Hemp is being praised widely for being one of the most renewable crops on the planet. It has a huge fan base and with the easing of regulations in 2015, that fan base seems to be growing. Why are people so happy about hemp?
Hemp is one of the oldest used crops in the world. We know that it was used as long ago as 6,000 years ago in China because it was found in a clay pot with other food stores. Writings from 3,000 years ago, also in China, exist that show use that they were using the plant to help cure upset stomach and headaches.
In the early days of the founding of the United States, sails were often made from hemp and ropes could be made from hemp fibers that were strong. In Jamestown, hemp was a mandatory crop to be grown as it provided so many uses. Hemp could be made into parchment paper, it could be eaten, used for herbal tinctures, for the making of ship’s sails and more.
Hemp was used in America right up until Richard Nixon signed the law called the Controlled Substances Act, which named cannabis as an illegal drug. Sadly hemp was included in this as it is a form of cannabis, though quite different than marijuana. Both forms of cannabis were suddenly illegal to possess, grow, or use.
A way of life was gone in an instant, and with it any chance that America had to make the best choices for our planet.
Why Hemp Was Included
There are many people who believe that the lumber industry was largely responsible for the inclusion of hemp in the Controlled Substance Act. You see, hemp makes excellent quality paper which holds up well to aging and use. Some of the best family bibles that are still being passed down over a hundred years of age, are printed on fine hemp paper.
Hemp is able to make every single product that paper from trees can make. In fact, hemp can be made into composite lumber that is stronger than actual wood. Hemp can be softened into fiber for clothing too. Levi denim company just recently announced that they’d found a way to make hemp fiber jeans that are softer than cotton.
Hemp can replace many petroleum products, paper products, and textiles. This may have put a few industries into bankruptcy. It is often theorized that the lumber barons lobbied Congress heavily to outlaw hemp as well, saving them and their fortunes, but possible raping the planet in the process. We could have had our forests, rather than swathes of clear-cut Rain Forest. Hemp is highly renewable as a resource.
You can plant hemp and harvest it in three to four months. This is an amazing turn-around on any resource. Trees take anywhere from ten to thirty years to regrow. Hemp also takes far less water to grow than most other crops. In comparison to cotton, for example, hemp uses one-third of the water necessary to reach maturity than cotton does. It will also produce three times the amount of fiber from the same acre that a cotton crop does.
When you look at numbers and facts like this, you may feel like other Americans do – that we were cheated in some way. We were lied to and forced into using products that would ultimately cause harm to the planet because they are reducing wildlife habitat, raising the temperature of the planet, and ruining the forests we need to produce carbon dioxide.
Hemp is Far Superior
When we look at the cost factor, hemp is cheaper to produce, using less energy and less water. This also means fewer resources from an already stressed planet that is losing more water stores each year. Hemp could not only replace the lumber industry, it could also replace cotton.
Hemp is a soil remediator, meaning that it cleans the soil it is grown in. We have so many problems with environmental pollutants that this is a huge plus. Hemp could be selectively planted in places where soil has been contaminated and it would work to clean the mess from the ground up.
Hemp is edible and useful in making so many products that it can totally replace the need to ever cut another tree down. Right now, the forest industry is looking for reasons to cut down the great red wood trees that link us to our human history and remind us that the earth has been here for thousands and thousands of years – millions of years of earth’s history is linked to those trees.
Hemp is replanted and grown again in a few months. It can be grown all over the world and even in greenhouses. Hemp is good for the environment and would create many jobs in agriculture at a time when farmers could definitely use other crops to grow. It stands up well to drought conditions because it doesn’t use a lot of water. This would be helpful in many parts of the planet that are suffering extreme heat waves as of right now.
Giving a boost to farmers would give a big boost to the economy and also create an exportable product. America is filled with heartland, full of open fields that can be readily converted to hemp crops for the purpose of making composite woods, toilet paper, writing paper, pencils and even a new thing, biodegradable plastics are bing made from hemp.
Hemp has been held back long enough for the fear that it would hurt these other industries but it is clearly time that we put our planet first. Choosing hemp products is a way that you can send a message to the industry that you are a consumer who will support hemp. Put pressure on your state and leverage your power at local levels to push lawmakers to support hemp crops and hemp paper products. You really do have the power to help change the course of the planet.