Hemp is the longest, strongest most durable natural fiber known to mankind and has been used for over twelve thousand years. Hemp can be grown in four months, is drought resistant and does not require herbicides or pesticides. The hemp plant is harvested for its fibers, seed, seed-meal and seed oil. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. Due to the similar leaf shape; hemp is frequently confused with marijuana. Although both plants are from the species cannabis, hemp contains virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. Hemp cannot be used as a drug because it produces virtually no THC (less than one percent), where marijuana produces between five to twenty percent THC.
Hemp is among the earth’s primary renewable resources. Trees cut down to make paper take fifty to five-hundred years to grow back while hemp can be cultivated in as little as one-hundred days, and can yield four times more paper over a twenty year period. Hemp also does not require pesticides, while half the pollutants in the U.S. today are sprayed on cotton plants, hemp is naturally mildew resistant, requires no pesticides, and maintains a healthy environment for the surrounding streams, air, flora and fauna. Hemp slows ozone depletion: the industrial use of fossil fuels, like petroleum, contributes to global warming by rapidly increasing the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere; however, hemp fuels, derived from the plant itself, maintain the earth’s natural O2/CO2 balance. Hemp paper can save the forests. One acre of hemp, in annual rotation over a twenty-year period would produce as much pulp for paper as four point one acres of trees being cut down over the same twenty year period.
And while hemp reaches full growth and can be harvested every year, the trees, which are cut down, take hundreds of years to return. The process of making paper from hemp uses only one fifth to one seventh as much polluting, sulfur-based chemicals and does not require the use of any chlorine bleach. Hemp as fuel is environmentally beneficial, it enriches and prevents erosions; it burns clean and sulfur-free while oil’s sulfur content causes acid rain. Hemp can also produce ten times more methanol than corn, the second best living fuel source. Hemp as fuel is renewable whereas oil is not. Hemp is a strong, natural medicine: hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, proven to be effective treatment for patients suffering from cancer, cardiovascular disease, glandular atrophy, gallstones, kidney degeneration, acne, dry skin, menstrual problems, and immune deficiency.
Hemp extracts can be used to treat a variety of physical and mental ailments that include tuberculosis, glaucoma, depression, and the side effects of cancer therapy. Prior to this century, hemp extracts were the most commonly used medicines throughout the world. Hemp is nutrient-rich: the seeds of the hemp plant contain approximately twenty-five percent protein, almost as much as soybeans, and in fact are far higher in fiber and certain vitamins and minerals. Hemp is a natural beauty product: hemp seeds are composed of thirty percent oils, which are the highest natural source of linoleic and linolenic acids, the compounds responsible for the luster of skin, hair and eyes; these extracts are now popular ingredients in massage oils, lip balms, soaps, shampoos, and lotions.