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Hemp Uses

There are more than 25,000 known uses for hemp. Almost any product that can be made from wood, cotton, or petroleum, including plastics can be made from hemp. Hemp is considered the world's most versatile fiber.

The first drafts of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were printed on hemp paper. Not surprisingly the original Levi Strauss jeans made for the Sierra gold miners were made of hemp sailcloth. Alice in Wonderland was originally printed on hemp paper. Rudolph Diesel designed his namesake engine to run on vegetable oils, including hempseed oil. Hempseed oil once greased machines. Most paint, resins, shellacs, and varnisheswere made out of linseed and hempseed oils. Much of the bird seed sold in the United States has hemp seed in it. Hemp seed contains about 25% protein of which is more easily digestible than soybean protein.

Hemp seed is high in protein, amino acids and essential fatty acids, making it one of the most nutritionally complete food sources on earth. Hemp seed, is high in B-vitamins, and is 35% dietary fiber. Hemp seed oil is one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and other nutrients responsible for healthy skin and hair.

One acre of hemp produces twice as much oil as one acre of peanuts. Hemp oil is the highest source of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which, among other things, help control cholesterol, arterial blockage and the immune system. At a volume level of 81%, hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. It is quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother's milk.

Hemp particle board may be up to two times stronger than wood particleboard and holds nails better. Hemp paper can be recycled up to seven times; wood pulp paper can be recycled four times. Because of its low lignin content, hemp can be pulped using less energy and chemicals than wood requires, resulting in less pollution and energy consumption.

Conventional cotton refers to cotton grown with the aid of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, defoliants and herbicides. Conventional cotton occupies only 3% of the world's farmland yet demands fully 25% of the world's chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Conventional cotton textile manufacturing involves bleaches, formaldehyde and other chemical finishes. These lead to chemical residue which may result in skin irritation and respiratory problems. With children, these problems can persist well into their adult years. Organically grown cotton involves no chemical pesticides, fertilizers or defoliants.

Hemp is the oldest cultivated fiber plant in the world. The bark of the hemp stalk contains bast fibers which are among the Earth's longest natural soft fibers and are also rich in cellulose; the cellulose and hemi-cellulose in its inner woody core are called hurds. Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, and more mildew-resistant than cotton. Hemp fiber is longer, stronger, more absorbent and more insulative than cotton fiber.

Hemp and its products are environmentally sound, cannot be abused and can be put to multiple uses, saving the destruction of trees and other nonrenewable resources. Hemp fabric is softer, warmer, more water resistant and more durable than cotton. Hemp fabric also uses less chemicals to produce. Hemp can displace cotton which is grown with massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. Fifty percent of the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton. One acre of hemp can produce as much usable fiber as 4 acres of trees or two acres of cotton.

Instead, organic solutions are met by using compost, manure, naturally derived minerals and sensible crop rotation to keep land fertile. Insect control involves the use of "beneficial bugs" and natural pesticides certified for organic crops. Naturally colored cotton has been bred to be self-colored and therefore requiring no dyes. Organic cottons come in a versatile range of earth tones - rust, cream, browns and greens.

Eco-friendly hemp can replace most toxic petrochemical products. Research is being done to use hemp in manufacturing biodegradable plastic products: plant-based cellophane, recycled plastic mixed with hemp for injection-molded products, and resins made from the oil, to name just a very few examples. Eco-friendly hemp can replace most toxic petrochemical products. Research is being done to use hemp in manufacturing biodegradable plastic products: plant-based cellophane, recycled plastic mixed with hemp for injection-molded products, and resins made from the oil, to name just a very few examples.

Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution. The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global warming. Hemp can be blended with diesel fuel in any ratio or used alone. Biodiesel fuel is the only alternative fuel that can be used as-is, in any unmodified diesel engine. The flashpoint of petroleum fuel is 125 degrees Fahrenheit while the flashpoint of biodiesel fuels is 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Hemp fuel is 10 times less toxic than salt, and as biodegradable as sugar. Henry Ford used hemp to build and fuel early Ford automobiles.

About the Author
Francesca Black works in marketing at Organic Items and Pilates Shop leading portals for organic products and natural excercise.