People have been growing hemp for thousands of years. In fact, it’s believed to be one of the oldest agricultural crops. There is good reason for hemp’s enduring popularity; It’s a remarkably versatile crop, and has an astonishing number of uses and benefits.
Easy to grow: Compared to some other crops, hemp is relatively easy to grow. It doesn’t require a lot of care, and can flourish in many different types of soils and climates. It also grows quickly, reaching maturity in an average of only 4 months.
Improves the soil: Hemp can improve the quality of the ground it’s growing in by removing toxins and adding beneficial nutrients like nitrogen. Its deep roots help aerate the soil.
Better for the environment: Hemp requires less water, less pesticides, less herbicides, and less insecticides than many other crops. In a report about hemp cultivation by the European Industrial Hemp Association, it is noted that hemp is one of only a few crops that can be grown without the use of chemicals.
The perfect natural fiber: Hemp fiber is strong, durable, breathable, and absorbent. It has also been shown to be resistant to mildew and pests, and have antibacterial properties. Textiles made from hemp also have these qualities.
Clothing: Hemp fibers are hollow, so hemp-based clothing helps keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Hemp-based textiles are used to make socks, underwear, shirts, pants, dresses, and more.
Accessories: In addition to clothing, hemp is used to create many different accessories including shoes, belts, bags, scarves, and hats.
Household products: Hemp textiles are also used to make a wide variety of household essentials including sheets, blankets, towels, napkins, and curtains.
A superfood: Hemp seeds are a good source of protein, and are packed full of beneficial oils, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients. They are widely considered to be a superfood. You can eat hemp seeds or hemp oil straight, or add them to foods like smoothies or salad dressing.
Hemp-based foods: You can also buy an astounding variety of different foods and drinks that have been made from hemp seeds including basics like hemp seed milk, butter, and protein powder, and more exotic items like hemp-infused wine, hemp hot dogs, and hemp beer.
Beauty products: Hemp’s vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids aren’t just good for your insides; they are good for your skin too. Hemp-based beauty products include lotions, lip balms, shampoos and conditioners, cleansers, cosmetics, and sunscreens. Hemp doesn’t clog your pores, and has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Hemp CBD: Cannabidiol—or CBD—is a compound in hemp that’s believed to have a wide variety of health benefits. CBD sales have skyrocketed in recent years, and people use it to treat a variety of medical conditions ranging from anxiety to epilepsy.
OTHER CONSUMER PRODUCTS
Pet products: Hemp’s absorbency makes it good for animal bedding. Hemp collars, leashes, and toys are strong and long-lasting.
Automobiles: Hemp can be used to create strong and durable floor mats and seat covers. It can also be used to make interior and exterior panels for cars. A Florida entrepreneur recently created a sports car with a body made out of hemp fiber.
Other hemp products: Hemp fiber is so versatile that it is used to manufacture a wide variety of consumer products, ranging from jewelry to diapers and sanitary napkins, to tarps and rope. You can even buy hemp sunglasses. Manufacturing these products from hemp instead of chemicals like petroleum is better for the environment.
Paper: Hemp paper lasts longer and causes less environmental harm than wood-based paper. According to the Colorado Hemp Project, only one acre of hemp can produce as much pulp as about four acres of trees. Not only that, but the trees can take more than twenty years to regrow, while the hemp will grow back in less than a year.
Plastics: The world desperately needs to find an alternative to the plastics that are causing widespread pollution. According to Earth Day Network, every year 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans. Hemp-based plastics—also called bioplastics—create less pollution, and are more biodegradable than conventional plastics.
Biofuels: Hemp can be used to make biofuels. According to the National Hemp Association, compared to fossil fuels like oil, fuel made from hemp causes less pollution and releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Paints and lubricants: Rather than using petroleum-based products, hemp seed oil can be blended with other substances to make varnishes, solvents, paints, printing inks, and lubricants.
Building materials: Hemp fiber is being incorporated into an increasing number of building materials including fiberboard, carpet, insulation, stucco, and concrete (called hempcrete). Unlike many conventional building materials, hemp-based building materials actually help keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere rather than putting more into it.
Composite materials: Hemp fibers are extremely strong, which makes them good for combining with other things to create composite materials. In many cases, these hemp-based composites are lighter, stronger, and cheaper than conventional composite material. Plus, they are more biodegradable. Hemp composites are used in all kinds of things, from furniture, to airplanes, to sports equipment.
Written By: Andrea C. Nakaya