The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced this year in April, and its goal is to remove industrial hemp from the Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act. In order to be a schedule 1 drug, the substance has to show high potential for abuse, no medicinal value, and lack of accepted safety when used under supervision. This Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is against this label and is in support of utilizing the hemp plant for its industrial purposes as well as using it for more extended research.
But why is industrial hemp so crucial to farmers, cannabis activists, and ecologists? We rant and rave about how great hemp oil is for your mind and body, but the plant it comes from also has many benefits to the earth. Hemp can substitute clothing, steel, concrete, and even fuel which could help treat this wounded planet. With all of these incredible ways that hemp is offering to help save the earth, could a cannabis world be our future?
In 2017, 248.63 million bales of cotton made up the global supply. Cotton is the most used natural fiber in the textile industry. But what would happen if we made a shift and started using hemp clothing as well?
It takes 140 days after planting for the bolls of cotton to be ready for harvest. It takes 20,000 liters of water to produce enough cotton to make a pair of jeans and a single t-shirt; which leads ecologists to believe that this form of making clothing isn’t the most environmentally sustainable.
Using industrial hemp, the time it takes for you to use its fibers is 90 days. That is an entire month and a half difference from cotton. Hemp also requires 50% less water than cotton, is more durable, and it doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Studies have shown that compared to cotton, hemp leaves less of an ecological footprint. Cutting out cotton completely isn’t likely, but integrating hemp into our clothing options could benefit the environment.
Hemp Houses And Buildings
Concrete is the most used material in the world making durable homes and buildings. The issue with concrete is that it is suspected that every ton of concrete you make, you also make a ton of CO2. The production of CO2 comes from the massive amount of energy required to reach extreme temperatures as well as the breakdown of the chemicals to create the material.
Wood is also a commonly used material for family homes, taking up 81% of the distribution. Wood carries less of a burden towards our environment and is an extremely durable option for home building. The biggest problem is it takes nearly 80 years for a tree to reach a size large enough to make a considerable profit.
One acre of hemp is equivalent to four acres of trees. Hemp also absorbs more CO2 than it emits, helping to clean the air we have filled with greenhouse gases. Particleboard made of hemp is more durable than wood, and it’s lighter. To top it off, hemp particle board even holds nails better than wood.
Hemp concrete isn’t just better for the environment by helping to reduce CO2 content, it is also durable, sustainable, mold resistant, an excellent insulator, and helps with humidity control. Though hemp isn’t impenetrable by fire like concrete is, hemp concrete can resist fire for up to 120 minutes.
Hemp Air Plane
If you want to get high with hemp, you’ll have to board a plane. A Canadian company has made the first hemp-based airplane, and it has shown how broad hemp’s capabilities really go. The plastic and hemp-based composites that replace the fiberglass in the plane are ten times more durable, flame retardant, and much lighter.
Having a lighter plane means less fuel, which helps with our ecological footprint. These brilliant minds went even a step further and have used hemp-based bio-fuel to help run the plane which can solve the pollution issue. It is estimated that airplanes could generate 43 gigatons of air-pollution by the year 2050. The United States causes half of the CO2 from aircraft traffic worldwide. It will be interesting to see if this particular trend catches on considering how harmful aircraft emissions are to the planet.
Hemp Water Bottles
In 2008, 189 million plastic water bottles were recovered from the highway in the US. Every five minutes, the United States is using 2 million plastic water bottles. The amount of pollution caused by something that we are encouraged to drink to be healthy is outlandish. The production of these bottles also hurts the environment, needing a large amount of fossil fuels to create these products.
Plastic is made from the cellulose taken from petroleum, but cellulose can be found in plants as well. In fact, hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on this planet. Hemp is also biodegradable and non-toxic. However, the biodegradability needs to be delved into deeper. Water bottles need to last longer than a year for suppliers; many hemp plastics are mixed with other polymers to make their product more durable. This isn’t the solution to our plastic problem yet, but it is a step in the right direction.
Every year, the U.S has 10 to 11 million cars reach their limit of usefulness and are thrown out to dumps and junkyards. While most of the vehicles are scrapped for parts or materials, 25% of the car is left for waste. The creation of these cars emits as much CO2 as driving it. Could hemp be the better way?
Henry Ford’s first vision was a hemp-based car. He worked on this idea for 12 years. The only steel in this car was from the frame while the rest was made from hemp, wheat, sisal, and a resin binder. The reason this car didn’t take off wasn’t that of quality, but because it was during a time of war and prohibition.
Because hemp is lighter, it would cost less fuel for these cars to run. Hemp cars would be more biodegradable, leaving fewer cars out to rust sitting in a lot. Hemp vehicles are also more durable than steel, making them safer and less likely to need repair. Using hemp fuel for these vehicles would also help with the carbon emission, making it a possible solution to yet again another environmental issue.
Oil is the gold of the 21st century, which many speculate is the reason hemp or vegetable-based fuel isn’t flying out of gas stations for use. Oil has caused problems in the environment through spills to how it causes air pollution when used for things like fuel. The hemp plant can make ethanol, methanol, and biodiesel fuel that might be able to help our environment.
Ethanol is made from grains, starches, sugars, waste paper, and forest production while methanol is made from woody pulpy matter. The hemp stalks can help produce both of these types of fuel. The oil from the hemp seed can help create bio-diesel fuel giving us opportunities to find a replacement for our finite supply of oil that we use for fuel.
Hemp is very easy to grow and, if the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 gets enough support, it could be the new cash crop of America. This doesn’t mean hemp can stop the battle for oil, but it does insist that it could at least offer an alternative. It can also help reduce the carbon emissions when used in vehicles as well as through the production of making the fuel.
Going Green With Hemp
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 could open up a world of hemp crops all over the nation to help replace some of the resources we use that aren’t plentiful on our planet. Being tied down to a resource that will soon run out isn’t a smart move on our part. There are already crops around the world and nation that are working towards making the world a better place, and you can already start helping alongside them, today.
So how could a regular Jane help when they aren’t going to any board meetings with the oil industry? If you don’t own a farm, how could you help with the production of hemp over cotton? The way you can help is choosing hemp products over the regular everyday items that are polluting the planet. But there is more to saving the environment than just using a cannabis plant as an alternative for clothing, housing, and fuel.
You can eliminate bottles of water altogether by filtering your tap water. Buy clothes from a thrift store instead of new can help slow down production of new clothes. Utilizing public transportation, riding your bike, or walking when available can help you decrease your carbon footprint as you travel around the city. And of course, you can recycle every chance you get. The world’s condition could improve, but not without the participation of millions of people. And that can start with you.
You can also write a letter to your senator to tell them why you believe this bill should be passed. Or you can send a prewritten letter made by Vote Hemp at this link right here!
Are you an environmental activist? Do you have any tips that could help people learn to live with the world in mind? If you have any tips and tricks on how to be friendly to our planet, leave it in the comment section below!
Hi. I don’t want to sound rude but I also can’t sit idly by why misinformation is spread. As a chemist who used to work for a hemp company that was working on many of things you mentioned above, some of your statements couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Sure cotton uses more water and pesticides compared to hemp but the fiber quality of cotton is much better. Hemp produces stiffer fibers that need more processing to get them close to cotton quality. This means more chemicals, energy and water needed.
We did not find that particleboard made from hemp was stronger than that of wood. More research needs to be done to have a board of construction grade made from hemp.
Hemp based composites are not 10x stronger than fiberglass ones using the same resin and same fiber loading.
Plastic is not made from cellulose made from petroleum… there are many different types of synthetic chemicals used to make plastics. Hemp also doesnt have the highest cellulose content in the plant world. Cotton has more cellulose than hemp. In fact some trees have a higher cellulose content than hemp. It also doesn’t make sense to make plastic out of hemp there are way better feedstocks. Hemp plastic also isn’t a real thing and is a misconception that is all over the internet.
Anyways I just thought I would drop a truth bomb so that we all can be a little more informed.