Hemp, The Swiss Army Plant
John Doe Botany 1 Jane Doe 11/2/2013 The Swiss Army Plant Things are not always what they seem. From people to objects, events, and even plants. One plant in Particular I think goes unnoticed or overlooked for many many of its practical uses. This plant has an unfair rap that is generally associated with it. Im talking about the Hemp plant. Hemp is almost always associated with Marijuana by the general public which by and large tends to be seen as a negative relationship. Im not stating weather or not I think that Marijuana is bad or good nor is that the point of this paper, thats is however is it’s own paper entirely.
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Im here to inform you about the Hemp plant and about the multiple of other uses of the plant that have nothing to do with its THC content and the medicinal uses that go along with that. Hemp is actually a term for certain varieties of Cannabis, Scythian, and products that are derived from it and is usually used to describe those varieties that are cultivated to be used industrially. Cannabis is an angiosperm meaning that it produces flowers. This plant is diecious, meaning that there are separate male and female parts on different plants.
Cannabis also will only produce flowers once a year nd then typically it will die after, this is known as being an “annual” plant. The flowers on a Cannabis plant are palmately compound and have serrated leaflets. (Cannabis) Industrial hemp is one of the the oldest, if not the oldest industries the earth has ever seen. “The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC” (Mass). This fibrous plant is making a strong comeback due to the extensive uses it has.
Hemp can be used to make textiles, clothing, auto parts, paper, construction materials, and the il from the seed can be used to make pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetics (Mass). This variety of Cannabis should not be confused with Marijuana. Both are varieties of Cannabis, but much like a Great Dane and a Yorky are different breeds of Canine, Hemp is genetically a different species of Cannabis. It is impossible for someone to extract a drug from industrial hemp and likewise it is impossible for someone to get high from industrial hemp(votehemp).
This is because industrial Hemp contains next to no THC (0. 3% THC)(delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), while Marijuana contains around 5-25% THC. Also industrial hemp contains a high percentage of CBD (cannabidiol) which helps negate the psychoactive effects of THC (votehemp). One of industrial Hemp’s most notorious qualities is that the plant is extremely fibrous. This means that the stalk and bark of the plant will produce fibers that eventually will be used to produce fiber based products such as ropes and textiles.
Hemp Hoers are Known to De some 0T not only tne longes t TIDers on tartn out also some of the softest. (HIA) When compared to cotton fiber, Hemp wins in every way. Hemp is not only stronger and longer then cotton fibers but it also is more absorbent nd is a better insulator then it’s cotton counterpart. (HIA) Some Hemp enthusiasts believe that with the right legislation and support that Hemp could make the cotton industry irrelevant. So not only is raw material of Hemp superior to Cotton, but Hemp is also a renewable resource and can be grown each and every year. Torrance) Unlike Cotton Hemp can be grown virtually anywhere in the world. Along with this adaptability, the efficiency at which Hemp can be produced is amazing. With the same amount of land, say one acre, it would be possible to to produce three times as uch fibre then one acre of cotton would produce. (Sevier) Hemp also aids in over all planetary cleanliness. Hemp helps by being perfectly capable of being grown organically. Half of the chemicals used in agriculture are used to produce cotton while Hemp would require none of these chemicals. Torrance) This is due to the fact that only eight of the one hundred known pests in the world can cause a problem with Hemp. Thus Hemp is usually grown without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. This is because as the Hemp is heated by the sun and gets hotter the plant produces ts own natural pesticide. (Torrance) Hemp also naturally suppresses weeds because it grows tall and also grows a thick canopy early on and blocks out sun and chokes the smaller plants out. (HIA) The combination of all these factors help build the case of why Hemp is used to produce textile products.
For thousands of years people around the globe have been growing hemp for it’s use in textiles. During the sixteenth century every single farmer in the United Kingdom was ordered by Parliament to grow Hemp. Henry VII introduced this act because he wanted to make sure that he had enough of a supply f Sails and ropes for his Royal Navvy. (Sevier) Hemp has always been popular for being used on boats for the sails and rigging not only because of strength of the fibers it creates but also because Hemp is naturally rot resistant. (Torrance) In the past the United States used to have a large Hemp industry also.
For the first half of the twentieth century the United States cultivated somewhere around two and a half million acres of land Just for Hemp production. During World War II United States soldiers uniforms were made of Hemp and it has also been said Levi Strauss first ade his Jeans from Hemp. (Sevier) Hemp is the strongest and most durable natural fiber in the world. This characteristic means that it will outlast other natural fabrics. Many company’s including Patagonia have published studies showing this. The studies show that Hemp has three to eight times more strength. eoctextiles) Unlike many textiles Hemp actually benefits from washing and use. Hemp essentially sheds a microscopic layer each time it is washed increasing in comfort and luster. Shedding a layer makes the material seem fresher and also helps release soil trapped in the fibers. eoctextiles) Due to it’s porous nature, Hemp is very absorbent. Hemp can actually absorb around twenty percent of it’s weight in water while polyester can absorb a maximum of six percent. This means that any fabric that comes in contact with you such as a shirt or bed sheet will feel cooler as perspiration is quickly absorb from your skin.
Likewise in cooler weather air becomes trapped in the fibers and becomes warmed by your skin making the fabric naturally warmer all increasing the overall comTort 0T tne product. (eoctextlles) I ne aDsorDency 0T Hemp also makes It easy to dye. Hemps natural resistance to sunlight enables it to hold the color of the dye longer, resisting fading. (eoctextiles) Hemp not only has the ability for it’s fibers to be made into fine quality linens and textiles but also for it’s pulp to be made into the some of the finest paper.
Hemp paper is not only high quality but the production process is much more efficient then normal wood pulp paper. One acre of Hemp can produce as much usable pulp as four acres of trees. Also not only is Hemp paper stronger and longer lasting then wood paper but it is also acid and chlorine free. Advocates for this super paper also ike to point out that Hemp paper has the ability to be recycled up to seven times while it’s wood based counter parts can only be recycled up to four times. (Motavalli) Overall “Hemp makes a better paper because, it doesn’t require the bleaching process that tree pulp requires.
Hemp is naturally white. Additionally, because it’s not bleached, it doesn’t yelloW'(Torrance) Not bleaching the pulp helps reduce waste and reduces the carbon footprint and is better for the environment. Hemp naturally has a low lignin content which helps with reducing the need to use acids during the ulping process and the natural creamy color makes it able to use more environmentally friendly bleaching process instead of using more harsh chlorine compounds which means that “Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical by-products.
Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. “(thehia. org) The use of Hemp as a paper product has a long history dating back to ancient times. The first ever discovered paper sheets (circa 105 A. D. in China) are believed to have been Hemp paper. (Motavalli) Not only has Hemp been used in ancient history, but it has also been involved in our own United States istory. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew Hemp on their respected plantations. In fact growing Hemp was mandated by the colonial government.
Not only did our government force early settlers to grow Hemp, but in 1776 the founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence on paper made from Hemp. (oecotextiles) The fibrous characteristic of Hemp enables the plan tot be used for a multitude purposes. One that most people probably dont associate not Just Hemp but plants in general is the Hemp plants ability to be used in construction and building materials. There is a material known as “Hemcrete” which is a made from Hemp shiv and lime. Hemcrete is breathable and is the same cost as concrete but much more environmentally friendly. Farmers Weekly) This green version of concrete can be sprayed onto a wooden frame and Just one hectare of Hemp is enough for one house. Since most business are striving to become carbon neutral these days Hemcrete is perfect because not only does it store carbon dioxide that was once used during carbon dioxide, but during it’s lifetime the Hemcrete will absorb even more carbon dioxide from the air. (Farmers Weekly) A manager of one of the United Kingdoms rimary Hemp processor company’s believes that “If you built every new house in the I-JK from Hemcrete, the government could meet its target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. (Farmers Weekly) This same manager has also been monitoring inside temperature and humidity levels in an office building constructed from Hemp. Since the walls naturally breathe there is relatively no difference even with outside conoltlons Tluctuatlng ana ne Delleves tnat tne DullOlng wlll never need to use central heating. (Hargreaves) Due to the fact that acre for acre you can get four times as uch pulp from Hemp than you can trees makes Hemp a perfect substitute for things like particle board used to make mold for concrete pouring. Carpeting has also been made from Hemp.
It’s stronger, rot resistant and also keeps some people having to deal with allergic reactions from new synthetic carpet blends. Plastic plumbing can also be made from renewable Hemp cellulose instead non-renewable, petroleum based plastics. The possibilities are out there and it is possible in the future to entire homes built from renewable Hemp based products. (Herer) Most people usually do not associate Hemp and food together. But it is true, Hemp is indeed edible. Your not going to eat the flower or the stalk though, your going to eat the seed.
Hemp seed is protein packed, providing you with the perfect balance between Omega six and Omega three fatty acids. Unlike most edible seeds, there is very little if any preparation needed to get started. There is no need to grind or soak the seeds, in fact they are quite tasty on their own. (Vegetarian Times) Although you can eat them whole; they taste much like sunflower seeds, you can also grind them up into flour. (Torrance) Hemp seeds naturally have to the most recommended alance of Omega six to Omega three fatty acids which is three to one.
This ratio is recommended by most health organizations including the World Health Organization. Hemp seeds are the perfect package, not only do they offer all nine essential amino acids but they also contain fiber and never contain GMOs. (Kadey) Hemp is such an effective food product that a local Canadian Business man states that “Four hundred hectares of hemp will provide 1900 people per year with a 2000- calorie, protein-rich diet. “(Ross) The possibilities of which to use Hemp as a food product are numerous. The seeds themselves are tasty and they can be thrown into nut mixes and put into granola bars and cereals.
While also the oil from the seeds can be used in everyday cooking or made into salad dressings. (Blackwood) It is honestly a shame that a plant that is so versatile is no longer used to it’s full extent. Mainly because of a delinquent distant cousin, Hemp was put in the corner and is still waiting to be called back into action. There are so many uses for Hemp that possibilities are near endless. As technology advances so does the uses of the Hemp plant. I hope to one day see this “Miracle” plant back in full force. Cannabis. Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Cannabis Mass, E. (2009). Hemp: The New, Old Fiber Makes a Comeback for Clothes, Fabrics and Home Furnishings. Natural Life, (127), 36-38. Why Industrial Hemp? (2007) Retrieved from http://www. votehemp. com/ Torrance, K. (1997). The hemp hype. Alberta Report / Newsmagazine,24(36), 30. Facts retrieved from http://www. thehia. org/facts. html Sevier, L. (2008). Hemp on the high street?. Ecologist, 38(7), 60-63. Unknown Author Oune 2010). Characteristics of Hemp. Retrieved from oecotextiles. wordpress. com Motavalli,J. (2004). THE PAPER CHASE. cover story).
E: The Environmental Magazine, 15(3), 27-37. Hemp – could it be the break you are looking for?. (2007). Farmers Weekly, 147(10), 31 . Herer, J. (1990). The forgotten history of hemp. Earth Island Journal,5(4), 35. Hargreaves, B. (2007). High hopes. Professional Engtneenng, 20(1 5), 24-25. HEMP, HEMP, HOORAY!. (2013, June). vegetarian Times, (403). 62. Kadey, M. G. (2006). hemp does a body good. Better Nutrition, 68(1 1), 50-52. Ross, N. (2011). Hemp Hero. Alternatives Journal, 37(5), 44. Blackwood, A. , & Quick, S. (2003). give hemp a chance. Health (Time Inc. Health), 17(7), 176.