Hemp is largely cultivated for the purpose of extracting CBD, the non-intoxicating constituent of cannabis with a number of therapeutic benefits, but the hemp plant also has a wide range of practical applications beyond that.
Between its fibers, seeds, and oil, hemp is a valuable resource across several industries, making it a truly multi-purpose plant that also happens to be environmentally-friendly.
Besides the benefits of CBD, the hemp plant is an emergent resource that can potentially serve as a solution to many of the world’s problems. Let’s go over some of the intriguing ways hemp is being used beyond just serving as a source of CBD.
Hemp in Textiles
Hemp fibers used to be one of the world’s leading sources of textile materials. Hemp has excellent strength and durability, is naturally antibacterial ,and can block ultraviolet rays. In the 19th century, hemp fibers were used extensively in ship sails, ropes and nets due to their durability and resistance to saltwater. Hemp fibers were also included in Levi Strauss’ original line of jeans.
Hemp was largely replaced in the textile industry by cotton and synthetic fibers. However, hemp could see a resurgence due to an increased importance of sustainable resources, as well as improvements in cultivation techniques. If hemp varieties are grown with smaller fiber diameters, then it will have more possible applications in the textiles industry.
Hemp Can be Used For Sustainable Materials
Materials such as paper and plastic are used extensively in all kinds of products, but their use and production has a negative impact on the environment. Plastic can potentially be an irritant and is not biodegradable, and traditional papers require a lot of energy and resources to create.
On the other hand, hemp-based plastics are environmentally friendly, do not cause allergic reactions, and are overall more flexible than synthetic plastics. In addition, hemp paper requires much less heat to create than traditional paper, making it a promising sustainable alternative.
Hemps Seeds Can Be Used in Supplements and Cosmetics
Hemp seed oil, despite not containing any significant amount of cannabinoids, is incredibly rich in nutrients and other compounds that are beneficial to one’s health. Hemp seed oil has an almost ideal fatty acid composition. Studies indicate that hemp seed oil contains healthy concentrations of omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids. Diets high in these fatty acids have shown to reduce the risk of cancer, blood clotting, and can lower cholesterol, so taking hemp seed oil supplements could prevent these conditions from developing.
The fatty acids present in hemp seed oil also make it a valuable ingredient in cosmetic products. Facial creams, lotions, shampoos and conditioners containing hemp seed oil are great for the hair and skin.
Hemp in Construction
The natural properties of hemp fibers make it very useful in numerous areas of building and construction. In fact, hemp concrete (also known as “hempcrete”) can be used to build an entire house from the ground up. Hempcrete is made from a mixture of hemp, lime, and water. It is incredibly strong and lightweight, provides insulation on par with more traditional insulators, and is resistant to pests, water, and mold.
Hempcrete is a sustainable resource, takes a short amount of time to produce, and does not require any heavy machinery or special training to work with, which is a large reason why some builders find it preferable to other building materials. It is likely that more and more buildings will be made with hempcrete in the future.
Hemp Can be a Fuel Source
Hemp has a lot of promise as a sustainable energy source. Unlike other energy crops, hemp does not require excess fertilizer or pesticides to cultivate, which leads to lower GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. In addition, hemp is not a food crop, so there is plenty of biomass left over from when it is processed for its fibers or CBD.
Hemp biomass has good combustion properties and can be used as a heat source or for electricity. Hemp oil can also be converted into biodiesel for cars, and is more efficient in this regard than other plant oils such as canola or soy oil.
- There are many potential uses for hemp besides cultivating CBD and hemp seed oil.
- Hemp can be used for textiles, sustainable alternatives to plastics, construction materials and fuel sources.
- Hemp is environmentally friendly and does not require excess fertilizers or pesticides.
- Hemp is an emergent source for many new uses across the globe that could contribute to help solve several problems we face such as climate, environment and sustainability.