Since the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and products derived from hemp, we have seen an expansion of hemp products into multiple industries. We can find a vast number of products made from hemp, such as fabrics and plastics, health and wellness products, and so much more. The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to hemp! There are two main types of hemp that are used for these purposes, industrial hemp and medicinal hemp. Let’s take a deep dive into these two forms of hemp and learn how they can be used.
What is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial hemp is grown for the purpose of utilizing its fiber and seeds to make an array of resources and products. There are thousands of products that can be made from hemp. Here are some of the most popular ways industrial hemp is converted into products we use daily:
- Plastic: Hemp acts as a substitute for petroleum when making plastics. It is a more cost-effective way to manufacture plastics and is also more environmentally friendly. Not only are less resources needed to make plastics from hemp, but the final product is biodegradable.
- Paper: Paper can also be made from hemp, helping to limit deforestation. Hemp paper has existed for hundreds of years. In fact, even the United States Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper! Additionally, since hemp is naturally lighter, it eliminates the need for chlorine bleach, thus eliminating harmful fumes from the manufacturing plants.
- Fuel: Hemp can be a great alternative to fossil fuels and lessen our dependence on them. We can also grow hemp quickly and produce fuel faster than we can fossil fuels. Hemp fuel is biodegradable and is ultimately better for the air when burned. It will also cost much less to manufacture and is estimated to cost an average of only one to two dollars a gallon for consumers.
- Fiber: There has always been a debate between hemp versus cotton when it comes to clothing. Hemp was used for clothing fairly often before cotton started to take over the market. Now that hemp is once again federally legal, more people have begun to switch to hemp clothing. Clothing from hemp tends to be much more durable than cotton clothing.
Along with the many products that can be made from hemp, when it is grown it also brings great benefit to the surrounding environment. When hemp is planted, it enhances the soil health by absorbing toxins from the Earth. Hemp plants have been used for this purpose for many years and was even used to help purify the soil around Chernobyl.
What is Medicinal Hemp?
Medicinal hemp is grown specifically for medicinal and recreational uses. The flowering buds of the mature hemp plant and their leaves are harvested and are crafted into an array of products, including tinctures, smokables, and lotions. The flowers of the hemp plant have cannabinoids and terpenes that deliver the therapeutic effects the plant has to offer. Here are just some of the many benefits medicinal hemp can deliver:
- Pain Relief
- Sleep Support
- Energy Support
- Smoking Cessation to help individuals reduce or quit nicotine
- And so much more!
Out of the many cannabinoids present in hemp, CBD is the most prominent. CBD has many therapeutic uses and is the first cannabinoid to received FDA approval for therapeutic use. Epidiolex is a drug with a fixed ratio of plant derived CBD to help patients with various seizure disorders. It is only a matter of time before we see even more medications with plant-derived cannabinoids.
Medicinal hemp and industrial hemp are powerful plants that have a wide range of uses. Industrial hemp gives us many needed resources and is much better for the environment than the majority of products it can replace. Medicinal hemp brings great value to those who consume, and research has demonstrated it has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. In colonial times, the value of hemp was greatly recognized, and it was required to grow hemp on most farms in order to operate. Hemp can give us a healthier and more sustainable future. Next time you go shopping, take a look at what you can substitute for a product made from hemp.