|.....HEMP - A SUSTAINABLE NATURAL ECONOMY FOR OUR FUTURE|
|We have compiled a hemp facts section for the reader to learn more about this wonderful under-utilised plant resource which has the potential to provide ecological solutions in so many areas of our lives.
Our sources for this information are listed at the end of this section where you will also find links to sites where even more such information on hemp and hemp products can be found
Fibre and textiles
Nutrition and Health
Cosmetic and Healing properties
Paints and cleaners
A Sustainable Natural Economy for our Future
|Hemp is one of the most complete plants in Nature
It is a supremely useful, flexible and economical crop. It can be used to produce a surprisingly large range of materials, from fibre to fuel to food.
Both hemp and marijuana come from the Cannabis sativa plant but are different varieties of the same plant.
The industrial form of this plant is Cannabis sativa sativa (Hemp), while the medicinal and recreational form is Cannabis sativa indica (Marijuana).
Commercially grown hemp, or industrial hemp, contains negligible amounts (0.3% as compared to 15-20% in marijuana) of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana which contributes to marijuana’s medicinal value as well as its mood altering effects.
Hemp is harvested for its stalks and seeds and not its low-THC flowers. It cannot be used for intoxication.
In 1937 in the U.S chemical, synthetic fibre and paper industries and the government in alliance with the media managed to ban the growth of hemp crops which had been a major textile industry since 1776. Unfortunately the rest of the “western” world followed the U.S lead.
Essentially, U.S. Government restrictions placed on hemp cultivation were a direct result of a sustained lobbying effort by influential petroleum, timber and synthetic fibre interests who saw hemp as a threat to their business.
The press demonised the Cannabis plant and made no separation between the “evil weed”, portrayed in propaganda films such as "Reefer Madness", and industrial hemp.
Before that United States Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, used products made from hemp, and praised the hemp plant in their writings.
President George Washington said in 1794 "Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
Americans were legally bound to grow it during the Colonial Era and Early Republic.
But unfortunately by the 1940s, hemp as a commercial crop had been legislated out of existence by the vested interests in the chemical and paper industries. As a result, legislators still find it difficult to distinguish between hemp the drug and hemp the crop.
Commercial hemp is NOT a narcotic. Narcotic hemp plants have a poor fibre content, and commercial hemp plants have a very low narcotic content.
This misunderstanding needs to be corrected.
Recently, hemp has been rediscovered as a natural resource that has great economic and environmental potential as it is capable of producing significant quantities of paper, textiles, building materials, food, medicine, paint, detergent, varnish, oil, ink, and fuel.
Today, hemp is cultivated in 31 different countries including China, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland and other Eastern European countries, Australia and South Africa to name a few.
Hemp cultivation was recently permitted in Great Britain and in Canada on a trial basis. The European Community began subsidising hemp production in the early 1990s.
Hemp grows almost anywhere and requires no pesticides or fertiliser. The plant is good both for the soil and the atmosphere.
The potential for hemp is vast including sustainable bio-mass (power) and bio-diesel (fuel).
It could help transform the economy of our civilisation into a sustainable, friendlier and more natural one so that our future relationship with the land is not one of destructive exploitation but of peaceful co-existence.
A renewable plant-based economy presents a solution to the crisis we are currently facing as non-renewable hydrocarbons (petroleum and other fossil fuels) on which we heavily depend for energy and resources face a dead end.
Using plants as our primary source of energy and other materials would bring us back into a closer balance with Nature and stop our race from creating never-ending deadly pollution.
Hemp is a plant with great potential to develop a sustainable economy and provide a healthier standard of living for our future.
It is the fastest growing agricultural crop and is gentle on the land, requiring no chemicals in its cultivation.
Since hemp is biodegradable and natural, it will not become part of the rubbish that is filling our landfills or polluting the world.
|Hemp is one of the oldest plants used by mankind, going back more than 10,000 years.
It has been cultivated for thousands of years and hemp seeds have been found in archaeological excavations over much of the World.
Hemp was our planet's largest agricultural crop and most important industry for thousands of products and enterprises.
Hemp was used since 8000BC and produced the overall majority of the earth's fibre, fabric, lighting oil, fishing nets, rope, paper, sails, lamp oil, incense and medicines, as well as being a primary source of protein for humans and animals alike.
Some of the oldest paper found in tombs in China was made from hemp fibre.
The earliest-known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium
Hemp ropes, cords and fabrics were essential to the early exploration of the World, providing ropes and sails for ships, paper, lamp oil, shelter and clothing for settlers.
In 1492 hemp was used for sails, ropes, rigging and clothes on the sea-going ships of that period, including those used by Columbus as he set out to "discover" America.
Hemp was, for many years, essential to the economy of many countries.
The British Empire was built on hemp. The ships all used hemp, from the sails to the ropes down to the sailor's uniforms.
Britain and France went to war over protecting the Russian hemp supplies, as the Russian hemp made the strongest sails and ropes.
In the 1600's some of the great masters, including Rembrandt and Van Gogh, used hemp canvas and hemp based paints for their paintings
In 1611 The King James Bible was printed on hemp paper
In Elizabethan times, farmers were fined for not growing hemp.
William Shakespeare wrote on hemp paper.
Abraham Lincoln lit his oil lamps with hemp oil.
Benjamin Franklin started one of America's first paper mills with hemp Paper
Ford in the 30's Henry Ford built and powered a car with hemp.
The word 'linen', until the early 1800s meant any coarse fabrics made from hemp or flax.
The war between America and Great Britain in 1812 was mainly about access to Russian hemp.
Napoleon's principle reason for invading Russia in 1812 was also due to Russian hemp supplies.
In 1776 the first draft of the American Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper and Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag using hemp canvas.
In the 1800's hemp canvas was used to cover the American pioneer's wagons. 80% of all textiles for clothes, linens, rugs, quilts, sheets and towels in America are made from hemp.
In the United States of America, for 200 years, taxes could be paid in bales of hemp.
In 1930 new techniques allowed paper to be manufactured from wood pulp. Man-made fibres were introduced, Due Pont patented their new "plastic" fibre.
In 1937 US industrial interests lobbied Congress to have the growing of hemp banned. Once banned the field was left open for cotton and man-made fibres.
Much of the world's paper was made from hemp until about 1850. Since the 1900s, all newspapers and most books and magazines were printed on wood-pulp paper. Cheap throwaway paper, fitting in with a disposable economy.
With the World War II disrupting textile imports the USA government lifted the hemp ban. The US Army and Department of Agriculture released their "Hemp for Victory" campaign asking American farmers to grow hemp to service wartime needs.
The government subsidised hemp agriculture during World War II, and farmers grew about a million acres of hemp as part of that program.
|FIBRES AND TEXTILES|
|People have been using hemp to make textiles for some 6000 years all over the world.
The hemp plant grows to heights of 15-20 foot and the fibre, when stripped from the plant, is as long as the plant itself, giving hemp added strength when woven into textile.
Hemp cloth therefore is extremely hard wearing and has a longer life. It outwears cotton and other plants’ shorter fibres.
Hemp is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts much longer, will not mildew and is resistant to the destructive effects of UV-radiation found in sunlight.
Many textile products (shirts, jackets, pants, backpacks, purses, backpacks, curtains, tablecloths etc.) made from 100% hemp are now available.
From the strongest rope to the finest lace, hemp is the earth’s most versatile fibre and is responsible for thousands of products on the market today.
You can make carpets and rope out of the thicker, stronger fibre. The finest hemp fibre is delicate enough to be woven together with silk.
Over time it becomes softer without losing its shape or appearance and given reasonable care it will render a lifetime of service.
Hemp does not need special care. Hemp is easy to iron and can withstand high temperatures.
Canvas is hemp and comes from the Arabic name for hemp - Cannabis.
The first Levis blue jeans were made from ship sail canvas made of 100% hemp. The canvas was imported from Nim in France. “From nim” is "de Nim" in french and that’s where we get "denim" from.
HEMP v. COTTON
Hemp is extremely efficient from an environmental perspective as a bonus to its superior quality.
Hemp suppresses weeds and leaves the soil rich in nitrogen deposits, increasing yields on rotational crops such as soybeans and corn.
Cotton needs a specific climate, requires more water, large quantities of fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides.
Hemp in contrast, is frost tolerant and can grow in most climates with moderate water and fertiliser requirements, no pesticides because it is unpalatable to insects and no herbicides because it grows too quickly for any weed to compete.
Hemp cloth repels up to 95% of UV rays when woven into a tight construction.
Hemp is more water absorbent than cotton and has 3 times the tensile strength.
One acre of hemp will produce as much fibre as 2-3 acres of cotton per year.
Using virtually no pesticides, hemp produces 250% more fibre than cotton.
Half of all agricultural chemicals in the U.S. are used in conjunction with cotton growing. That means half the chemical runoff that is polluting our rivers and streams comes from cotton growing.
The cotton plant has been genetically engineered to the point where it is no longer a natural fibre, but rather a plant that is designed to stand up to the strains of chemical pesticides sprayed on it.
The oldest tradition of hemp cultivation is in China. The discovery of new softening techniques and the investment of millions of dollars into the hemp factories in China has resulted in hemp garments that still retain all the traditional qualities of hemp textile but with a softness and quality that has not been seen before.
Major designers like Armani, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren have been using hemp fabric in their collections for department stores and signature collections.
From tissue paper to cardboard, all types of paper can be produced from hemp.
|NUTRITION AND HEALTH|
|Cannabis hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life.
Hemp’s profile of proteins and fats are the most complete and ideal for human nutrition.
No other single plant source provides complete protein in such an easily digestible form, nor has the oils essential to life in as perfect a ratio for human health and vitality.
The complete protein in hemp seed gives the body all the essential amino acids the body needs to make antibodies and boost our immune system.
The body's ability to resist and recover from illness depends upon how rapidly it can produce massive amounts of antibody to fend off the initial attack.
Hemp seeds contain a protein that is more nutritious and more economical to produce than soybean protein.
No other plant source, not even the soybean, compares to hemp in its range and balance of nutritional benefits, making hemp the world’s premier food source.
Hemp seeds have fibre, protein and essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Essential fatty acids are important compounds that cannot be produced by the body itself and are vital for the structure and functions of tissues in the body.
Essential fatty acids govern growth, vitality and state of mind.
Hemp is the earth’s best source of EFAs not only because it has the highest total EFAs of any seed oil (80%) but also because the EFAs are present in a perfect ratio which is considered the optimum balance for human health.
Hemp seeds, which are also a rich source (approx. 25%) of high quality protein, contain all 9 essential amino acids.
Omega 3, 6 and GLA in hemp oil are present in a biochemical optimal ratio of 2.5:1 respectively. It is this presence of these fatty acids in this particular ratio that helps improve skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Hemp oil may also benefit other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Hemp oil also contains GLA, the active component in Evening Primrose Oil, which may be successful in the treatment of eczema, PMT, menopause and arthritis.
Regular adult users report that their skin becomes softer, nails and hair stronger and thicker after only a few weeks of 1-2 tablespoons per day.
EFAs lower blood pressure, help organ muscles to contract and regulate stomach acid and body temperature.
EFAs are also necessary for the normal functioning of the reproductive system, hormone regulation and for breaking up cholesterol deposits in the arteries. A body deficient in EFAs causes changes in cell structure that can result in brittle and dull hair, nail problems, dandruff, allergies and dermatitis.
In fact, most diseases associated with ageing from arthritis to liver spots on the skin, are results of EFA deficiencies.
Hemp seeds are not intoxicating.
Buddha was reputed to have eaten one hemp seed per day on his six year fast to discipline himself before attaining enlightenment.
Hemp seed protein can be used to produce virtually any product made from soybean: tofu, veggie burgers, butter, chutneys, pastas, salad dressings, flours, cheese, ice cream, milk, granola bars, etc.
Hemp seed can also be ground into a nutritious flour that can be used to produce baked goods such as pasta, cookies, and breads.
Hemp seed does not contain the anti-nutrient trypsin inhibitors as found in soy milk.
Hemp Seed Milk recipe – to access the full nutritional impact of the hemp seed follow this simple recipe:
* Take some organic fresh hemp seed and soak for 24 hours in distilled water with a few organic almonds.
* Drain, rinse and blend in a blender with a little distilled water.
* Strain through a cloth or sieve.
This milk will then be ready to drink and should be consumed immediately, although it will keep for 48 hours refrigerated. This milk will combine well with all fruits and vegetables.
Hemp's success in the marketplace is visible not only in the human sector but also in animal feed sectors. Hemp has been used as a high protein feed supplement for cows and chickens.
To buy hemp oil online try www.hempmarket.com, www.yaoh.co.uk and www.motherhemp.com and look out for a great hemp oil called "Good Oil" in Waitrose's, Sainsbury's, or yo local health food shops' shelves
|COSMETIC AND HEALING PROPERTIES|
|When processed and stored correctly, the beneficial properties of the oil can be readily absorbed by the skin. Hemp seed oil is noted for these additional benefits:
* Superb moisturiser, natural anti-inflammatory
* Rare source of gamma-linoleic acid
* Protects from UV radiation and pollution
* Assists healing, soothes acne
* Prevents and repairs hair damage
* Treats eczema and psoriasis
* Rich in anti-oxidants
Hemp's essential fatty acid profile is key to hemp oil working well in a variety of cosmetic applications.
Well known companies like Revlon, Dr. Bronners, Jason's, Kiss My Face, Supre, The Body Shop, Higher Nature and Alterna have been successful with their lines of hemp oil based cosmetics and hair care products, while smaller, entrepreneurial concerns have flourished with soaps, lip balms, moisturisers and more.
There is no end to the personal care products that can be made with hemp seed oil which is competitive with other high grade oils.
The primary oil used in most cosmetics, is mineral oil, a petroleum derivative. Many people do not realise that the makeup and personal care products they apply to their face and body are petroleum based.
Mineral oils are made up of fossilised or dead carbon whilst oils from living plants contain live carbon sources. The lower price of mineral oils means most our cosmetics carry this carrier oil which provides us with no beneficial oils.
There is a natural alternative that actually feeds our skin with omega-3,6 and 9 nutrients. Hemp oil.
Hemp oil, on the other hand, has been found to be a highly nutritious, essential hair and skin aid for promoting growth and slowing the ageing process.
Hemp has excellent healing and moisturising properties for healing skin ailments and is particularly useful for people who suffer from eczema and psoriasis.
It has been clinically proven to have biochemical and therapeutic effects when topically applied.
Hemp oil can be found in shampoo, soap, conditioner, hair gel, bath gel, moisturiser, lipstick and other cosmetic preparations.
|Hemp seed oil can be used to produce non-toxic diesel fuel, paint, varnish, detergent, ink and lubricating oil.
Hemp offers a valuable and sustainable fuel of the future, "growing oil wells". Hemp has an output equivalent to around 1000 gallons of methanol per acre year (10 tons Biomass/acre each yielding 100 gal. methanol/ton). Methanol used today is mainly made from natural gas, a fossil fuel. Methanol is currently being studied as a primary fuel for automobiles, hopefully reducing CO2 levels.
Because hemp seeds account for up to half the weight of a mature hemp plant, hemp seed is a viable source for these products.
Industrial hemp is the number one biomass producer on earth, meaning it is an actual contender for an economically competitive, clean burning fuel. Just as corn or sugarcane can be converted into clean-burning ethanol fuel, so can hemp. Planting only 6 percent of the continental United States for example, with biomass crops such as hemp would supply all current domestic demands for oil and gas.
Hemp has four times the biomass and cellulose potential and eight times the methanol potential of its closest competing crop - corn.
Burning coal and oil are the greatest sources of acid rain. Biomass fuels burn clean and contain no sulphur and produce no ash during combustion.
We have to rethink our energy policies and the use of hemp in biomass can parallel the use of other biomass crops as we discover the huge potential of our farms to deliver our energy needs.
The cycle of growing and burning biomass crops keeps the world’s carbon dioxide level at perfect equilibrium, which means that we are less likely to experience the global climate changes brought about by excess carbon dioxide and water vapours after burning fossil fuels (see also our climate change facts section).
Producing clean energy instead of endangering our health and safety with the last remains of an unsustainable and dirty source would be the obvious way forward.
At the moment, there are a number of companies world-wide who are researching and doing test applications of biomass fuel who have taken an interest in hemp.
Henry Ford dreamed that someday automobiles would be grown from the soil. The Ford motor company, after years of research produced an automobile with a plastic body. Its tough body used a mixture of 70% cellulose fibres from hemp. The plastic withstood blows 10 times as great as steel could without denting! Its weight was also 2/3 that of a regular car, producing better economy. Henry Ford was forced to use petroleum due to hemp prohibition. His plans to fuel his fleet of vehicles with plant-power also failed due to Alcohol prohibition at the time.
|Hemp can also be used to produce strong, durable and environmentally-friendly plastic substitutes and to reinforce regular plastics.
Thousands of products made from petroleum-based plastics can be produced from hemp-based composites.
Mercedes Benz of Germany has recently begun manufacturing automobile bodies and dashboards made from hemp.
Biodegradable hemp plastics are now available in various forms. The first hemp plastic product to be commercially produced was a high fly, leading to a CD and DVD tray produced in 2004. More information at www.hempplastic.com.
|The market potential for hemp in building materials for home, industry and automotive is huge.
The number of industrial applications for non-wood fibres is growing by the day and hemp is the premier alternative source. Once hemp can be grown on a large, economically competitive scale, manufacturers will see that it outperforms other natural fibres due to its length and strength.
To date, niche markets have been successfully developed in England and France for hemp to act as a replacement or additive to packaging, fibreboard, cement and even animal bedding.
Hemp can be used to make cars. There are companies in Europe and the U.S. who make door panels and dashboards by compressing hemp fibres and adding resin or plastic.
Henry Ford designed and built a car from compression-moulded hemp and other natural fibres. He designed it to run on hemp biomass fuel. Ford, Mercedes Benz and others have replaced more expensive and dangerous fibreglass with hemp. These cars are already on the roads today.
You can build a house with hemp. Today it is being used to produce caulking, cement, fibreboard, flooring, insulation, panelling, particleboard, plaster, plywood, reinforced concrete and roofing.
The hardened material is resistant to rotting, rodents, insects and fire. It is many times lighter than cement and provides both thermal and sound insulation.
Concrete pipes reinforced with hemp fibre cost less than one third the price of conventional polypropylene (a material similar to plastic) reinforced concrete pipes.
Fibreboard made from hemp is twice as strong and three times more elastic than fibreboard made from wood. Because of its superior strength and flexibility, it is resistant to cracking and breaking and therefore excellent for areas susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
Henry Ford was fond of saying, "Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down if we can get the equivalent of forests and mineral products from the annual growth of the fields?"
George Washington’s response brings home our current situation "I believe that the great Creator has put ores and oil on this earth to give us a breathing spell. As we exhaust them, we must be prepared to fall back on our farms, which is God’s true storehouse and can never be exhausted. We can learn to synthesise material for every human need from things that grow."
|PAINTS AND CLEANERS|
|The market for natural cleaners has been in evidence for many years. Now industry is realising what consumers have known all along; that a good cleaning job does not necessarily require noxious chemicals.
That means a rapidly growing natural cleaning market.
Some European companies are currently producing hemp oil based cleaners. Hemp oil detergents can be used in commercial grade laundries and dishwashers, as well as to clean engines and bodies of trains, automobiles and aeroplanes. Hemp based general purpose cleaners are effective alternatives for all household cleaning applications.
All cleaning products rely on "surfactants" (agents which act on surfaces). Many synthetic surfactants are derived from petroleum or other chemicals.
Natural surfactants, from vegetable oils, can do the job as well or better than chemical-based surfactants. Some companies that use chemical surfactants must pay to treat their polluted wastewater in order to comply with environmental laws.
Why not just use natural biodegradable cleaners?
European tests indicate that hemp seed oil based natural surfactant cleaners work as well or better than those based on other oils such as coconut, soy or canola.
Hemp based products can clean everything from windows and furniture to jet aeroplane engines. As well, hemp oil is a candidate for many of the industrial applications covered by linseed (flax) oil.
Hemp oil has a natural drying agent and is used in paints, varnishes and sealants which render wood highly resistant to water. In fact, up until 1937, all quality paints were made with a base of hemp oil.
|A SUSTAINABLE NATURAL ECONOMY FOR OUR FUTURE|
|Hemp is a plant with the potential to provide valuable ecological solutions to help our civilization transform its economy to a more natural one.
All energy for life on earth comes from the sun through plants. In order to create a sustainable cycle for life, a viable economy must be based on renewable carbohydrates (plants) — the vital alternative to non-renewable hydrocarbons (petroleum and other fossil fuels).
The primary reason that our civilization is out of balance with the environment is because it depends too heavily on fossil fuels for energy and resource needs.
The exploitation of stored solar energy locked into fossil fuels by prehistoric plants releases enormous quantities of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that threaten our health, our future economy, and, ultimately, the sustainability of our presence and that of other species on this planet.
Today, with the very real environmental threats such as global warming, a plant-based economy presents a solution to this crisis.
When we utilize plants as our primary resource for energy and other materials, we come back into balance, creating a closed loop that does not generate pollution.
In order to develop a sustainable economy and provide a healthier standard of living for our future, we must work with plants and develop agricultural and processing methods that don't harm our environment.
Hemp is a plant with enormous potential in this regard. It is the fastest growing agricultural crop and is gentle on the land, requiring no chemicals in its cultivation.
Sources: www.hemp.co.uk, www.yaoh.co.uk, www.thehempstore.co.uk, www.ecolution.com
Is this not baffling? We have a plant that could do us so much good in
so many ways, and yet its potential has been quashed and marginalised
by the interests of powerful chemical and textile companies. We should fight to give hemp its well-deserved place in our lives as it will only benefit us and the world we live in.
Join us in trying to inform as many people about the benefits of supporting the hemp
industry and help us to spread the word about this sacred plant - Cannabis sativa.
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