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Top 5 Uses for Hemp

on September 07, 2020

uses for hemp

Top 5 Uses for Hemp

Hemp is an amazing plant with an abundance of uses and applications, dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, as an abundant crop used for its fiber in textile creation. The hemp plant’s history has taken many paths and been used for everyday products including anything from paper to clothing. During World War II the US lifted the ban on hemp in order to fill the void for a lack of ability to import fiber textiles from overseas. 

The United States had had an aggressive push to ban hemp and its production but in 1942 the USDA produced a video, Hemp for Victory, that circulated to promote the farming of hemp in the US, which was badly needed for the making of ropes for the Navy along with clothing, paper and shipping rigs. A little known fact is the USDA denied the existence of this video up until 1989 when two VHS copies were provided to the Library of Congress. They had been recovered and provided to Jack Herer by William Conde during the 1984 Oregon Marijuana Initiative and without them would never have been available on youtube like they are today. In depth, some of hemp’s uses include:

  • Food
  • Fuel
  • Paper
  • Clothing
  • Lotions 

Uses for Hemp in Food 

Packed full of protein, hemp seeds are also high in fiber, vitamin B, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Hemp seeds are consumed just like other raw seeds but can also be converted into hemp milk similarly to the process of making almond milk. From oil to flour the cooking possibilities are nearly endless for hemp being a regular part of your diet as a form of essential fatty and amino acid. Farmers have also found that the concentration of omega-3s to benefit  cattle when added to feed, helping to raise a more healthy herd. Our four legged friends can also benefit from the high protein nature of the hemp plant when added to food and supplements. 

Uses for Hemp in Fuel  

With climate change effects playing out before us, hemp could provide a means for humanity becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. Hemp is a great alternative source for its use in the petroleum industry as a source for biodiesel. Curious what biodiesel is? The Department of Energy states, “Biodiesel is a domestically produced, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease for use in diesel vehicles or any equipment that operates on diesel fuel. Biodiesel's physical properties are similar to those of petroleum diesel.” Research has found 97 percent of hemp oil can be converted to biodiesel making it a great contender for future alternative fuel sources. 

Uses for Hemp in Paper 

Would you believe that using hemp to create paper is far more economical and environmentally sustainable than using trees? Hemp is such a hardy crop and can be grown in a relatively short period of time, especially compared to paper-yielding trees which take many years to grow to the heights of that a hemp crop can grow in just one season. Hemp farming can produce 4-10 times as much paper as trees per acre over the course of 20 years. 

Uses for Hemp in Clothing 

Prior to the prohibition of hemp in the U.S. it accounted for 80% of all clothing production. Uses for hemp in clothing manufacturing aren't as mainstream as cotton is today, due in part for the cheap techniques that can be applied both chemically and mechanically.  What’s important to note is the renewable nature of hemp along with its durability make it a top choice for an eco-friendly option that will last years longer than any cotton alternative, especially for its ability to keep its shape unlike cotton. The antimicrobial characteristics create a strong resilient cloth but as is biodegradable unlike most clothing that makes its way into landfills. One other frustrating aspect of cotton is trying to keep the original color wash after wash. With the porous makeup of hemp color retention is no longer an issue. 

Uses for Hemp in Body Lotions 

If you’re lucky to not deal with dry skin then read no further, but if you're like the many who go through seasonal changes that impact skin in a big way, here’s how the oil from the hemp plant can solve your dry skin disasters. It’s hemp’s essential fatty acids (EFA) properties which make it a great addition to lotions with its ability to help skin restore its natural balance.  Dry, cracked, and stressed skin can benefit from hemp oil in lotions and skin care products because of the emollient nature and ability to penetrate to the cellular level. You don’t have to worry about only applying hemp lotions to your body, being that hemp oil is non-comedogenic it won't clog your pores! 

Uses for Hemp - Final Thoughts

It’s hard to deny hemp has some wide ranging benefits in how the world can use this hardy abundant plant. As one of few plants that can be grown on nearly every continent except Antarctica, every environment can benefit from the integration of industrial hemp. Even down to the farming and cultivation process of hemp, there are benefits to go around. With no real need for pesticides and a root system that doesn’t erode the soil it provides a nutrient rich so even after harvest has passed.