The Many Uses of Hemp

The Many Uses of Hemp
hemp plants

hemp plants

Derived from the cannabis plant, hemp is one of the oldest materials used by humans for well over 12,000 years. In fact, the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution and Betsy Ross’ flag were all made from or written on hemp. The many uses of hemp include paper, construction material, alternative energy, clothing and food. Some believe it should and can replace many environmentally unfriendly, depleting or taxing staples such as cotton, lumber, wheat and oil. Unfortunately, minimal amounts of hemp are harvested due to the more profitable materials already embedded in our financial infrastructure. There is also the illegality of cultivating the cannabis plant. Regardless, there are hemp products available for safe, legal purchase in America, becoming more readily available each year.

Eat It without the Munchies

Hemp was once as popular as rice or sesame offering a sweet nutty flavor that excites the taste buds but does not cloud the mind. Hemp has such low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the mind altering substance in marijuana) it goes unnoticed by the body, just like arsenic in apples. Some foods made from hemp and hemp seeds are:

  • Hemp Milk – A perfect non-dairy drink that is loaded with protein, easily digested, and contains essential complex fats that are wholly utilized by the body.
  • Hemp Oil – Considered one of the most essential amino acids and good polyunsaturated fatty acids, hemp oil also contains GMA (gamma linolenic acid) which is also found in breast milk.
  • Hemp Butter – Just as milk can turn into butter, hemp milk can turn into hemp butter. Creamy, salty and a hint of lactose-free nuttiness with much less artery clogging fats makes for a perfect butter alternative.
  • Hemp Flour – Ground into a fine, powdery flour hemp can be baked into breads and desserts that challenge the best conventional recipes.
Drive It

Although our energy grid may take years to embrace alternative sources, hemp is impressively able to be refined into two different fuels. Biodiesel, which is produced from pressed hemp seeds and ethanol or methanol derived from fermented hemp stalk. It burns clean and actually extends the life of an engine as opposed to conventional oil which, over time, breaks an engine down due to its high pollutant residue. In fact, Henry T. Ford’s invention of the automobile was made from hemp plastic (10 times stronger than steel) and ran on hemp gasoline.

Walk on the Runway

Hemp clothing is a big threat to our textile industry. For instance, cotton requires labor intensive care along with a barrage of pesticides to keep it growing. Production uses a vast amount of energy including transport from limited, climate friendly areas for this crop. Hemp can grow in practically any climate and uses a lot less energy to manufacture.

The many uses of hemp are in the thousands. Unfortunately, politics and finance seem to be threatened by this incredible resource. Maybe, someday, the greater good will emerge and hemp will become America’s answer to a variety of challenges it faces today.

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