Growing Industrial Hemp
Cannabis sativa, better known as industrial hemp, originates from the same plant family as the illicit drug marijuana. However, despite the fact that both industrial hemp and marijuana are from the same plant family, the argument that they are one-in-the-same could not be farther from the truth. Instead, for many years hemp has been recognized as the miracle plant with hundreds of uses and is quickly making its way back to the forefront in multiple industries.
Because many of the foods on the market now-a-days are processed, man-made and dominated by carbohydrates, the poor protein intake of the general population is of growing concern. Due to the fact that protein is the body's most important and vital macro-nutrient for healthy living, this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately in order to fight the increasing health concerns and obesity epidemic worldwide.
Most may never have heard about the hemp seed, let alone its amazing nutritional benefits. However, what is astonishing is that from no other natural source on earth can a more complete source of protein be found. The hemp seed contains up to 36% protein, and has within it all of the 20 known amino acids - 8 of which are essential and 2 that the human body cannot produce by itself. Of the 36% protein found within the hemp seed, 65% of it is made up of Edestin. Edestin is a protein that is similar to that found within human blood and is completely exclusive to the hemp seed. Because of this, the protein within the hemp seed is seen as being the most recognizable source of protein available for the human body and therefore the most beneficial for our health.
Recent research is stating that Edestin is now becoming recognized as the backbone of cellular DNA, due to its similarity to that of the protein found in the human bloodstream. If this research continues in the direction that it is currently heading, hemp seeds will soon be a central component to the studies of anti-aging and other nutritional studies within the health industry. The other third of the protein found within the hemp seed is Albumin, another commonly studied protein that closely resembles that of the protein found within egg whites.
Hemp seeds can also be pressed into edible oil. Similar to the hemp seed itself, the benefits of hemp oil are quickly becoming recognized as nutritional breakthroughs for human health. Hemp oil may be nature's most perfectly balanced source of oil, containing the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 (linolenic acid) to Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) essential oils that are vital for joint lubrication, brain development and metabolic support.
Hemp foods contain beneficial nutrients, like essential for our body fatty acids.
Hemp oils have a number of industrial applications like industrial lubricants, biofuels, and soaps. We do not see any logical reason to ban industrial hemp. Still, governments continue their attempts to prevent us from using this valuable crop. Drug war rage is falsely used to avoid establishing a good policy to distinguish between marijuana, which has psychotropic properties, and hemp, which does not. It brought us to a situation, when our society is prevented from using environmentally friendly alternatives, saving money on higher quality, cheaper and more durable products.
Hemp is a tall, coarse plant; it is native to Asia and has been naturalized and cultivated in many parts of the world. It is also often called "Indian hemp" or Marijuana. Hemp has many qualities like it is a great source of a valuable fiber as well as well-known drugs such as marijuana and hashish.
Hemp is not the same as marijuana. Although these plants are very closely related, the nowadays term "hemp" refers to the variety of the plant that does not contain high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the psychoactive element in marijuana. It is also often called "industrial hemp."
Industrial hemp is a versatile crop, which can be used for many practical applications. Various hemp products present environmentally friendly alternatives for a many applications. For example hemp fibers can be (and were in the past) used to make very strong ropes, clothing, and paper. Hemp clothing is four times warmer than cotton, three times more water absorbent, has three times the tensile strength of cotton, many times more durable and is flame retardant.
The fiber is the most important component of the plant. It is also known as "bast" - fibers that grow on the outside of the plant's stalk interior, and under the bark. It gives the plant strength. Hemp fibers can very long - up to 4.6 meters, across the length of the plant. Hemp may naturally be creamy white, brown, gray, black or green depending on the removing the fiber from the stem processes. Hemp was a popular fiber because it is strong and can grow very fast. It produces about 10% more fiber than cotton or flax.
Industrial hemp is one such alternative. Below is a closer look at how Industrial Hemp will change the face of the environment and economy forever:
Paper and fiber
- Compared to the average tree plantation, a crop of hemp the same size will yield four times the raw fiber for production.
- The time it takes for a hemp crop to mature and be cultivated is between three and four months. It can take a plantation of trees up to 20 years to mature adequately for cultivation.
- Tree paper can only be recycled a maximum of four times. Hemp paper can be reused up to seven times.
- Hemp paper is organic, containing no unnatural chemicals.
- Hemp crops are resilient. They require no harmful pesticides to ward off weeds, because they outgrow them.
- One acre or ten tons of hemp plantations can yield the equivalent of one thousand gallons of methanol, one of the primary sources of automobile fuel.
- Ethanol, a natural, plant-sourced fuel, is currently used in conjunction with regular petroleum to power our cars at levels of 10%. However, some cars are already capable of using 85% ethanol fuel, which is also found in many rocket fuels.
- Diesel fuel is actually much more environmentally friendly than regular petroleum and gasoline. Ethanol and methanol are both easy to naturally source, are renewable and environmentally safe, and are being implemented for as bio-diesel fuels in the coming years.
- Hemp can be combined with diesel fuel to create a more renewable and environmentally safe fuel source. However, hemp itself can also be produced into a fuel on its own.
- Hemp as a biodiesel fuel emits only 20% of the harmful carbon dioxide of regular fuel and almost no Sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.
- As a result, emissions from hemp fuel will have an insignificant impact on carbon output and climate change.
- The burning of hemp fuel does not contribute to any form of acid rain.
- Hemp is just as biodegradable as common sugar, and contains the toxicity of ten times its weight in salt, rendering it harmless.
What benefits will Hemp hold for our economy:
- Hemp was once considered the backbone of the US economy. As one of the most economically and environmentally viable resources in Australia (exemplified by its use in over 30,000 consumer products), its introduction into mainstream production could have a similar effect on the Australian economy. Thousands of job opportunities could be created through greater investment in the hemp industry. Recent layoffs within companies such as Blue Scope Steel could be offset by the jobs created by planting, cultivating and processing industrial hemp.
- Hemp could be used extensively to produce flour, oils, and other food sources. Therefore, thanks to its nutritional value and versatility, the jobs created in the food industry would be similar to that of the ones created in the Industrial workforce.
- Finally, the introduction of more biodiesel fuel incorporating hemp would bolster the local economy and remove the large dependence the US has on foreign fuel sources.
EcoFiber is Australia's leading company behind promoting the future of hemp in this country and across the globe. Along with many other companies such as Hemcore in the United Kingdom and Woven Earth in the US, EcoFiber stress the economic and environmental benefits that hemp can provide, whilst aiming to raise awareness and dismiss harmful misconceptions.
About Woven-Earth: Woven Earth is a company dedicated to looking back to move forward. We take environmentally friendly ideas that have been used for centuries and introduce a modern take. The result is a product that performs just as well, or better, than equivalents. We produce biodegradable landscape and erosion control products made with natural materials, with little to no carbon emissions. Our current portfolio includes a convenient mulch mat, which can also be used for erosion control, and biodegradable anchor stakes (also known as pins). The stakes can also be used to anchor other types of erosion control blanket, sod, or weed block.