Bettering the Environment

Uses for Hemp: It’s Better for the Planet

As the strongest natural fiber in the world, the uses for hemp reach over 50,000! I won’t list them all, but let’s explore the difference between hemp and Cannabis, some main uses, and how much good it does for the environment.

What is Hemp?

Let’s first clear the smoke between Cannabis and hemp. The Cannabis (Cannabaceae) family holds three main species: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. The hemp plant is part of the Cannabis family; it comes from sativa.

So where’s the difference? THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content is the divider. “Hemp” is a type of Cannabis that has 0.3% or less THC content, and is used for a wide array of industrial and personal purposes.

Anthropologists say hemp was one of the first crops to be cultivated. Along the way, you’ll see Chinese culture utilizing hemp fiber on pottery around 5000 BC, the Puritans in New England planting hemp in 1645, and news of the “best hemp oils of 2021“. Needless to say, it’s been unshakeable for a long time. Let’s see why!

Main Uses for Hemp

What can you do with hemp? No no, the real question is what can hemp do for you? I’m glad you asked! (If this were a face-to-face conversation that’s probably how’d it go, right? #quarantined) Here are some of the top uses for hemp.

Textiles

Personal

Many fashion brands recognize the benefits of using hemp fibers. You can look at sustainable clothing brands to better your understanding of ethical companies that use high-quality, eco-friendly materials. Other personal uses for hemp include handbags, denim, shoes, and fine fabrics like Ralph Lauren lingerie – so you can look sexy while helping the environment 😉

Industrial

With industrial textiles, hemp transforms into objects such as rope, cement, insulation, carpeting, netting, and much more. Hemp is also crucial when building homes because its strength will endure difficult weather and therefore cause less damage to the house.

Body Care

Oils, lotions, and soaps, oh my! Many cosmetics are made from or with hemp because it doesn’t clog pores, it evens out skin tone, and it draws moisture to the skin naturally. I have a stubborn mascara that doesn’t like to come off but I recently wiped my eyes (gently) with hemp oil and it took it off beautifully!

If you’re looking for hair products specifically, these organic hair products that help save the environment have some great brands that use hemp!

Plastic/Paper

Most plastic hemp products are biodegradable and can reduce landfills! For you car lovers, companies like Audi, BMW, Ford, Porsche, and so on, have been picking up speed on using hemp for composite panels. Plastic uses for hemp come from the stalk of the plant, which has a low environmental impact.

Paper products utilize the pulp of the plant. In this case, it’s a more economical way of production than chopping trees. Luckily, people are opting for email receipts and downloads nowadays instead of printing which in itself is the most sustainable method.

Food

Want some more nutrients in your diet? Hemp has your back with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and more. Some examples include adding hemp seeds to your smoothie, crushing them to make oil for your salad, or making use of it as a protein powder.

Hemp seeds

How is Hemp Eco-Friendly?

Similar to bamboo, hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet. Its strong fibers weave together to create objects like rope and cement mentioned above so its strength is one of its best features. The uses for hemp are many, but the environmental factor is even more important.

This plant is environmentally-friendly for a few reasons:

  • decrease of land use
  • possible decrease of our ecological footprint
  • contains few pesticides and no herbicides
  • nutrient-dense soil for sustainable farming
  • purifies the air by absorbing CO2
  • uses little water
  • provides wildlife habitat
  • only takes 3-6 months to grow

I could go on but I’ll spare you the length. With the incredible uses for hemp and the eco-friendly benefits, it’s easy to see why hemp use can create a more sustainable future.

Is It Legal?

Yes! Hemp is federally legal in the United States. In 2018, the FDA approved Cannabis-derived products. If you’ve seen the breakout of CBD on the market lately, this is because CBD derives from the hemp plant with less than 0.3% THC content.

Pathways to bettering the environment can arrive in unexpected and unique ways, but having the knowledge to pave that path will create a brighter future for everyone. You can begin to use hemp products in small doses such as switching out your paper supply as one of many tips to everyday green living.

If hemp can change how we operate in over 50,000 ways, we can do a little something, too.

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Claudia Grimm
Writer and nature lover, I'm a curious gal wanting to share what I've learned in personal and environmental growth. What have I realized the most? Small steps make big impacts!

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