In a world increasingly looking for sustainable solutions to everyday problems we remember why Hemp could be a global fix to a burgeoning consumer society – and cool facts about why it really is so amazing!
1. Hemp helps to heal the environment around it
Did you know that hemp can eliminate toxins and radioactive material? It’s true! Scientists planted hemp at Chernobyl and discovered that hemp conducted Phytoremediation, which means it cleans up the air and soil around it as it is growing, decomposing chemicals from the soil and healing the earth. Hemp rejuvenated thousands of acres of wasteland in Eastern Europe following the nuclear fallout of Chernobyl, making it cultivable for agriculture once more.
2. Hemp helped to defeat Hitler
Hemp was banned by the US government in 1937 under the Marihuana Act as a way to alienate the plant by making its familiarity to its psychoactive cousin plant Marijuana a seemingly bad thing. However during WWII the United States Department of Agriculture lifted this law, encouraging farmers to grow Hemp to help with the war effort. This was due to a shortage in key imported Hemp goods from places like Indonesia which were essential to providing supplies for troops, such as rope, tents, kit bags and sails. The government realised the efficiency with which hemp could be cultivated to produce these goods for the allied side. The US government actually produced an eleven minute promotional video which was shown in cinema theatres across the country, prompting and encouraging farmers to engage their efforts in helping grow hemp to help the war effort.
You can watch the “Hemp for Victory” video campaign below.
3. Hemp is ideal for outdoor clothing!
Hemp has anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and hemp doesn’t retain odour-causing bacteria like synthetic or cotton fibres does; its hollow shafts make it super absorbent and an excellent choice for outdoor activities.
Check out our range of women’s and men’s outdoor clothing here
4. Hemp and breast milk share an essential nutrient
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally beneficial foods there are. They are rich in essential fatty acids including gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is actually a substance found in breast milk! As well as being an excellent source of nutrition for newborns and babies, GLA is great for people with arthritis, muscle inflammation and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Hemp seeds are also a natural source of vitamins like calcium, potassium, magnesium, fibre and iron! Great for a balanced diet and also for meat/diary substitutes.
5. Hemp can produce 4 times as much paper as trees can
Hemp plants are rich in cellulose which is why hemp plastics make a fantastic alternative to carbon positive single use synthetic materials. And the same can be said for paper too! Trees are made up of 30% cellulose (of which toxic chemicals are required to extract the substance needed to produce paper) vs Hemp which has up to 85% natural cellulose! This cellulose is transformed into pulp, with hemp pulp naturally being a much higher quality than wood and as such, produces stronger and better quality paper. And Hemp is much quicker than trees to produce the same amount of fibres needed for paper – it takes 20 – 80 years to grow trees ready for producing paper vs 4 months for hemp! And because hemp regenerates the soil it grows in, as soon as it’s harvested it’s ready to grow again, vs trees which will take years for the soil to replenish all the vitamins it needs to grow a new harvest successfully. Also for producing paper, one acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4 – 10 acres of trees over a 20 year period.
Check out our Hemp paper here
6. Hemp was originally used to make canvas
Although most canvas nowadays is made from a cotton/linen and synthetic fabric blend, it was initially made using Hemp! It was used in the creation of sails, marquees, tents backpacks and even the first artists canvas were made using hemp! It was used for innumerable purposes for hundreds of years due to its versatility and ease to cultivate, until its decline in the mid 30s- 40s.
Wanna know something really cool? The word “canvas” is derived from the word “cannabis”. It is an old English word taken from an even older Northern French Canevas based on the Latin word Cannabis which originated in ancient Greece!
7. We could’ve all been driving Hemp cars by now
Whaaat? Yes, really! It all started in 1941, when Henry Ford owned a car made of soybean hemp and plastics. It was lighter than steel, but it was durable, withstanding ten times the impacts that a metal car would and without a single dent! However due to its undesirable relationship to Marijuana, as well as oither variables we’ll look at in the future, this exciting venture was repressed.
Nowadays however Hemp plastic has begun to be integrated into the automobile industry again. In 2008 Lotus launched their eco friendly sports car, featuring lush hemp fabric on the steering wheel and hard compressed hemp making up the seats. And because hemp plastics are 100% biodegradable, this is great news for the car industry!
So we know a car can be made of hemp, but can it run on it too? Absolutely! Hemp seed oil can be converted into a biodegradable and toxic-free biodiesel, an incredible eco-friendly equivalent to fossil fuel guzzling counterparts.
8. Hemp founded the United States of America
Okay, maybe it helped. The first and second draft of the US constitution was drafted on Dutch hemp paper way back in 1776 and up until prohibition in the 1920s, was a key material in paper, construction and the early plastics industry. George Washington, first president of the US, was a hemp farmer as was Thomas Jefferson, another Founding Father. Jefferson said “Hemp is of the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.” This statement was the catalyst for colonial farmers to be required to sow and harvest hemp during the late 1700s and beyond. It was a key crop grown in pre-Civil War slave plantations and continued to be imperative in agricultural industries grown nationally until its prohibition.
Read more facts about what makes Hemp such a happy plant here
9. Hemp enriches the soil as it grows
Hemp is equipped with deep roots that allows it to grow in a wide variey of soil and terrains. Not only is it versatile but Hemp replenishes its own nitrogen stores, which is vital for plants to photosynthesise, back into the soil as it grows.
Hemp also has a really high carbon-dioxide uptake – it starts a process named carbon sequestration that traps emissions meaning it neutralizes its carbon levels as it grows.
When the hemp plant is reaped, the stem and leaves contain so many nutrients that many farmers take what they don’t need and put it back in the soil. This process rejuvenates the soil even more, enriching the soil with nitrogen, aiding with an even larger yield for the next season.
10. Hemp helps your body and your brain
Hemp seeds have more digestible fibre than kale, more digestible protein than soy and more digestible omegas then flax. It is high in calcium iron, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamin a and enzymes. It is low in saturated fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates. It’s good for the brain, the immune system, weight loss, skin and inflammation.
Hemp is a protein that holds amino acids and important vitamins. Hemp seeds are a nutritionally dense food, which could be made into many different foods, as with soya and most significantly into oil or flour. Don’t forget that hemp is a hearty plant that can be grown in different types of soil and land.
Check out our full range of hemp foods & drinks here
11. The future of sustainable construction could be Hemp!
Today, hemp is a popular choice for building homes because structures made from hemp are pest-free, rot-free, mould-free, and are fire-resistant. Not only is the legendary Kevin McCloud a big fan of Hemp in building structures saying ‘Hemp homes are the warmest, driest, cheapest & most eco-sustainable form of home construction’ but it really is better for the environment than ordinary concrete. We know Hemp is better for the environment than pretty much all other agricultural plants as it is carbon neutral/negative, but it’s also naturally insulating, lightweight and durable – making it the perfect material for building homes efficiently and safely whilst providing all the qualities desired in safe, eco-friendly housing.