There are plenty of misconceptions about hemp because of its close relation to marijuana, another form of cannabis. However, this plant has been used in many industrial applications throughout the course of history. These applications include the manufacture of rope, clothing, lantern oil, boat sails, paper, and much more.
Hemp is not only a highly-sustainable resource, but it has the potential to alleviate many of the pollution issues and environmental degradation plaguing our planet. Industrial hemp fiber is a proven alternative to things such as wood pulp and petroleum plastics. Here’s a closer look at the plant, misconceptions about it, and its uses.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
While both are a form of cannabis, there are important differences between hemp and marijuana. Marijuana is the female plant which produces THC, the chemical that causes a change in one’s state of mind. Hemp, the male form of the plant, contains a very small amount of THC. This male plant gets its name because it is the type of cannabis grown for industrial hemp fiber. Many countries that allow the production of this fiber have strict laws specifying that only strains of the plant with less than one percent THC can be used.
Why hemp is sustainable
Hemp is an extremely adaptive plant, which can grow in poor quality soils and can be grown in high altitude areas. These plants also grow very fast and are usually ready for harvest within three to five months of planting. Studies have shown that for every acre planted, there is a yield of five tons of fibrous material and product. This plant requires no pesticides or herbicides because there are very few insects that target it. Moreover, this plant’s thick growth prevents weeds from growing near it.
Industrial hemp as an alternative to plastic
There is no denying the negative impact that petroleum plastics can have on the environment. Industrial hemp provides an ideal alternative to plastics because it can create fully biodegradable, chemical-free, and strong plastic using cellulose from the plant.
Industrial hemp and medicinal benefits
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil taken from hemp has been shown in many studies to have positive effects on people suffering from a wide range of serious ailments. These serious ailments include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, cancer pain, and more. The Whole Hemp Company of Colorado Springs produces the highest-quality CBD-rich hemp oil in the world, and can remove 99.9% of any THC found in the oil. There are also a variety of products that can be created by CBD oil, including vape oil, salve, topicals and tinctures.
Industrial hemp as an alternative to tree pulp
Unfortunately, we live in a world where forests can no longer sustain an expanding population and increased demand for wood products. Moreover, trees have the important task of providing fresh oxygen because they remove CO2 from the air. A sustainable alternative to wood pulp is long overdue, and industrial hemp fiber is just such an alternative. This plant can be used for paper products as well as particle and press board. Hemp paper has also been proven to be more durable than traditional paper.
Industrial hemp and the construction industry
Industrial hemp has started to become more important in the construction industry. One company in the United Kingdom has developed a concrete-like substance made from industrial hemp fiber and a lime binder. This mixture is sprayed onto the wooden frames of building, creating airtight walls. This process creates homes with a stable internal environment while greatly reducing energy usage and costs.
Some other uses of industrial hemp
Industrial hemp provides a variety of other uses, from a safe alternative to fiberglass in surfboards, to a quality food grade oil containing essential fatty acids. This plant’s seed oil can also be used for paints and varnishes, and it can be used to create a quality motor oil. However, these are just several among thousands of uses of industrial hemp that can have a significant positive impact on the environment and the economy.
La Junta Economic Development (LJED) supports businesses that are expanding or relocating to the greater Southeastern Colorado area. This community especially offers growth in the industrial hemp area. To learn more about the region and how La Junta Economic Development can assist your business expansion or relocation, contact us today. Give us a call at (719) 384-6965 or Contact Us via email.