- Hemp has over 50,000 uses and has been cultivated for over 10,000 years
- Non-toxic biodegradable hemp plastics are manufactured from the cellulose extracted from hemp
- Hemp is a cheaper alternative for construction, in the form of hempcrete and cannabricks
- Hemp is an excellent source of protein and offers other health benefits at a lower cost than its substitutes
- Hemp, unlike its substitutes, can be grown in diverse locations with few resources
- Hemp farming is great for water conservation, allowing farmers to spend less on irrigation
- The market for CBD, an oil extracted from the hemp plant, is set for remarkable growth due to increasing demand for CBD-based remedies
- Hemp produces sustainable low-cost fuel
- On a global scale, hemp can help impoverished communities both nutritionally and economically
- Manufacturing, processing, logistical and other skilled and unskilled jobs are being created by the hemp industry
Industrial hemp was once a dominant crop on the global landscape. This hardy and renewable resource (one of the earliest domesticated plants known, with roots dating back to the Neolithic Age in China) was refined for various industrial applications, including paper, textiles, and cordage.
Over time, the use of industrial hemp has evolved into an even greater variety of products, including health foods, organic body care, clothing, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites and more (according to one source, more than 50,000 products can be made from hemp). Hemp is not a panacea for our social, economic, and environmental woes—no single crop can do that. The hemp industry is set to explode by over 328% over the next 5 years and the industrial hemp industry will be worth $3 Billion by 2022.
However, as we transition to a future that embraces more sustainable agriculture practices, industrial hemp can help lead the way. With focused and sustained research and development, hemp could spur dramatic positive ecological and economic benefits. For instance, renewable, fast-growing hemp is a substitute for many unsustainable products like non-organic cotton (which currently uses more than 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides) and many plastic products.
Not only can hemp be used for an astonishing number of products, its net environmental benefit is impressive. Among the more salient features, hemp grows in a variety of climates and soil types, is naturally resistant to most pests, and grows very tightly spaced allowing it to outcompete most weeds. A natural substitute for cotton and wood fibre, hemp can also be pulped using fewer chemicals than wood because of its low lignin content. Its natural brightness can obviate the need to use chlorine bleach.
In 2012 the U.S. hemp industry was valued at an estimated $500 million in annual retail sales and growing for all hemp products, according to the Hemp Industries Association. The European Union signed a declaration in the tale-end of 2018 banning single-use plastics. This trend is set to continue throughout neighbouring countries that practice appropriate waste management and are equally environmentally conscious. The use of hemp plastics will help with manufacturing biodegradable shopping packets, straws, food packaging and many other products we take for granted which are harming our earth, its people and its animals.