Marijuana, Dope, Grass, Pot, Cannabis, Hemp and numerous other names. Almost every person in the world must have heard at least one of these names. And why not? It is, in fact, the most popular plant in the world. The names may suggest the same plant; however, the products this single plant can produce are outrageous.
Cannabis strains used for industrial purposes or Hemp alone are said to have thousands of applications. It is one of the oldest crops ever to be cultivated by humankind. Its cultivation started from the lap of the Himalayas, then started spreading all over Asia and then to Europe and slowly worldwide.
From fabrics to food, recreation to fueling, Cannabis provided numerous purposes and products due to which it quickly became the most cultivated plant in the whole wide world. However, it was listed in the category of ‘Narcotic Drugs’ Schedule IV by U.N. in 1961. This saw a massive downgrade in the production of cannabis products and the cultivation of Marijuana in the world.
However, now the world is finally comprehending the benefits of the plant. On 2nd December 2020, Marijuana was reclassified as a Schedule I drug by U.N., meaning it can be prescribed and used for recreational purposes. Not only this, but this decision has seen the re-cultivation of Marijuana in various countries in the world for industrial purposes as well.
So, what has made the world turn around on itself regarding Marijuana? What are its benefits? Why is it re-regarded as a valuable crop? Keep reading this article to find out some of the industrial purposes of this beneficial flora.
Fabric and Textile
The use of Hemp fabric dates back to more than 8000 BC, although it certainly has had a renaissance of late. Hemp is a type of fabric made from the stalks of the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is one of the most robust natural fabrics known to humans and is significantly more straightforward to grow than cotton.
For more than a millennium, Hemp had been recognized for exceptionally tensile and long-lasting textile fibers. In addition to this, it is naturally hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral. It is also a natural fiber-based fabric that provides the most ultraviolet (U.V.) protection. Additionally, it effectively checks off all the boxes to consider it as a sustainable fabric.
Hemp can also prove to be beneficial to the farmers that decide to cultivate it. As it requires comparatively fewer fertilizers and pesticides than other crops, it significantly drops the cost to grow Hemp. It also requires less water to grow and leaves the soil regenerative. This is especially beneficial for the farmers because the farmers can effectively rotate crops with hemp plantings.
In the past, Hemp’s uses were numerous. They were used as the sails for ships, curtains, bags, ropes, and sacks; due to their strength and durability. But then, it slowly made its way to fashion when it was used to produce lingerie, mixed with silk, and additionally, it is also used in making shoes, jeans, and sports clothing.
Food and Beverages
Cannabis seed or Hemp seed is rich in protein, calcium, and iron. In addition to this, it also has a higher level of Omega-3 fatty acids than walnuts, which help maintain cholesterol and blood pressure. All of this point towards the fact that Hemp has the potential to become a portion of food and a dietary supplement.
Furthermore, hemp oil can be made from its seeds. About 25% of the weight of the seed of oil can be derived from a single hemp seed. It is not only edible but is highly nutritious as well. Additionally, Hemp can make alcoholic drinks like beer and wine. It can be put to good use in iced tea as well.
But the component made out of Hemp that carries the most potential is hemp milk. The slightly nutty-tasting milk is made from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground in water. It is comparatively creamier than most of the other milk options. It is packed with 140 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat per cup. This can further be turned into hemp cheese, hemp butter, and hemp-based protein powder.
Hemp paper accounts for only 0.05% of total paper production in the world. Even though it has been used for over 2000 years, the age-old method to produce this paper makes it more expensive than other paper alternatives.
However, Hemp is a far more sustainable source of pulp for paper and is relatively renewable. The pup that industrial Hemp provides has more tensile strength and has higher tear resistance. Additionally, hemp pulp offers five times longer fibers and a significantly lower lignin fraction than wood fibers.
So, if a modern method of paper production through Hemp can be made, hemp pulp could produce better paper with lesser environmental damage.
In a couple of years, when cellulosic ethanol technology becomes commercial and pretty much any vegetable oil can be converted into bio-diesel, Hemp has a huge potential to become a significant source of providing fuels for daily use engines.
Yes, soon enough, our source of energy (food) can be converted into the source of energy for our machines (fuel). And, Hemp has a higher potential because of its higher growth rate and low requirements as compared to other alternatives plants that can be used for fuel production.
Plastic and Building materials
In the 1940s, Ford made a prototype car solely made out of soy and hemp plastic. Although it never went into mass production, it clearly shows that durable plastic can be made out of Hemp. To add to this, Henry Ford has hit the car several times at that time to prove that bio-plastics can be solid and durable.
Talking about solid and durable, now we must have known that hemp fibers and fabrics are comparatively more robust and durable. These properties of Hemp can be put further into use to produce building materials like concrete made out of Hemp or ‘Hempcrete.’ Engineered products like pressboard and fiberboard are already being produced in some parts of Europe. Netherlands and Ireland have gone as far as to produce insulation for houses and buildings.
Therefore, Hemp or Cannabis can produce lighter, more robust, and, most importantly, environmentally friendly building materials as well.
Three puffs a day of cannabis helps people with chronic nerve pain, it makes them feel less pain and sleep better. About 10% to 15% of patients attending chronic pain clinics use cannabis as part of their pain control strategy
Mark Ware, M