We spend a lot of time talking about hemp at Chillum CBD Dispensary. But we mostly talk about CBD, what else can this amazing plant do? What is Hemp? What else can hemp be used for?
Hemp is a very versatile plant. Lately there has been a big push from the federal government and many local state governments, including Florida, who have been working hard to legalize the cultivation of the plant. Rightfully so since it can be used for a variety of different purposes, not just CBD.
Hemp has been used for textiles since the beginning of the recorded history of textiles. Samples of hemp fabric in China date back to 8,000 BC. Since it was illegal to grow hemp in the US for so long, hemp fabric received kind of a rough and rugged image over the years. Worn by hippies and members of alternative culture for so long, hemp is becoming more and more mainstream. Hemp has become a part of high fashion and has been picked up lately by Levi’s as an alternative to cotton for its jeans.
This is where hemp seeds come into play. Approximately one third of a hemp seed’s weight is from hemp oil. Hemp Seed Oil is highly nutritious and contains essential fatty acids. A hemp seed is about 25% protein and is a good source of omega-3, calcium, and iron. Hemp can also be used in drinks, from everything from iced tea, to wine, beer, and hemp milk.
Hemp has been used for paper for at least the past 2,000 years. Hemp only accounts for about .05% of the worlds paper production. This is a shame since hemp is far more of a renewable and sustainable source for paper than cutting down trees. However, because of the illegality of growing the plant and due to expensive processing equipment, hemp pulp is several times more expensive to use for paper than wood pulp.
You may have heard of hemp being used for paper, food, or clothing before. But did you know that you can build a house with hemp? Hemp can be used to provide all sorts of good building material. You can make insulation, fiberboard and pressboard with it, and you can even make concrete. Yes! Hempcrete can be used as a stronger, lighter, and more environmentally friendly version of concrete.
Yep! Plastic too! Hemp can be used as a viable feedstock for plastic production. Henry Ford even made a car out of hemp plastic in the 1940s.
Yes fuel too! You can take hemp seed oil and process it into a biodiesel. As cellulosic ethanol technology becomes more and more commercially viable, hemp fuel could definitely be an answer to our depleting fossil fuels. The main concern would be taking land that could be used for food production and utilizing it for fuel. However, it would be possible to use the leftover hemp stalks as a feed stock. Now that the US is taking some of the first steps to legalize the cultivation of hemp it will be interesting to see what farmland will be utilized most for.
Yes! Growing hemp is going to save a lot of farmers jobs. But it is deeper than just having another crop to grow. One of the most intriguing things about this plant is its ability to revitalize soil. That means that hemp doesn’t just take nutrients out of the soil to facilitate its growth, it replenishes soil with nutrients.
In the late 1990s industrial hemp was tested at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to see if it would be capable of healing the soil. Because of its fast rate of growth, up to 250-400 plants per square meter each up to 15 feet tall, hemp shows amazing potential in cleaning up land contaminated with fly ash, sewage, and other heavy metals. Now that Florida has made it legal to grow hemp, hope is it could clean Florida’s water supply and bring back Florida’s citrus industry. Florida’s own campaign called Hemp 4 Water is one of hemp’s greatest revitalization campaigns around.