Benefits of Hemp

Hemp is one of the most versatile plants known. It can be grown in most climates, is drought resistant, requires little fertiliser, minimal pesticides or herbicides, and has a range of uses. The seeds can be used as food and fodder, and can be processed to produce hemp oil. The stalks provide fibre for textiles, clothing, rope, paper and building products. The bulk of the woody stalks can be used for paper, animal bedding, and plastics. The hemp plant biomass can be used to produce fuel. Anything that trees/timber can be used to produce, hemp can produce and more, including house construction.    

This one crop can provide the basics of life – food, shelter, clothing, fuel and medicine. In fact almost anything from 'dynamite to Cellophane' can be made from hemp.

Why use hemp for all these products? There are two main reasons – one ecological, one economic.

Ecological: As a renewable resource from living plants hemp does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. The growing plants absorb as much CO2 as will later be released when oil or other plant matter is burnt. Unlike fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) or nuclear fuels hemp could supply us with raw materials for thousands of years, without ever changing our climate and without producing waste that remains radioactive for millions of years.

Hemp is a natural plant material that can be grown with little or no herbicides and pesticides, and little fertiliser. Therefore in terms of the agricultural system it is more ecologically sensitive. In paper and textile production, it can be processed without toxic chemicals, whereas alternatives such a cotton or textiles and wood pulp for paper, require large amounts of toxic chemicals.

Because hemp is not a fussy grower and can grow in a wide range of soils and climatic conditions it is ideal for a bioregional approach. It is a bulky crop and does not require high capital technology to process, making it ideal to process locally, increasing local employment and economy, and saving transport costs and pollution.


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