Hemp (cannabis sativa), not to be confused with marijuana, is a tall-looking plant that can reach heights of up to 4 metres and is currently taking the world by storm. It is a raw material that is environmentally friendly, medicinally beneficial and makes for an amazing and versatile resource (you can even build houses with it). Below you’ll find out all you need to know about hemp and its benefits.
What is hemp?
This controversial, fast-growing and sustainable plant might be the future of saving the environment. As a renewable material, its fibres can be incorporated into many products such as paper, oil and rope to make them more eco-friendly. The seeds and the flowers of the plant can also be used.
Hemp is considered to be something like “cannabis’ cousin”, because they derive from the same family. However, while cannabis contains psychoactive properties, hemp doesn’t, containing less than 1% THC.
Why should we use hemp?
1. It’s financially and environmentally beneficial
Hemp is a very versatile crop, one that can easily adjust and thrive in a wide variety of climates, even extreme ones. Hemp plants transform the energy they receive from the sun into cellulose (which is used to create everything from paper to biofuels to body lotions) faster than any other plant. Additionally, compared to wheat or other similar crops, hemp requires less water to grow, which benefits both the planet and the wallet.
2. It requires no harmful pesticides to grow
Hemp is sturdy and does not need any type of pesticide to grow healthily, as it is naturally resistant to pests. Pesticides can be so harmful to the soil and water if they leak, polluting everything, and potentially hurting the environment and health of anyone who comes in contact with it.
3. Forget about those nasty chemicals in your clothes
It can be challenging to find environmentally or ethically-friendly clothing. A large number of the clothes we are exposed to in the shops are made with textiles that have been treated with strong chemicals to make them last longer. Contrary to this, hemp is already super sturdy, durable and strong, regulates heat and is completely non-toxic.
4. You can build houses with hemp
Oh, yes – as you can see here, this house in the US was built with hemp-based materials. Known as “hempcrete”, this building material has many eco-friendly features, as expected. It has amazing insulating properties, helping to keep a steady temperature inside the house and it can also absorb pollutants, such as carbon dioxide.
5. It can help protect our trees
Hemp has the perfect type of fibre to create durable paper, producing 4 times more fibres per acre than trees. Only one hemp plant can help save 12 trees from being cut down. Deforestation is a huge problem, as it destroys native flora and the habitat of our fauna. Other than paper, hemp can also be used to create timber (which trees are also used for) with far less pollution than traditional forms of manufacturing.
6. Combat fossil fuels
Hemp is a completely sustainable resource that barely delivers any pollutants into the environment, unlike the fossil fuels we currently use. Large hemp crops could ease the current dependency on fossil fuel and help clean our air.
7. It’s a superfood
Lots of plant seeds are beneficial to our health and are considered superfoods. Hemp seeds fall under this category, as they are high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They are especially high in protein, as more than 25% of their total calorie count is high-quality protein; even more than chia or flaxseeds! Additionally, the seeds can be used to make butter, flour, milk and oil. If you want to have them as they are, you can either consume them raw or roasted.
8. Say goodbye to plastic bags
Biodegradable bags are slowly replacing plastic bags, but we still have a long way to go. Hemp plastic is biodegradable and can be used to reinforce other materials. Hemp plastic could replace plastic bottles, lids, and so much more.
9. Forget about ethanol
Hemp bio-oil could be the new ethanol. It is believed that hemp could supply carbon biofuels without any environmental or human impact. Unlike ethanol, coal or oil that, when burned, produces carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals, hemp bio-oil could be completely environmentally friendly.
10. Hemp can clean for us
Hemp can not only eliminate toxins, but also radioactive materials, as it produces phytoremediation. While hemp is not the only plant that has this property, it can do it faster and better than other plants.
The revolutionary plant
It is clear that hemp is a revolutionary plant that could change the future of our environment for the better. While there’s still a little uncertainty and controversy surrounding the plant due to the fact it comes from the same plant as marijuana, lots of progress has been made in the past years and now it is legal in many nations, including in Australia. It is impossible to deny the benefits of hemp; it’s a super product that may be exactly what we need to take care of our planet.
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