Hemp can be used to make virtually anything that is currently made of cotton, timber, or petroleum (including plastics).
Uses for Hemp Edit
In 1941 the Ford motor company produced an experimental automobile out of cellulosic hemp and sisal. The car body could absorb blows 10 times as great as steel without denting. The car was designed to run on hemp fuel. Because of the ban on both hemp and alcohol the car was never mass produced.
Hemp can produce 4 times more ethanol per acre than corn. Bio-diesel can be processed from hemp seed oil.
Hemp seeds have nutritional qualities which make it extremely valuable as a human food. They are high in essential minerals, but low in dangerous heavy metals. They contain a high proportion of protein, containing all eight essential amino acids (needed by, but not made by the human body) in the correct proportions that humans need. Soybeans contain more protein, but these are complex proteins that many people find hard to digest. The proteins in hemp are so easily digestible, that scientists advise their use for treating malnurishment.
Hemp seeds contain large amounts of oil, almost all of it unsaturated. Hemp oil is mainly composed of the essential fatty acids (needed by, but not made by the human body) in exactly the correct proportion that humans need. The supplementary oil industry in the US is just becoming big business, with sales of primrose oil and flax oil rising. These don't contain the right balance of oils, and they taste unpleasant - hemp oil has a delicious nutty taste. However hemp oil has one major drawback - it goes rancid extremely quickly after exposure to air. Vacuum pressing and bottling will keep the oil fresh for up to a year, but after it has been opened it must be kept refrigerated and used very quickly.
Before it was outlawed, biodegradable hemp was used to create cellophane packing material, currently replaced by non-biodegradable styrofoam. CD cases and musical instruments are available made from hemp.
Cotton is typically grown with large amounts of chemicals that are harmful to people, wildlife and the entire environment. Close to 50% of all the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton. Hemp grows well in a wide variety of climates and soils. It requires far less fertilizer and pesticides than most commercial crops.
Hemp requires less water than cotton and grows in cooler climates.
The first American flag was made out of hemp.
Paper made from hemp is naturally acid-free so doesn't yellow, and lasts for centuries compared to 25-80 years for paper made from wood pulp. Important documents such as the United States Declaration of Independance are written on hemp paper.
Pulp made from trees must be bleached using environmentally destructive processes, such as chlorine-bleaching (chlorine is estimated to cause up to 10% of all Cancers). Hemp pulp can be bleached with relatively harmless hydrogen peroxide. Hemp paper can be recycled up to 7 times, wood paper only 4.