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How Hemp Based Products Are Better For The Environment

by Kyriaco Charalambous on February 24, 2022

Industrial hemp is one of the plant species of cannabis that is closely related to marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug and is usually used for recreational use. Even though the chemical composition of these cousin plants is quite similar, yet there is a considerable difference between them. Industrial hemp is a variable and valuable species that can be used for a long list of purposes. Here are a few reasons why hemp is quite beneficial for us and the environment.


A Safe Source of Cannabinoids

Marijuana and hemp have a similar chemical composition except for the THC or tetrahydrocannabinol content. Marijuana strains contain a significant quantity of THC, which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis and causes mind altering effects. However, there are other phytocannabinoids and phytonutrients which are pretty helpful for the body. Hemp is a safer alternative to marijuana as it contains only less than 0.3 % THC. Hemp can be used to extract these cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, CBC, and phytonutrients such as terpenes and flavonoids. It offers a significant amount of CBD that has emerged as an effective therapeutic compound for a wide variety of health issues.


The Base of the Carbohydrate Economy

For centuries, we have been on a hydrocarbon economy, but we will soon have to shift to a carbohydrate economy with the rapidly depleting fossil fuels. Interestingly everything we make from hydrocarbons can also be made with carbohydrates. In fact, burning hydrocarbons is one of the most significant sources of pollution. On the other hand, using renewable and non-renewable carbohydrate sources is cleaner and does not contribute to the pollution issues as much as hydrocarbons. Industrial hemp could be the base of the carbohydrate economy as it can be used for a broad range of purposes.


Uses of Industrial Hemp

Industrial ham is a unique plant that offers highly beneficial characteristics which are not usually found in other species. Rapid growth, the long length of its fibres, and versatile extract from the seeds make hemp very useful as it can be manufactured into other products quickly. Research has shown that it can easily replace industrial feedstock, which is unsustainable and also pollute the environment. Not only this but hemp fibre can also be used as a construction material and may also become a sustainable base for bio-based plastic. Hemp fibres can also be used to make composite plastics which may not be as strong as fiberglass but still would work for many purposes. Interestingly it is also recyclable available at much cheaper prices than glass.


Processing of Bio-Based Fuel

As the world intends to meet the fuel needs through annual plants, we know that the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere will be captured by the plants that will grow next year. However, if we switch to annual plants, the long-term build-up of carbon in the atmosphere will end, which is easily formed by fuel burning. Industrial hemp can be used to process bio-based fuels because of its rapidly growing nature.


Forest Conservation

Wood is being used as a primary source of fibre which is a leading cause of deforestation. Research carried out on industrial hemp has shown that its fibre can be used to make paper, and it will be a less expensive option. Many large paper companies around the world are planning to move their feedstock to non-forest sources. For obvious reasons, hemp is one of the significant components of the non-forest sources.


Pollution Reduction

Different compounds of chlorine are considered to be the driving force behind environmental pollution. Out of all these, dioxins are deemed to be the major contributor to pollution, and it is usually emitted from paper mills. Hemp is relatively low in lignin compared to wood, so it is considered to have fewer chemicals. Hemp already produces a naturally brighter pulp, and its brightness can be maximized by using hydrogen peroxide bleaching. Only water and oxygen are produced as by-products of bleaching. Panel construction products use binders that make noxious compounds that are another significant pollution related issue. New soy based binders are considered a safer alternative to conventional binders, and hemp has been found to be entirely compatible with it.


Hemp and Sustainable Agriculture

Research has found out that hemp is quite resistant to most pests which is why it does not require much herbicides and pesticides. Interestingly if hemp is used in rotation agriculture, it can improve the production of important crops like wheat and barley. Not only this, but it can also reduce the infestation rate, thereby reducing the requirements for pesticides. Hemp is a sustainable and profitable crop as its extensive root system can help consume a lot of nitrogen from the fertilisers from the fields. Hemp is also considered to be an excellent substitute for cotton, which takes about 50% of all pesticides used on different crops.


Recycling

The world is moving towards more and more recyclable products. Hemp is a great substitute for fibre glass which is non recyclable. The recyclable paper produced from the long fibres of hemp pulp can be used numerous times until the fibres are short enough.


Water Conservation

Typically textile crops like cotton usually need a considerable amount of water to grow to the fullest. Interestingly more than one-third of all textile products around the world are made with cotton, and cotton has about 57% exposure to water stress. A single cotton t-shirt requires about 2700 litres of water for its manufacture. Hemp is not a water-intensive crop that uses significantly reduced resources and can be grown in a variety of climates and soil types.

Hemp Gives Back to the Earth

Our improper farming practices lead to a lack of nutrition in the soil, and we know that there is no time for replenishment. It usually leads to soil degradation and eventually impacts our food crops and overall production. Research has shown that hemp gives back to the soil to make it healthier and slows down the process of erosion. Hemp can also be used for photo remediation-the process of removing excess selenium from soil to make the environment cleaner and better.


Hemp for Construction

The world is in constant need of more and more cement for infrastructure. Concrete is a significant component of cement, and its production process is responsible for 8% of the earth's carbon dioxide emission. Hemp can help here as well because hempcrete is a more rigid and safer alternative for concrete that can regulate moisture, hold loads of weight, and offer insulation. 


Hemp Grows Quickly

Last but not least, hemp is a fast crop, and it can be harvested within 60 to 90 days of cultivation. On the other hand, the wood pulp would take at least more than 10 years to grow, which is extremely slow as compared to hemp. All these properties of him make it a better choice for long-term investment for consumers and indeed a better choice for the environment as well.
Since hemp is a beneficial crop, some of the major stakeholders around the world are ready to invest in this sustainable crop and save the world from any more damage due to pollution and global warming.

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