The industrial hemp plant is beautiful and so versatile. There’s a lot of confusion around hemp, cannabis, the uses of these plants, hemp offset, and the hemp plant’s potential impact on climate change. So we’ve put this handy guide together for you. Enjoy and share!
What is hemp?
Hemp is a plant that has been cultivated by humans for over 10,000 years for its useful fibre (think paper, fabric, rope, sails); and also for its oils, which can be used for food and in moisturisers; and for its CBD, which is undergoing multiple clinical trials on its medical potential; and for its conversion to fuel by fermentation (think ethanol). You can also make hemp beer by fermentation, it’s up to you. Hemp can even be used to make sustainable plastic. In 1941, Henry Ford unveiled a car made almost entirely of hemp, which ran on hemp fuel. Hemp can claim to be the most versatile and useful plant in the world. There’s even hempcrete, a much more sustainable building material.
What does the hemp plant look like?
It’s very green, tall and bushy, very fast-growing, with elegant leaves you’ve probably seen on a million pop culture designs. Wikipedia answers it best, and with a picture (above): Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for industrial use. It can be used to make a wide range of products. Along with bamboo, hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth. It was also one of the first plants to be spun into usable fibre 50,000 years ago (we’re claiming 10,000 years ago). It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, rope, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
How can hemp help stop climate change?
Hemp is a fast-growing, highly fibrous plant. This means that hemp absorbs lots of CO2, carbon dioxide, from the air as it grows. Different varieties of hemp will absorb different amounts of CO2. Varieties grown for seed will sequester around 6 tons of CO2 per acre in a single growing season. High fibre varieties will sequester around 10 tons of CO2 per acre in a single growing season. In hot countries, three crops per year are possible. When you consider that forestry can take up to 30-40 years to show net carbon benefit, we believe that hemp literally has the power to save the world.
Wikipedia on hemp: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp
Image credit: A hemp field in Brittany, France (Europe’s largest hemp producer) – Wikipedia commons.
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