The hemp plant, scientifically known as Cannabis sativa L, has a very long and rich relationship with mankind. This cannabis/human relationship has been in existence for at least 3,000 years. During this time, hemp held the title of being the earth’s most abundant crop. Before we begin discussing hemp, it is important to point out that the name hemp refers to any plants within the cannabis species. However, in today’s culture, the term hemp typically refers to industrial hemp. This is a specific variety of cannabis that has been bred to contain such a low THC content that it is considered non-intoxicating.
Hemp uses have varied widely throughout its history. Its original use was most likely as a source of food; however, the hemp plant proved to be a very versatile crop and later utilized for fiber, fuel, medicine, and paper. In fact, one acre of hemp will yield four times as much pulp as one acre of trees! Despite all of the positive uses for the hemp plant, many parts of the modern world still associate the hemp plant with marijuana and its effects. It is important to remember that industrial hemp contains very low levels of THC (less than 0.3%).
The United States government once coveted hemp. In 1619 Jamestown, one of America’s first colonies, passed a hemp law making it mandatory to grow hemp. After several centuries of making use of cannabis for medicine, textile, clothing and more, hemp harvesting was in full swing. In 1938, a magazine article discussed a revolutionary new way to utilize hemp fiber. The article touts the virtues of hemp and explains that the hemp fiber could be used to create over 5,000 textile products and that the remains could be put towards 25,000 other additional items. In 1941, even Henry Ford utilized hemp in the production of a vehicle whose body was made out of several common agricultural plants. So, when asking “What is hemp used for?” the list of products is so long that this article barely scratches the surface!
In modern times, hemp uses have been widely expanded upon. Just for starters, hemp can be used as a source for biomass fuel. A biomass fuel is a fuel that is made in a sustainable way and that consists only of natural components. It is speculated that hemp is such a rich source for this fuel that it could “provide all of our gas, oil, and coal energy needs and end dependency on fossil fuels.” If the idea of Henry Ford making cars out of crops entertained you, you will be even more impressed by today’s reality. In 2016, a man from Key West proudly displayed his modern Mazda “replica” made mostly out of cannabis hemp. Imagine a vehicle made out of sustainable material that runs on sustainable material! All this and more can be possible through the cultivation of hemp.
Industrial Hemp Uses
After the better part of a century, the United States is finally rejoining the rest of the world in the cultivation of hemp. Although hemp products have been available for purchase in the United States all this time, we have been importing the products instead of producing our own and exporting to other countries for our profit. Due to the new classification of “industrial hemp” and the 2014 National Farm Bill, individual states are now allowed to cultivate this vital plant.
The 2014 Farm Bill defined industrial hemp as any variant of the Cannabis sativa L. species that contains Non-Detectable THC. THC is the intoxicating compound found in all cannabis plants. While it is useful in many ways, the THC compound is notorious for being the inebriating aspect of cannabis hemp. The Farm Bill also allows for the growing of this plant across the country.
In many instances, industrial hemp is also grown as a valuable source for phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are a classification for a specific set of compounds found in plants. Nearly all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids that have been discovered occur within the cannabis plant, but there are exceptions. One such exception is BCP which is found in black pepper. THC and CBD are perhaps the most widely known cannabinoids, but to date over 100 of them have been discovered. Each of them has their own unique molecular shape and along with it a unique set of properties. As both medicinal and non-medical vendors around the country are providing cannabinoid products for their customers, this new modern application of industrial hemp is becoming a thriving business.
Industrial hemp is grown for food, paper, building materials, fuel and so much more. Hemp can be used as a cheap and efficient replacement for many of our traditional materials used in producing products that we use daily. In addition, the products produced with hemp are sustainable. Green Roads plays an active role in the cultivation of the hemp market in the U.S. They utilize hemp that has been grown within the United States in an effort to bring the benefits of this plant to our home soil. CBD products may not only be a wonderful addition to your daily routine, but they allow you to help support a green way of life around the world!