Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hemp Facts

Hemp: the real problem is miseducation. Did you know that…

1) Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. In fact, one of the oldest relics of human industry is the pattern of hemp fabric in ceramic shards dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.

2) "Make the most of the hemp seed and sow it everywhere."- George Washington. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Americans were legally bound to grow hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. The federal government subsidized hemp during the Second World War and US farmers grew about a million acres of hemp as part of that program.

3) Nutrition- Hemp Seed is far more nutritious than even soybean, contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, is second only to soybeans in complete protein (but is more digestible by humans), is high in B-vitamins, and is 35% dietary fiber. Hemp seed is not psychoactive and cannot be used as a drug. See

4) Fiber- The bark of the hemp stalk contains bast fibers which are among the Earth's longest natural soft fibers and are also rich in cellulose; the cellulose and hemi-cellulose in its inner woody core are called hurds. Hemp stalk is not psychoactive. Hemp fiber is longer, stronger, more absorbent and more insulative than cotton fiber.

5)Energy- According to the Department of Energy, hemp as a biomass fuel producer requires the least specialized growing and processing procedures of all hemp products. Hemp can be processed into a wide range of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to ethanol to biodiesel. Development of biofuels is undoubtedly a step towards greener energy.

6) Easy to Grow- Hemp grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Nearly one third of the agricultural chemicals used on US crops are applied to cotton.

7) Paper Production- Hemp produces roughly four times more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can actually reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp's low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and its creamy color lends itself to environmentally friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxins and fewer chemical byproducts. It also means that hemp can recycled many times before the fibers break down entirely.

9) Green Building- Hemp makes for great construction material. A company called Hemcrete uses a modernized form of an age old technique to create a concrete like material, several times lighter and stronger, (as well as sustainable) than actual concrete. Hemp fiberboard produced by Washington State University was found to be twice as strong as wood-based fiberboard.

10) Plastics- Hemp can replace most toxic petrochemical products. A company called Wheatware makes disposable plastic, yet biodegradable, eating utensils out of corn and other biomass. Hemp (along with other natural fibers) is combined with resins to create lightweight and very strong composite materials, used in millions of cars and even airplanes.