What is Hemp Used For? [And is it Legal?]

Hemp has been a hot topic in the news as of late. Many people are ready to just push it aside because of it’s relative plants, but with global warming becoming a widely known fact and household term, and with countries around the world to work to decrease their carbon footprints, it is vitally important to search for environmentally safe options. 

Research and development of such products are necessary in order to decrease the amount of pollution we output every year. Things like paper and cotton, which require large amounts of toxins and processing, therefore resulting in high levels of both pollution and deforestation, could potentially be replaced by hemp.

 

You want to replace paper with weed!?

Not exactly or at all, really. Hemp and marijuana are grown for very different purposes. Marijuana is generally grown with high levels of THC, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana. But hemp is grown with little to no THC (less than 1%, but mostly less than 0.3% as this is where the federal law states hemp needs to be to be legally sold). Hemp is grown differently than marijuana, and more of the plant is utilized for its different properties.

Hemp has amazing fibers, which could be used to make things like clothing and paper. Those fibers can block harmful UV rays more efficiently than cotton, and hemp is strong, too! 

Those awesome fibers also happen to be very long, and can not only be recycled multiple times, but hemp can produce about four times the amount of valuable fibers as an average forest! So we can keep more of those trees up to help cycle out the air. Hemp is also incredibly durable and can be grown in different conditions throughout the world, and it can be done with fewer herbicides because hemp has a greater natural protection against pests than many other crops.

Is anyone actually trying to use hemp, or are you just really optimistic?

Many inspirational people have tried to use hemp because of how great it is. The car industry has been looking into it for years now. Michigan’s very own Henry Ford wanted to use hemp plastic to make his vehicles. Even today, BMW is testing out a similar process to make their beautiful cars more recyclable, thus helping reduce the massive amount of trash pile up from vehicles. Even Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the Diesel engine, had originally devised his engines to run using hemp oil.

But can it be used for anything outside of the industrial world?

Absolutely! Hemp can also be used to make milk, nut butter, protein powder, oil, yogurt, tofu, etc. The consumption of said products will not result in a high, but they have fantastically high levels of omega-3s, omega-6s, fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin B, antioxidants, etc.

Is it legal for me to buy or use it?

Yes! Everyone in the U.S. can obtain hemp products if they’re derived from industrial hemp and contain less than .3% THC. No medical card needed. See more on hemp’s legal status

Ways to Utilize the Hemp Plant [Besides Smoking It]

Do your body good

Add hemp seeds to your granola, parfait, salad, or smoothie and you’ve got a killer dose of essential amino acids, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are also high in magnesium. Three tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds give you 10 grams of protein, 14g fat (mostly coming from omega-3 and omega-6 fats) and 2g fiber.

Hemp powder protein is a great supplement for smoothies. If you do not eat very much or any animal protein, hemp protein is a valuable ally to you.

 

Here’s a great idea for a smoothie:

¼ cup hemp protein powder
1 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
½ cup blueberries
2 to 3 ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

Build a house

Hempcrete, a concrete-like material made from hemp mixed with limestone, can be used as a super-strong building material that doubles as an air purifier. Hemp is known for its ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), it breathes in four times the amount trees do during its quick 12-14 week growing cycle.

As the plant-based material cures, it draws carbon dioxide out of the air, effectively making it cleaner to breathe. It truly boggles my mind we aren’t all living in hemp houses already, considering Hempcreteis fire resistant and naturally regulates a structure’s humidity levels. Hemp itself is a beneficial crop requiring no fertilizer, weed killer, pesticide or fungicide. It grows so thickly that weeds cannot grow. Farmers grow it in rotation with other crops such as barley or rye. The crop following the hemp requires no weed killer because the hemp has driven weeds out.

Drink from it

Hemp-based plastics are the ultimate alternative to regular water bottles. Hemp plastics degrade much faster because they’re plant-based, but they’re also stronger than corn- and soy-based plastics. When made with biodegradable polymer hemp plastic is fully biodegradable and recyclable. Here lies the great potential for this material. Normally we think of recycling as a reuse or reshaping of mechanical parts, though if we were to use more biodegradable materials we could introduce a whole new cycle that would be much more environmentally friendly. Producing hemp plastic requires 22-45% less energy than fossil fuel-based plastics.

Wear it

Unlike most fabrics that deteriorate with each spin cycle, hemp fabric actually gets softerevery time you wash it. Acre for acre, you can produce much more hemp than cotton, making it the material to beat when it comes to fabric. In some cases, clothing made of hemp can last up to six times as long as other materials, this is because hemp fibers have a natural resistance to mold and mildew, which makes the material less prone to sources that degrade other materials more quickly. In addition, you can recycle used hemp clothes in paper production, which makes it much better for the environment.


 

 

References:

Haines, S. (2016, February 3). Hemp has properties worth protecting. In Daily Reporter. Retrieved fromhttp://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/local_story/Column-Hemp-has-properties-wor_1454544247

www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/ask-diet-doctor-hemp-seeds-hype
www.theshawnstevensonmodel.com/3-reasons-to-change-your-protein-powder/
www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/5-health-benefits-of-hemp-seed-oil/
www.americanlimetechnology.com/what-is-hempcrete/
www.lotusboards.com/hemp-plastic-can-change-world/
www.enlightenme.com/hemp-clothing/

 

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