Written for www.GreenPeaceCorps.org
In recent times there has been a huge public discussion to bring back hemp as a viable cash crop and a major proponent in sustainable living. The agricultural and construction industries alone will benefit immensely by using hemp as an ecological solution to many applications while having the ability to bring in billions of dollars each year to our local and national economy.
So why use hemp rather than any other plant or resource?
It has been said that there are at least 50,000 uses and applications for hemp. Everything besides metal and glass can be made with and replaced by hemp. There is no other plant or resource on the planet that can do all of this. Hemp stands alone!
Here is some more information about hemp that I would like to share with you!
History of Hemp
Medicinal Hemp (Foods & Health)
Hemp Fuel & Energy Sources (super Capacitors)
Hemp Cars (Henry Ford's original hemp car)
Hemp Homes and EMF Reduction
Hemp vs Trees (for paper production and CO2 emission reduction)
Hemp Plastics as a renewable resource
Hemp as an ultimate cash crop
What Is Hemp?
Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 50,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, textiles, homes, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, animal feed, and so much more.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content.
(Info from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp)
(Check out this video What Can Hemp Make)
A brief History on Hemp.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years by many civilizations. It has been found in Ancient Egyptian burial tombs. Seeds and Stems have been found buried with mummies. Even the wraps used in the mummification process were made from hemp. It is said that ancient Chinese civilization were the first to use hemp and actually created clothing from hemp by first utilizing hemp rope and weaving it into nets for fishing. Eventually rope became twine and their net weaving became more tighter resulting in a burlap sort of material that eventually evolved into fabric for clothing. It has also been said that the Roman aqueducts were found to have been built from hemp cement which still stand today after thousands of years. The original bibles and many other ancient texts were printed on hemp. Even the Declaration Of Independence was printed on hemp as well as the original American Flags were all made from hemp. Hemp foods have been made from hemp seed for millenniums due to it's amazing health benefits because of it's protein content and Essential Fatty Acids such as Omega-3s, Omega-6s and Omega-9s. In recent years it has been discovered that the human body contains an endocannabinoid system which helps to regulate and optimize health. Ancient civilizations to modern civilization have all relied on hemp as a way of life and vitality until the discovery of rubber and oil, lab created medicines, plastics, and polymers, and few other man made technologies. In 1937 the hemp plant was demonized and made illegal by the US in order to remove it as a competitor in the Industrial Revolution.
(Enjoy this brief video here posted by UnCanny Wealness)
The following information about the USDA Hemp Production Program and USDA NIFA industrial hemp research is being provided since the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law and implementation of 2018 Farm Bill provisions by USDA.
USDA HEMP PRODUCTION PROGRAM
With the 2018 Farm Bill signed into law, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has been designated as the lead USDA agency to administer the new USDA Hemp Production Program. AMS issued an interim final rule on October 31, 2019, to implement the 2018 Farm Bill provisions. Currently, all rules and restrictions must be followed as per Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA cannot help with interpretation and implementation of the laws related to your state permitting and interstate commerce. For those questions, please seek advice from your legal counsel or state.
The AMS has posted information on their website regarding the 2018 Farm Bill hemp program at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp.
If you have additional needs regarding the Hemp Production Program, please send questions or requests for information to: email@example.com
INDUSTRIAL HEMP RESEARCH
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) handles the extramural research aspects of industrial hemp. Researchers should continue following the guidance received regarding Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill.
Researchers should seek their own legal counsel and guidance from their state regulatory agency regarding what is allowable for conducting research in their respective state. The USDA cannot provide advice regarding state specific policies.
FREQUENTLY ASKED RESEARCH QUESTIONS
NIFA Industrial Hemp Frequently Asked Questions resource page is now available.
(Here is a very descriptive video on USDA Hemp Regulations.)
(Introduction to hempcrete, hemp oil, hemp wood and more)
Medicinal Hemp (Foods & Health)
Hemp is a vital and viable food source for both humans and animals. It has been used for thousands of years as a beneficial food source to sustain life on this planet. The hemp seed is used for consumption because it contains 30% protein per content. It also provides a perfect mix of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) for human consumption. The leaves can also be used for their CBD content for many health benefits. The leaves can be eaten raw, juiced, extracted in oils or alcohol, or dried and smoked.
Many people have turned to natural medicines and remedies these days, and many of those products are made from hemp/CBD.
(Enjoy this video on hemp for food)
(Hemp Extract vs CBD)
Hemp fabric history: how and when was the first clothing made?
by timeshempcompany | Jan 17, 2017 | History of Hemp, Updates
Cannabis sativa is the scientific name of hemp – a plant, that has been growing on the planet for thousands of years and became one of the first materials, used by humans. It is very common in the northern hemisphere and is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth! Nowadays cannabis is known as a drug, banned in several countries, but it hasn’t always been like this.
We decided to tell the story of the hemp fabric and dedicate a series of articles to hemp fabric facts, since it’s the main material for all our organic apparel and toys.
When and where did it start?
The hemp fabric history started long ago – about 10,000 years ago and has developed a lot ever since. Archeologists found remnants of hemp cloth in Iraq, that had been spun around 8,000 BC. The Europeans had learned about this material in 1,200 BC and the knowledge spead around the continent extremely fast. The Chinese knew about the hemp material benefits too: around 2700 BC the legendary Chinese emperor Shen Nung taught his citizens to cultivate Cannabis sativa and to weave clothing out of it. The country is now considered to have the longest history of hemp cultivation – around 6000 years! Thanks to it they managed to produce the first sheet of paper in 150 BC, which was made completely from hemp fiber. This is how hemp gave impetus to the whole history of human civilization!
What is hemp fabric and how was it made?
100% hemp fabric has never been widely popular until new industrial ways to soften it were invented in the 1980’s. Nevertheless it is believed to be the first fiber used for human clothing – and one of the strongest ones too (it is 62% more durable than cotton).
Traditional processing includes water-retting, then fiber is separated from the core (whish is not used in fabric production) by hand and with the use of special crushing and brush rollers. Afterwards the fiber is spun and woven into a piece of organic cloth.
Throughout history uses for hemp were numerous:
Sail canvas and ropes;
Food (oil and seeds);
Its coarseness though was a big problem, so hemp apparel remained a poor man’s choice for hundreds of years. Hemp needed to be softened, but a traditional method, which involved acids in order to remove lignin (organic glue, which makes fibers rigid), did not work well, since it weakened hemp fibers and reduced their durability.
(More Videos on Hemp fabric and Clothing)
Hemp Fuel/Energy Sources
Hemp is the perfect renewable fuel and energy resource for our future sustainability. It is time to step away from pollution and prehistoric fossil fuels and move into the future with hemp as a green renewable energy resource and technology.
Hemp Energy: Sounds like a joke, but it’s not!
BY ALICE TRUONG
Among the many uses of hemp: food, textiles, paper and even fuel.
We’re still a ways from a hemp-powered car, but industrial hemp has made a number of headlines in past years, especially as an alternative energy source, as people have begun to take a closer look at the low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of Cannabis sativa. Universities have studied the plant, politicians have explored the subject and at least one government has dived head on.
First, a bit of background on hemp and its biofuel qualities. In a blog post for The Guardian about alternative fuels, Giulio Sica explains the qualities that make hemp a good energy source:
[Hemp] has been successfully used for many years to create bioethanol and biodiesel, is environmentally friendlier to produce than sugar beet, palm oil, corn or any of the crops mentioned in the report and can grow in practically any temperate to hot climate leaving the ground in better condition than when it was planted.
Growing hemp is easier than many other plants. The plant is efficient, bred to improve quality, yield, stress tolerance and decreased cost per ton. Furthermore, hemp grows quickly while also requiring less energy and fertilizer, and doesn’t require chemicals after planting. It can even help the farm by breaking the disease cycle of other crops. Sica considers it "a perfect crop to offset the carbon currently produced by fossil fuels."
Cannabis seeds, often discarded, contain the plant’s oils that can be turned into fuel. At the University of Connecticut, researchers found industrial hemp to contain viable qualities for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel produced by graduate students at the school had a 97 percent conversion efficiency. It will be interesting to see the university’s role in this alternative fuel source, since it owns a patent on a biodiesel reactor system that can make fuel out of various inputs, including hemp.
Why aren’t we driving hemp-powered cars then? Well, sounds like they’re at least working on it. Sica explains:
"As far as research and implementation of hemp for biofuel, the US is way ahead of Europe and there are a range of websites dedicated to the use of hemp as a fuel for cars."
(Hemp fuel could've made America Energy Independent by Now)
(Hemp as a Bio-Fuel)
In the last couple decades or so several automobile manufacturers have been testing out the hemp market once again. Henry Ford originally created his vehicles to run on hemp fuel and even created an entire fiberglass like body completely made from a hemp resin composite which could withstand the impact of a sledgehammer. A few years later hemp was made illegal and the oil industry became the main source of fuel sadly leaving hemp vehicles a thing of the past.
Check out what www.hempbenefits.org has to say about hemp cars for the future.
Hemp Cars Are The Future
People are starting to realize that hemp cars are going to be a wave of the future. It may be hard to imagine a car manufactured from grass, as it may seem to lack the sturdy component needed for a functional car. However, scientists claim that cars made from plants are actually an upcoming trend. Researchers in England and Australia are working towards developing materials made from plants such as elephant grass and hemp that are to replace different car components made from metal and plastic. According to these scientists, the plant-based car materials are not only biodegradable, but can also enhance fuel efficiency, as they weigh nearly 30% less than the materials that are currently used in making car components. A lighter car generally needs less fuel to drive it.
Industrial hemp for car construction
Building car components including the outer shell using hemp could lower the ever increasing number of rusting car body parts from old lots. Hemp fibers are thoroughly cleaned then heated and sometimes blended with a few biodegradable plastic to increase their overall strength. They are then molded to form hardened filling and paneling. Hemp is also considered to be significantly cheaper to produce when compared to the manufacture of other materials such as steel.
Henry Ford’s Hemp Car
In the 1910s, Henry Ford tried experimenting with using agricultural products in the manufacture of his automobiles. In 1941, he came up with a solution and built a car that contained cellulose fibers derived from hemp, sisal, and wheat straw. The plastic was said to be lighter than steel and 10 times stronger than steel! Watch the video as Ford demonstrated its strength by attacking it with an axe.
Later that same year, the plastic car had been scrapped. The reason for this is not entirely certain, but sources say that it was because car manufacturing had stopped during WWII, and all energy was diverted to war recovery efforts.
Kerstel Car by Motive
Motives Industries Inc., a Canadian company, is planning to unveil an electric, bio-composite car known as Kestrel that is made from hemp as well as other synthetic and natural fibers. Kestrel will be the first ever hemp electric car. According to Nathan Armstrong, the company’s president, the car is expected to roll out in late 2012 or 2013. Impact-resistant mats made from hemp have been used to construct the car’s body. The compact hybrid car will comfortably accommodate a driver and three passengers. Its top speed will be 90 kilometers per hour. Depending on the type of battery, the car will be able to handle a range of 40 kilometers to 160 kilometers before requiring a recharge. Because of the different battery options, many people will be able to afford the car. Since it is illegal to plant hemp in the United States, Canada is expecting a big market advantage for the car.
Kestrel is expected to be warmer, quieter, and without any smell. According to Armstrong, the vibrations produced by natural fibers are quite pleasant. He also deems the car safer in the event of a crash, since it springs or bounces back rather than squishing or crumbling. However, Motive cannot confidently state the wear and tear effects of the car in the long run because of the novelty of the car’s technology. Nonetheless, their aim is to create a durable car that is also easy to repair.
Eco Elise, Lotus Hemp Car
Yup, we saved the best one for last. In 2008, Lotus announced its eco-friendly car made out of hemp. The Eco Elise weighs 32 kg (70.5 lbs) less than the standard Elise S, which means it will give higher fuel economy figures and better performance. The green materials used for the car have been carefully studied to ensure that each technology used reduces the environmental impact of the vehicle.
Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc commented “This Eco Elise is a great example of the advanced and affordable green technologies Lotus is developing. We are at the cutting edge of environmental technology and are determined to push forward with our green agenda. The Lotus brand values of lightweight, fuel efficient, and high performance are more relevant today than they ever have been. We are keen to ensure that Lotus as a company and its products offer an ethical, green option that appeals to our customers.”
Today’s green car focuses on how little gas they consume, but the Lotus goes much further than this. Even the company’s main plant has been overhauled in the name of efficiency and eco-friendliness, with vast reductions in water (11%), electricity (14%), and gas (30%) usage — and nearly 60% of all the waste from their manufacturing processes is now recycled.
(Amazing Hemp Car- Cost & Durability)
Hemp Homes and EMF Reduction
Hemp can be used to build homes!
The hemp hurds, which comprises of about 75% of the hemp plant, can be used for many applications from animal bedding to paper and cardboard making and even for hemp homes. The hurds are combined with an equal amount of lime and an equal amount of water and mixed well to create hemp cement or hempcrete.
In 1997 I learned of a woman from France, named Madame Pierre Paris, who started building homes from hemp cement which she called Isochanvre'. She claimed the Roman aqueducts were built from this same recipe which has given them their indestructible quality as they have been standing for thousands of years.
The hurds (cellulose and silica) combined with lime (calcium hydroxide) create a calcification or mineralization effect which actually hardens and fossilizes over time. The water simply acts as a mixing and binding agent which eventually evaporates from the mixture as it sets up and hardens into hemp cement or hempcrete which results in an extremely lighter yet durable building material.
Here are a 8 reasons why building with hempcrete makes sense:
Carbon Neutral or Negative – Providing you source your materials locally, hempcrete is a carbon negative building material. Even with hemp and lime outsourced from overseas, a hempcrete home still produces a carbon neutral footprint.
Renewable Resource – Hemp is a renewable resource that takes about 4 months to grow, as opposed to decades for traditional lumber.
Uses Less Timber – Even though hempcrete homes are typically wood framed, they offer about 28% savings in the amount of wood used to frame traditional homes.
Energy Efficient -- Super insulating, energy efficient hempcrete reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the need for mechanical heating and cooling.
Easy to Work With -- Hempcrete is easy to mix and aside from an optional concrete mixer, needs no special equipment. It's a forgiving material that makes fixing mistakes quick and easy. It is also 7 times lighter than conventional cement.
Non-Combustible – Hempcrete is non-combustible, meaning even in areas prone to fire, the house and its contents will survive and not add to diminished air quality. Hempcete homes will usually pay far less for fire insurance as well.
Insect repellent – Your hempcrete home will never need toxic termite treatments as insects can’t penetrate it.
Long Lasting – Once built, a hempcrete home will last for generations, that’s because over time the hempcrete becomes petrified, turning your home into a fortress as strong as a rock.
EMF Radiation Reduction
Hempcrete has also been found to drastically reduce the exposure and harm from EMF waves (Electromagnetic Frequency waves). EMF waves have been deemed and classified as a carcinogen due to the harmful microwave radiation that it emits. Soon 5g towers will be in every city around the world in high quantities despite this knowledge of it's harmful effects. Building homes with hemp would drastically reduce our exposure to these harmful waves and keep us safe from this sort of radiation pollution while we are in our homes.
As you can see in the 2nd video below, from inside the hemp home, the radiation waves are reduced from 1300-1500 units all the way down to 5-10 units. The gentleman in the video explains that a safe level is considered to be 100 units and an ideal level would be 30 units.
Hemp homes will become part of our future!
(First Hemp Home Built in the US)
(EMF Radiation Reduction)
Hemp vs. Trees
Hemp would be the best solution to deforestation. Hemp grows much faster than trees and reaches maturity from seed in just 4 months. 1 acre of hemp replaces the output of 4 acres of trees. Hemp also takes in 4 times the amount of co2 than trees do which would provide more oxygen for our planet. Hemp also has longer fibers than trees making it much stronger and longer lasting than trees for paper or even for lumber and cement.
Simply said, hemp is a much better and sustainable renewable resource compared to trees.
Hemp is by far the best!
(Hemp vs Trees)
Hemp Plastics As a Renewable Resource
Hemp Plastic by Hemp.com
Henry Ford used hemp-and-sisal cellulose plastic to build car doors and fenders in 1941. On video Henry Ford demonstrated that his hemp cars were more resistant to blows from a sledgehammer than steel-bodied cars were.
The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellulose), it only makes sense to make non-toxic, biodegradable plastic from hemp and other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse. Hemp hurds can also be processed into cellophane packing material, which was common until the 1930s, or they may be manufactured into a low-cost, compostable replacement for Styrofoam.
A recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injection or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.
Zellform (Austrian) has created a hemp-plastic resin called Hempstone, for use in musical instruments, loudspeakers, and furniture. Hempstone can be carved in almost any shape making the number of applications unlimited.
Hemp is already being made into compressed door panel and dashboards. Carmakers such as Ford, GM, Chrysler, Saturn, BMW, Honda, and Mercedes are currently using hemp composite door panels, trunks, head liners, etc.
These hemp composites are less expensive than dangerous fiberglass counterparts. Hemp fiberglass replacements would only cost 50 to 70 cents a pound. These hemp composites could replace carbon and glass fibers, which have environmental and weight problems, and run from 60 cents to 5 dollars a pound.
The reason why virtually all European car makers are switching to hemp based door panels, columns, seat backs, boot linings, floor consoles, instrument panels, and other external components is because the organic hemp based products are lighter, safer in accidents, recyclable, and more durable.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and bio-composites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fulfilled by bio-composite plastics. Hemp plastics are already on the rise, it is only a matter of time before we will see the need to grow hemp in the United States to meet our demands.
(Hemp Plastic Is superior)
Hemp As an Ultimate Cash Crop
Before hemp was made legal once again here in the US in some states, hemp was already a multi-billion dollar industry. Even though the US has had to import most if not all of it's hemp products and suppliesit has brought in billions to our economy. Now that a few states are starting to grow and produce with hemp once again within the US, we should see a drastic price drop as well as many new and advanced technologies coming from the hemp industry.
Now is the time to start growing or investing in hemp!
(Hemp Stocks for 2020)