There are so many articles about the benefits of medical marijuana nowadays that it is easy to forget about another way cannabis can significantly improve our lives. We are talking about hemp, a crop that provides us with all kinds of things, from plastic to ecosystem protectors.
Here you will find a list of ways hemp can help us make our life even better and healthier.
Unlike flax and cotton, which are very fragile plants and require strong protection, hemp is naturally resistant to pests. It means that it does not require herbicides or pesticides during the growing process. Compared to cotton, hemp can be much healthier for a human.
However, the biggest damage is caused by pesticides indirectly. When you add them to the water for your crop, they go directly to the underground water, and then move on to rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans. That harms all the living creatures that drink this water or use it as their habitat.
Some of the studies notice a possible link between consuming pesticide-contaminated water and products and the high risk of getting cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, and even birth defects.
Using hemp instead of other fragile crops can significantly decrease the use of pesticides, and in some situations, even forgo using the unnecessary toxins at all.
Hemp can be used for the areas that suffer from erosion. This plant is quite tough and can grow in pretty much any kind of soil. Due to its very developed root system, it can even successfully grow on slopes, and, at the same time, it will help hold the soil together and prevent landslide or scouring.
Moreover, when hemp crop is left on the ground, it can serve as an additional source of nutrients for other plants. The stem and leaves of hemp are nutrient-dense and therefore can replenish the elements the soil had given to other plants or enrich naturally poor soil.
It sounds a bit unreal, but it is true. The plastic we all use is mostly made of cellulose that derived from petroleum. It is toxic and difficult to recycle (so far, there only 23 percent of the total plastic amount in the U.S. has been recycled). Therefore, plastic production contaminates the environment.
This problem is especially important when it comes to the contamination of oceans: The Great Pacific garbage patch is estimated to be more than 270,000 square miles (and that is the size of Texas). All this plastic requires about 400―1,000 years to decompose.
At the same time, hemp can be a wonderful alternative source of cellulose, and therefore, it can be used for manufacturing plastic. Such plastic will be biodegradable and not toxic.
Hemp can substitute petroleum not only in manufacturing plastic products; it can also be fuel just like diesel. However, unlike the fuel we use now in the U.S., hemp fuel is 100% renewable and organic, and that means it will not damage the environment—not on the production stage, not when burned in an engine. Such biofuel works at 97 percent efficiency rate, burns at a lower temperature, and exudes a grassy odor instead of the toxic petroleum smell. If at least one-third of the total number of vehicles in the U.S. used hemp biofuel instead of petroleum, the mother nature (and humans as well) would feel much better.
Contaminated soil can cause real problems: toxic materials can remain in the soil for decades and affect all the life in the area. This issue is especially important for places that have radioactive contamination.
However, some of the studies have proven that hemp can remove the toxic elements from the environment, and especially from the soil. In fact, hemp is considered one of the best phyto-remediative plants. These days, you can see that hemp growing helps improve the ecology in Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Hemp can also significantly improve the ecological situation in industrial areas where soil is often contaminated with calcium, magnesium, potassium, or iron. For instance, the Zenit hemp strain absorbs calcium and iron from the soil, and the Silvana and Diana strains uptake magnesium.
The production of cotton is very toxic; synthetic fibers based on petrochemical materials are toxic not only during manufacturing but also during their transformation into a final product (clothes). Compared to them, hemp fibers are completely safe. Hemp clothes are absolutely organic (which means they do not affect your health), and they do not require a difficult manufacturing process with toxic residue (hemp fibers are easily extracted from the plant). Plus, such clothes are UV-resistant and can serve you much longer than the cotton ones.
Unfortunately, there is no way to substitute all the wooden production with hemp, but it is possible to use this plant for quite a big industrial segment: manufacturing paper.
While trees take years before they become ready for producing paper, hemp can be grown within just a few months, which makes this industry much more efficient and environment-friendly. It does not need chlorine bleaching, which contaminates the air; plus, hemp can prevent further deforestation, which has loomed large in the recent years (there are only 2.4 million square miles left of the original 6 million square miles of forest on Earth).
Hemp can reduce air pollution in many ways. First, if it is used instead of fuel for vehicles, it will significantly improve the quality of air in big cities and along the routes. It can also affect air pollution when used as a paper source: this way, the industry will not have to use chlorine bleaching that it very toxic; plus, it will save trees.
Today, the United States is one of the leading countries in producing carbon dioxide, which is hardly something to be proud of. However, this situation can be changed by simply letting hemp be more involved in our everyday life.
Apart from using hemp for making our bodies healthier, we can use it for building our homes stronger. Wooden houses require expensive materials, while fiberboards made from hemp-based composite are much cheaper and stronger than wood. They are also lighter and provide wonderful soundproof qualities.
The other good thing is that houses made of hemp material seem to serve us much longer than wooden houses. Even if you build such a house in a humid area, it will remain resistant to mold and, therefore, serve you longer. There is evidence that a hemp house in Nagano, Japan, was built in 1698, and now, after more than 300 years, it is still standing in good condition!
And that is not to mention that manufacturing such houses causes little to no damage to the environment, and living in hemp-based buildings is healthier than in houses that are made of artificial materials that are so popular today.
The most wonderful thing about hemp is that it can grow pretty much everywhere. You can find hemp plants all over America and Eurasia continents. This is a very easy crop that requires zero pesticides and yet can mature within a few months. That makes growing hemp quite inexpensive.
At the same time, hemp is a wonderful source of nutrients. It has a striking number of vitamins, amino acids, and other healthy compounds. You can make flour and oil out of hemp or simply add the plant to your everyday food, especially if the food lacks in nutrients.
According to the statistics, almost 11 percent of the world population, which makes about 795 million people, are undernourished worldwide. And nutrient-rich plants like hemp can significantly decrease that number.
It may seem that hemp is almost a super-crop that can save the humankind and our planet from lots of problems. And the thing is, it really can! All we need is just to give it a chance to do good things and help it turn our lives towards prospering future.