We are the only industrialized country not growing hemp for production of important products. Hemp is a species of cannabis sativa which has been grown for over 12,000 years. It has little THC
and will not produce the same effects as marijuana when smoked or ingested. Hemp has less than a 1% content of THC. Hemp could benefit us greatly in the future.
Hemp was widely grown in the United States before the industrial revolution which called more for wood. This was the direct result of the signing of the 1937 marijuana tax act. It was passed by congress in part because of testimony by William Randolph Hearst who had a financial interest in timber which was used to print his newspapers. Also the report that hemp crops had dropped 90% from 1880 to 1933 had an impact on their decision to pass the act. Not to mention the fact that in the 1930’s, society had taken on a bad view of marijuana and hemp . Propaganda such as the movie “Reefer Madness” were common in that time and warned people against the “evils” of marijuana. Since hemp is the same variety of plant as marijuana it received the bad rap as well.
Hemp is often woven with cotton and is known for its durability and strength. It was sometimes used for sails of ships. Hemp produces 250 times more fiber than cotton and grows much faster. It can also be made into paper. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson on hemp paper.
Hemp in made up of 80% fatty amino acids. These acids aid the human body in turning food into energy and helps the immune system. We need these good fats to carry oxygen to every cell in the body. The hemp seed is comprised of 20% highly digestible and complete proteins for the body. It has been called the perfect food. The oils in the seed of hemp is known for its soothing properties on the skin and is a moisturizing ingredient for lotions and creams.
With our oil supplies dwindling, hemp could be our answer to having enough energy for the entire planet. The oils from hemp can be made into biodiesel and alcohol fuels. in 1892, Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine which he intended to be run on vegetable and seed oils such as hemp seed oil. In some parts of the world, hemp is mixed with concrete as reinforcement for strength and stability. Almost anything could be produced from hemp from plastics to cars. There is a small hemp industry and it would grow as more things were produced with it. Here in the United States, you can buy hemp products but they will almost always be imported thus the higher price tag. As the hunger for money by the oil companies continue, we will not see hemp fuel and energy until oil supplies are near zero. As our rain forests grow smaller, this too could be remedied. Anything made of wood can be made from hemp.
As we come further into the 21st century we must think more openly about our options in the future. Hemp could save our planet for our children and save our natural resources from extinction.