The 2018 Farm Bill legalized states to set up their own industrial hemp plans. With the legalization of industrial hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC, that also opened the gates for the legal sale of CBD products derived from hemp plants.
And while CBD is the figurehead of the hemp movement, hemp has a tremendous amount more to offer than just that one molecule.
Today, we look at just some of the many and vast uses we’ve found for hemp throughout the centuries. Let’s dig in to see an alternate world where hemp is used to its fullest potential and we thrive because of it.
Food and Nutrition
It’s not surprising to see CBD or hemp-derived oil that can be ingested. Even hemp seed oil has natural nutrition that’s jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients your body craves. CBD-rich hemp oil and other edible hemp products can help the body’s essential functions; from the skin, to the heart, to the brain.
Hemp food, protein, and other edible products are becoming ever more popular as consumers discover the countless culinary uses of hemp along with its nutritional benefits. We’re eager to see more from the food and nutrition industries as hemp progresses further within them.
The hemp plant has been used as paper for thousands of years – right up until cannabis prohibition thanks to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and other regulations leading up to that point.
As a result of hemp’s threat to the rest of the paper industry – namely, the lumber side as well as the entire lumber industry – influencers of those decades helped staunch use of hemp and create propaganda for widespread fear of hemp’s effects.
Now that hemp is legal (again), we can see it’s the ideal material for making paper. In just months it can regenerate in fields as opposed to 20-30+ years for lumber. Naturally acid-free and resistant to yellowing or becoming brittle, hemp isn’t likely to disintegrate over time like regular paper can. Overall, it’s simply a superior option – and for the sake of the trees left on our planet, we hope to see more paper mills switch to hemp as their main source.
Cannabis propaganda has been a widespread disease since even before prohibition outlawed it. As early as the 1870s, hemp oil was already being phased out. Petroleum had just been introduced as the “next best” viable fuel source; so naturally, the natural fuel source was banned to remove it as competition.
Unlike fossil fuels like petroleum, hemp as a biofuel can replace gasoline for even diesel engines. It’s a renewable resource that also produces substantially less carbon monoxide than fossil fuel sources.
That’s right – hemp can even be made into a bio-friendly alternative to plastics. Like fuel, plastic is most commonly made with fossil fuels through a process that uses toxic chemicals. Hemp can work as an alternative to a variety of certain types of plastic.
Henry Ford, a strong believer and promoter of hemp, held a media event in 1941 to prove hemp’s strength as a material. He swung an axe down onto a car body made of plant material including hemp – but the technology that day was never put into mass production. Plastic made from toxic chemicals became commonplace, and cars kept being made out of steel and other metals.
Now that hemp is legal, we see a variety of hemp plastic alternatives already on the market. As awareness of the vital importance of these sustainable alternatives grows, we believe we’ll see a day where hemp is the new norm as a plastic material.
Hemp as a material is lightweight while still extremely durable; self-insulating and free of any toxic or dangerous chemicals. In fact, hemp releases less carbon than it absorbed over its lifetime, making it ideal as insulation within a home or any other building.
As an antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial plant, hemp works as a powerful hypoallergenic fabric for many situations. Research is in progress right now on the subject, but researchers think hemp as a commonplace fabric could help stop the spread of Staphylococcus, the bacteria responsible for causing Staph infection (which can be fatal).
You thought we were finished with the types of building materials hemp can turn into – but you might not have known that hemp can be used as a pretty fine concrete alternative. Also known as hempcrete, this alternative concrete is a fireproof, waterproof, lightweight, and flexible option. It can be used for everything from insulation to bricks – even pipes or other housing materials.
As hemp gets bigger on the market, smart businesses are making the switch to hemp products for building houses. It could very well be the thing that replaces concrete altogether one day!
A superconductor of electricity with super strength to back it up, graphene has received a great deal of attention this century. Not the most cost-effective option, though, hemp may be able to replicate what graphene can do as a superconductor at a fraction of the cost. Considered supercapacitors, hemp can work in a wide range of conditions, temperatures, and for a vast array of situations.
Okay, we’re getting a little out of hand – the airplane was made almost entirely of hemp. Hempearth, a Canada-based hemp company, contracted a Florida-based manufacturer to build the first hemp plane our planet has ever seen.
Over three-quarters of the plane is going to be built entirely out of hemp materials. The plane is yet to take to the sky as of yet, but there is a Kickstarter going for it. Likewise, Hempearth has a variety of hemp-based products on their web platform. While they’re not airplanes, they show off many of the ways hemp can be used. Their hemp wave paddleboard is an excellent example!
Cannabis outshines the fats and oils used to react with lye for most soap products. Rather than use a palm oil, lard or tallow, hemp soap is made from hemp seeds. It’s jam-packed with vitamin A, an antioxidant, and vitamin E, something we need to reduce UV damage. In addition, hemp soap is free of harmful additives that can dry out your skin, like triclosan, and they naturally have antibacterial properties.
We’re not kidding – the hemp plant might even be able to function like a battery. Currently, researchers are looking at how hemp might work as a more efficient and inexpensive component for batteries. At the University of Albert, a group of scientists discovered the hemp stalks’ pulpy, wood-like center can be converted into the type of carbon nanomaterials that can be used to create supercapacitors.
We mentioned supercapacitor earlier; that means something that can essentially discharge and charge within a matter of seconds. While they can’t store a lot of energy yet, we’re looking to hemp to increase a supercapacitor’s capacity and efficiency in the best eco-friendly way possible.
This use is one of the most obvious, so there’s not too much to add – CBD and other hemp topicals can double as an insect repellant when using the right combination of natural ingredients.
The Future of Hemp
While no single crop can be the answer to our economic and environmental distress, hemp may be a promising, positive push in the direction we need to turn things around for our planet. An eco-friendly alternative for most industries across the globe, we’re excited to see big-name companies like BMW start integrating hemp fibers into their cars.
With luxury brands switching to hemp so easily now that it’s been made legal, we estimate it’s just a matter of years before entire industries have virtually switched over to hemp as their main or most common material. Superior to the rest, hemp is a viable alternative for paper, batteries, soap, and just about everything in between.
We’re transitioning into a future that is desperately in need of embracing sustainable agricultural practices and renewable alternatives that don’t take 20+ years to cultivate. A plant that can re-harvested in just months means there’s potential for a field to handle something miles of land required with lumber or cotton.
Hemp has been in the dark for close to a century, lumped in with marijuana and put on the Controlled Substances Act for far too long. Now that the legal definition of hemp has changed to any cannabis strain under 0.3% THC with the 2018 Farm Bill, the sheer uses and outrageous advantages we have with hemp are available to the market.
As you can see, there’s not quite a limit on what hemp has the potential to do. Hopefully this guide gave you some deeper insight into what the hemp plant is capable of.
More than something that can be turned into an oil or smoked, this non-psychoactive cannabis plant could be the solution to our future and many of the issues industries across the world face. We look forward to seeing just what hemp will do for us and the rest of our planet in these coming years.