Back in the day hemp was a contributing crop in the US. As part of the cannabis family, the fiber, oil and seeds were heroes in adaptability. Hemp was used extensively during WWII for rope, cloth, oil, wax, pulp and even fuel. It is the same plant species as marijuana. Although it doesn’t contain enough of the substance THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to take anyone on a kitchener limos ride of “highs” it is still, by nature a variety of marijuana – a known narcotic.
Prior to the war there was a an increasing public anti-drug sentiment. This disposition was suspended by more grave concerns, and hemp along with all of our other resources was considered as a valuable asset. Despite its versatility in helping the war effort, along with the fact that it does not contain psychoactive amounts of THC, after the war, hemp was ruled a narcotic under the Controlled Substance Act. Therefore production was and still is very restricted by the US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).
In the later 1940s along with the dominance of synthetic fibers, production waned and by 1958, hemp was no longer planted as a viable retail crop in the US.
In January of this year a Bill was introduced to end the strong restrictions on US hemp production across the country. There’s wisdom in this and honestptr speaking, this author’s research points to the fact that our country is missing out on a billion dollar a year revenue source.
Some of the many uses of hemp:
Hemp is an inexpensive source for insulation. Used in Ireland and the Netherlands when building homes to resist the strong cold winters it is gaining a proven track record.
Hemp is being used to strengthen fiberboard and drywall. It is also finding its way into a concrete like substance now dubbed ‘hempcrete’ which is lighter to work with, more durable and more environmentally friendly.
Because of its durability, augmenting plastic base materials with hemp makes them practically indestructible. More recently it’s been made into CDs, plastic household items like shower curtains, bowls, water bottles, eyeglass cases to name just a few. Since hemp plastic is considered five times stiffer and two and a half times stronger than polypropylene, it’s uses are endless.
This is nothing new – in fact sampling of hemp clothing dates back over 8,000 years, BC. Today’s hemp is interwoven with other fibers to create softer yet more durable clothing options in jeans, sports wear and shoes. On the lighter side hemp is woven with silk to produce elegant lingerie products.
Planting hemp in soil that has been contaminated or depleted can restore the natural conditions. It’s natural growth cycle, with falling leaves helps detoxify and replenish the above ground conditions. Numerous biological, chemical assaults along with simple overuse has reduced the productive value of acres of farmland. To restore the balance growing hemp and letting its cycle feed nutrients back into the overused top soil and the root system helps to ventilate the underground land rendering it viably available for healthy growing.
This article just touches the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the uses of hemp. Hundreds of benefits are being discovered every year, and new applications are becoming mainstream as manufactures learn more of the advantages of this simple dirt cheap, unassuming weed.
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