Hemp is widely cultivated and easy to access. But, because of bad information, hemp is ignored or looked down upon. The uses that could be made of them are so numerous that it is not possible to list them all. This article will make you discover what hemp really is and its multiple benefits through 10 main points.
Hemp and Cannabis: Definition and Differences
Hemp and Cannabis: For many people, there is no difference between these two plants. But, the reality is quite different, even if the two plants belong to the same botanical family (Cannabis Sativa L.).
Hemp is a leafy shrub that is cultivated for the textile fiber contained in its stem, and the oil obtained from its seeds. However, Cannabis (or Indian hemp) is a plant derived from hemp. Richer in THC, Indian hemp is cultivated, not to obtain useful raw materials, but for its powerful psychoactive activity on the human organism. The effect obtained by the consumption of cannabis flowers is therefore the main objective of its use, whether in a medicinal setting or in a recreational setting.
Why then is hemp frowned upon if it is beneficial and has little to do with cannabis? Apart from the resemblance between the two plants, other explanations are possible. For example, hemp competed with and supplanted several other products. To preserve the domination of other products, therefore, it was frowned upon and had to be put aside.
Now that the difference is well established between hemp and cannabis, let’s discover some of its multiple benefits. You can also after reading this article visit Wikipedia to learn more about hemp and cannabis products.
Hemp to make plastic
Usually to design plastic, the raw material used is a derivative of crude oil (cellulose). There is also a variant of this raw material in plants (cellulose of plant origin). With vegetable cellulose, it is possible to produce strong plastic of very good quality. Interestingly, hemp is one of the richest plants in cellulose with a composition up to 85% (especially in its stems). It is therefore an ideal alternative for long-term plastic manufacturing.
In addition, it should be noted that plastic made from hemp (or any other plant containing cellulose) is fully biodegradable. Unlike traditional plastic, it therefore does not pollute the environment. Let us also remember that hemp can be cultivated everywhere, easily, and in large quantities, unlike oil, which is a dry resource.
Of course, it is true that the prohibition of hemp makes the use of plant-based plastic a little improbable. But, the perseverance of certain industries and advances in technology mean that these restrictions are gradually diminishing. For example, certain giants of the automobile construction namely BMW, Ford and Honda have already undertaken the industrial use of the raw material hemp. They use it in particular to make plastic components (doors, hoods, etc.) for their vehicles. These are examples to follow, no doubt.
Hemp as a dietary supplement
Hemp is highly prized for its unprecedented nutritional benefits. Hemp seeds in this case contain nutrients that are beneficial in every way for the body. It is mainly:
- Proteins (mostly essential amino acids);
- Vitamins (B1, B2, E).
These different nutrients are useful not only for maintaining vital functions, but also for strengthening the metabolism. So much so that some nutritionists even recommend hemp seeds as a dietary supplement for their patients.
In addition, it should be noted that hemp seeds contain soluble fibers that help to regulate cholesterol levels in the blood .
How is hemp consumed?
Like any other dietary supplement, hemp seeds can be consumed in a number of ways.
The most common method of consumption is taking the seeds in their raw form. They are very appetizing and can be crunched at snack time.
Additionally, hemp can also be consumed in the form:
- Oil (the oil obtained from the hemp seeds is not used for cooking, but it can be used to make a homemade vinaigrette or to season an already cooked dish);
- Of milk ;
- Of drink (lemonades, teas, beers, syrups);
- Powder (crushed and refined hemp seeds are great food supplements.
Note: Hemp is also used in animal feed. Its seeds are used in particular as food supplements for food for birds, for pets (dogs, cats) and even for livestock.
Hemp as a raw material for fabric manufacturing
Hemp can also be used as a raw material for the textile industry. This is possible thanks to the long fibers very rich in cellulose that the plant contains. The latter offer very extensive creative possibilities. They can be made into super strong ropes, silky sheets, quilts and comfortable soft clothes. The textile produced from hemp is of optimum quality and has nothing to envy to other materials.
The use of hemp in the textile industry is nothing new. Thousands of years ago, hemp fibers were already used to make tents, fabrics, boat sails and canvases. In the 19th century, hemp was even the raw material most used by the textile industry (approximately 75% of world production at the time).
Hemp is better than cotton
Since its disgrace, hemp has been doubled by cotton as one of the most widely used natural fibers in the textile industry . However, when comparing the two plants, hemp appears to be the most beneficial in many ways. In particular, it consumes very little water and can grow almost anywhere, even in the harshest conditions (without the use of pesticides). Cotton, on the other hand, is a plant whose cultivation requires abundant water reserves as well as chemicals that are harmful to ecosystems. Its yield is also minimal, compared to that of hemp. In addition, hemp fibers are much stronger and longer than cotton. So it can be said quite obviously that hemp is better than cotton.
Hemp to cure diseases
Hemp owes its medicinal properties to the cannabinoid compounds it contains. These are mainly CBD (in large quantities) and THC (a tiny amount).
According to several scientific studies, CBD , also called Canabidiol (when it is isolated from other cannabinoids) can help in the treatment of several diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and inflammation. . It also contains active substances which can be used to fight effectively against anxiety and depression.
Note: Given its psychoactive effects, the use of THC remains problematic. However, some studies (although not in-depth) have found that THC could be involved in the treatment of cancer.
Hemp can produce biofuel
Another interesting fact about hemp is that it can be turned into fuel. The latter takes the form of a biodiesel and can be directly used by conventional diesel engines to operate.
The biofuel made from hemp has many advantages. Indeed, it does not produce toxins and is very pure. Its combustion also does not produce sulfur dioxide (usually produced by other fuels). It is therefore not particularly harmful to humans. In addition, the environmental impact of the production of hemp nationally and internationally is found to be extremely low compared to that of petroleum-based fuels. In the long term, this is therefore a solution that can be envisaged to replace oil in the long term.
In addition, it should be noted that most gasoline engines available on the market today are not originally designed to run on biodiesel or any other fuel of vegetable origin. However, it is possible to make a conversion by modifying the feed device slightly and adding a specific kit to it.
To find out if your car can run on biofuel, especially hemp biodiesel , please seek the expertise of a professional.
Hemp for making paper
Le chanvre peut entrer dans la fabrication du papier. Cela n’est d’ailleurs pas une découverte récente, car il semblerait que jusque dans les années 1880, la grande majorité du papier utilisé en Europe et au Moyen-Orient était faite à base de chanvre. Ce n’est qu’après sa prohibition (pour des raisons purement concurrentielles) qu’il a laissé peu à peu place au bois.
Compared to wood, the paper obtained from the hemp stems is by far the best. This is mainly due to the fact that the composition of a hemp stalk is more conducive to the production of paper than that of wood pulp. Indeed, the lignin content (plant component preventing the extraction of paper pulp and which must be eliminated during production) in a hemp stalk is very low, unlike a wood chip which can contain up to ‘35% lignin. The manufacture of hemp paper therefore requires much less chemical treatment. In other words, it pollutes less and costs less.
In addition, the paper obtained from hemp is much more resistant than that produced from wood pulp . Therefore, it is durable and more resistant to the wear and tear of time.
In addition, from a quantitative point of view, hemp also wins over trees. Note that it takes about 20 years for a tree to mature and can be used to make paper. This is absolutely not the case with the hemp stems which ripen in just 4 months and are ready to use.
Hemp is convenient for building houses
Hemp is a revolutionary plant that can also be used in the construction industry. It is made up of fibers and components useful in the creation of materials with properties similar to those of wood, concrete and plastic.
Technically, any construction of a house can be done using hemp products, from foundation to finish. You can have bricks, plaster, paint, and even floor mats, from hemp. It’s a very amazing versatility. Some specialists even consider that hemp concrete (a material obtained from a mixture of lime and hemp seed), due to its insulation capacities, is an ideal solution to comply with current and future thermal regulations.
Note: Due to its current legal status, it may be very expensive to build your house with hemp derivatives.
Hemp to take care of the skin and hair
The oil extracted from hemp seeds is highly prized for its cosmetic properties. It contains in particular mineral salts and nutrients beneficial for the skin and hair.
Among other cosmetic products that can be obtained from hemp oil, there are:
- Anti-aging creams (anti-aging creams made from hemp firm the skin and reduce skin aging);
- Anti-Acne creams (they reduce the appearance of acne and have a softening effect);
- Body ointments (ointments made from hemp oil cleanse and moisturize the skin);
- Lipsticks (lip balms made from hemp oil protect the lips and hydrate them);
- Creams for the eye area;
- Hair care products (they contain fatty acids and lipids which increase the shine, volume and elasticity of the hair)…
Note that despite the various controversies surrounding hemp, several large cosmetic companies use it in the manufacture of their products (even in countries with strict jurisdiction such as England or the United States). Some French companies have even made it their specialty.
Hemp to clean contaminated soil
It has been discovered, after several studies, that hemp can be used to clean (or disinfect) polluted soils unsuitable for agriculture. It is a process called Phytoremediation . In fact, hemp plants, when present, absorb polluting metals and other substances that contaminate the soil through their roots. These a priori harmful compounds are then gradually degraded by the plant and then transformed into harmless substances which will ultimately be released into nature. This helps to purify the soil and make it operational again for agriculture.It was this phytoremediation technique using hemp that was used to gradually purify contaminated soil several years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
What to remember? Hemp is a plant with countless virtues that is generally confused with cannabis, another plant of the same family known for its psychoactive properties. In this article, you have been treated to just a few of its multiple application possibilities. There is no doubt that the recent reforms and those to come will trigger the process of expansion and industrialization of this atypical plant.