The hemp plant is a variety of the cannabis plant. When the term industrial hemp is used, it’s referring to plants that are grown for industrial use. There’s a big difference between the hemp plant and the marijuana plant, which is also a member of the cannabis family. While the hemp plant naturally contains 0.3% or less of THC, the marijuana plant contains well over that amount. Therefore, while you cannot feel “high” from using hemp-based CBD products, you absolutely could feel a type of euphoria while using products derived from marijuana.
Interestingly, hemp has been grown and used since 2800 BC. Throughout the years, hemp farming spread to Mediterranean countries before finally reaching Europe at the time of the Middle Ages. There are thousands of applications for industrial hemp, although it’s primarily grown for its fibers and oils. In fact, hemp fibers are some of the most durable in the entire plant kingdom, so it’s no wonder that they’re used for ropes, twine, parachute webbing, ship rigging, and other types of cords.
How is Hemp Turned into Different Things?
In order to make anything from the hemp plant, its fibers first need to be soaked in water to soften them, but they can also be dried, crushed, and shaken in order to be separated from the plant’s woody portion. Hemp oil — which is completely different from CBD oil — is used to make paint, soaps, varnishes, and more. The seeds of the hemp plant are edible, nutritious, and rich in the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Some quick facts about hemp:
- According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, hemp is used to craft over 25,000 products
- In the United States, the hemp industry nets about $700 million a year
- Hemp can grow up to 15 feet high
- Hemp paper is more durable than the paper that’s made from trees
- Because hemp is a high-yield crop, it produces four times more paper-producing pulp than an acre of trees
- Hemp can be planted and harvested in as little as 120 days
- During World War II, over 100,000 acres of hemp were grown to be used in a film that encouraged farmers to grow hemp for military supplies
- Hemp seeds contains all 21 amino acids, thus making it a complete protein
What are 10 Things You Can Do With Hemp?
Hemp is an extremely multi-purpose plant that can be turned into a wealth of different products. There are so many incredible things that you can do with this versatile plant, so we’ve chosen to highlight the 10 most interesting ones.
1. Food Source
Hemp seeds contain 31% protein, Vitamin B1, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, iron, and copper. In addition to these, hemp also contains potassium, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and fiber. The body is able to absorb and use all of the vitamins and minerals that hemp seeds provide.
2. Building Materials
It’s a little known fact that Henry Ford once built a car body out of hemp that was so strong that it withstood ten times the impact of steel without sustaining any dents. Surprisingly, that car body was also much lighter. These days, hemp is used in building materials like insulation, concrete, fiberboard, and cement blocks.
3. Clothing and Textiles
Hemp can be used to make fashionable clothing that gets increasingly softer each time it’s washed. Because hemp is so plentiful, it outpaces cotton by producing three times the amount of textiles and clothing from a single acre. And just like cotton, clothing made from hemp can also keep you warmer in cooler temperatures and cooler in warmer temperatures. In fact, hemp clothing is four times warmer than cotton.
Hemp milk is great for people who have allergies to dairy milk or nut milks. It’s also easy to make on your own. All you have to do is simply soak ground up hemp seeds in water. What results is a delicious drink that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Some manufacturers are even creating hemp milk in chocolate and vanilla flavors.
When traditional paint dries, VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, diffuse into the air. Not only are these fumes harmful, these types of paints are not environmentally friendly. Sadly, even though there are laws restricting the use of VOC’s, some paints still have them. In using oil paint made from hemp, you won’t have to be concerned about inhaling dangerous fumes or harming the environment. Additionally, hemp-based paint dries quickly and has a very durable finish.
While hemp can be used as a flour, it’s much too heavy to be used for baking. You can, however, use hemp flour in a blend with other types of flours so that you can give your final product a nice boost of all the great things that hemp has to offer. Hemp seeds that are used in the making of hemp flour are packed with fiber, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and much more. Hemp flour is also a great substitute for those who’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or who struggle with gluten intolerance.
Lots of discussions are happening surrounding the use of hemp to make biofuels like bioethanol and biodiesel. Biofuel is simply fuel that’s made from plants. Fuel that’s made from hemp is a type of cellulosic ethanol, which means that the biofuel is crafted from the hemp plant’s fibrous stalks. In terms of overall sustainability, biofuels win out over traditional fuels. The reason for this is because the plants that are used in the making of biofuels can be grown and harvested quickly and at a rate that’s sustainable. To date, hemp is one of the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly types of biofuel crop.
8. Plastic, Paper, and Cardboard
One of the reasons hemp makes excellent plastic products is that it’s strong and can replace traditional oil-based plastics that are laden with harmful chemicals. Just like biofuels, hemp-based plastics fall into the category of bioplastics. Hemp plastics are completely biodegradable and can be composted without harming the environment.
In the case of paper and cardboard, it can take many years and decades for trees to grow. Conversely, it only takes hemp a few months to grow. This makes it an excellent source for making paper. Additionally, while wood fiber can only be recycled about three times maximum, hemp paper can be recycled up to an incredible seven times. When it comes to making a sustainable paper product, during the course of 20-years, an acre of hemp makes the same amount of paper as up to 10 acres of trees. Lastly, because hemp-paper is acid-free, it won’t turn yellow or brittle like paper made from tree pulp.
9. CBD Products
Because of the rising popularity of CBD, most consumers are already aware that CBD products like oils, creams, gummies, pet treats, and salves are made from the industrial hemp plant. Reputable and respected brands, like FAB CBD, use the industry preferred CO2 extraction process to obtain clean and potent extracts from the flowers, stalks, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant. And because the hemp plant naturally contains 0.3% or less THC, there’s no way to feel “high” from using hemp-derived CBD products. Moreover, hemp-based CBD products are legal across all 50 states thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. The biggest thing when looking for CBD products is to do your research so that you can be sure you’re buying high-quality products from a trusted and reputable brand.
10. Nail Polish
Hemp oil is fast becoming all the rage in the beauty industry. In fact, one of the latest innovations to enter into the beauty market is nail polish made from hemp. Sadly, a lot of traditional polishes are made with harmful chemicals. Hemp oil gives consumers a natural alternative that’s also capable of strengthening and repairing nails. Since hemp is chock-full of protein, fatty acids, and vitamin E, hemp-derived nail polishes are better able to help restore and maintain healthy nails than the traditional polish.
Closing Thoughts: Hemp’s Many Excellent Uses
The hemp plant is an amazingly multi-faceted plant that can be used to make a great number of different products. And what’s astounding is that there are more ways that hemp can be used than we’ve profiled in our post. One of the most common items, however, that hemp is used to make are CBD products like salves, creams, oils, gummies, soft gels, pet treats, and so much more. Because of its versatility, you’d be hard-pressed to find any other plant that holds the same amount of possibilities as the hemp plant. The hemp plant is sustainable, renewable, and an excellent alternative for things like plastic, paper, beauty supplies, building materials, fuel, food, and so much more. But one of the best things about hemp is that it has the potential to make positive changes in a world that’s striving to be more environmentally friendly.