What is Hemp?
Apr 07, 2017 12:49PM ● Published by Rachel Anderson
Hemp has an enormous number of industrial and sustainable uses as well, and people have known this for quite some time. Historic evidence shows that hemp was used for things like clothing and strengthening pottery as far back as 10,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest known agricultural crops. Medicinal uses have been recorded as far back as 2700 BC.
When the colonists arrived in North America, the European homeland made cultivating hemp mandatory. Over the next few hundred years, as the colonies developed, people were either required to grow hemp or highly encouraged—to the degree that fines were sometimes given to those who did not participate in growing the highly soughtafter resource. During peak times of hemp production, such as during times of war, the military relied heavily on hemp for rope, sailcloth, parachutes, and paper, for example.
Hemp eventually fell out of favor in the early 1900s due to a manifested propaganda campaign that was spread widely via media channels and a national speaking tour. It is believed that Mexico introduced the recreational use of hemp, which did not sit well with some US citizens.
Hemp was even renamed marijuana in order to confuse the public, who historically believed hemp was an efficient natural resource and a medicinal plant. The propaganda worked—too well. The brainwashing campaign eventually led to cannabis prohibition. Today, we are still fighting for the right to grow and use the life-sustaining resource.
The hemp plant is environmentally friendly, it grows very fast, and it has a versatile range of uses. The stalk can be used to make textiles: clothing, bags, shoes, rope, canvas, carpet. It can be used for industrial products such as composite materials, boards, insulation, hempcrete, animal bedding, mulch, paper, and cardboard. Hemp seed is a nutritious food that’s consumed in many forms: flour, milk, cereal, protein, oil, omegas—even animal feed. Hemp seed is also used in many skin care products such as soaps, creams, and cosmetics.
The hemp plant itself can even be used for industrial cleanup, as it absorbs contaminants out of the earth as it grows.
With all of these traits, hemp is an environmentally friendly and sustainable replacement for certain coal and oil products and some plastics. It can also replace some paper and building materials, which may stop forests from being ravaged.
We must support efforts that aim to protect hemp as an agricultural and industrial crop. Individually, you can write politicians, attend informational meetings and educational seminars, support organizations working toward appropriate wording for the hemp plant—distinguishing it from marijuana plants—and most importantly, help spread factual information.
As a group, we can help create and vote for smart policy. We can collectively let our voices be heard by signing petitions. And we must diligently follow all local guidelines currently set forth for hemp farms and businesses.
Hemp needs your support. To join the fight, visit these sites and get involved.