in standard nail polish products are potentially harmful, and hemp oil offers a more natural alternative capable of restoring and repairing nails. Hemp is packed with protein, vitamin E, and fatty acids, all of which are essential to maintaining healthy nails.
Final Thoughts on the Use of Hemp
Hemp is incredibly versatile and can be used to make a huge array of products. In fact, there are a lot more things hemp can be used for than what we’ve mentioned here. Today, it’s most well-known for being used to make CBD-infused products, and many people don’t realize just how useful hemp is outside of the CBD world.
There is arguably no other natural resource that offers the same potential as hemp. Since it is a renewable resource that can be used as an alternative for things like fuel, plastic, paper, and building materials, hemp truly has the ability to change the world for the better.