What is Hemp?

Hemp is a variation of cannabis sativa. It is the most useful plant known to man kind. In fact, cannabis sativa means useful(sativa) hemp(cannabis). It is used to make over 25,000 different products, most of which are superior alternatives to less environmentally friendly products.

Some of the products made are: clothing, shoes, diapers, rope, canvas, cellophane, paints, fuels, chain lubricants, biodegradable plastics, paper, fibreboard, cement blocks, food, cosmetics, and soap. Hemp is genetically manipulated to contain no significant amounts of thc(the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana). Hemp is the longest and strongest natural fibre known to man.

How can hemp be used as food?

Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein and essential fatty acids. Hemp seed has the second highest amount of protein of any food(soy being the highest). Hemp seed protein closely resembles the protein found in the human blood, making it easier to digest than soy protein. Many patients who have trouble digesting food are given hemp seed by their doctors. Hemp seed protein was once called ‘edestine’, and was used by scientists as the model for vegetable protein. Hemp seed oil provides the human body with essential fatty acids. Hemp seed is the only seed which contains these oils with almost no saturated fat. As a supplement to the diet, these oils can reduce the risk of heart disease. It is because of these oils that birds will live much longer if they eat hemp seed. With hemp seed, a vegetarian could survive without virtually any saturated fats. One handful of hemp seed per day will supply adequate protein and essential oils for an adult. Nutritional Analysis of Hemp Seed and Oil
Why is hemp better than other food crops?
Hemp normally requires very little fertilizer, and grows well almost anywhere. It is also pest resistant, so it uses no pesticides. Hemp puts down deep roots, which is very good for the soil, and when the leaves drop off the hemp plant, minerals and nitrogen are returned to the soil. Hemp has been known to grow on the same soil for twenty years in a row without any noticeable soil depletion. Using less fertilizer and pesticides is good for two reasons. First, it costs less and requires less effort. Second, many agricultural chemicals are dangerous and harmful to the environment — the less we have to use, the better.

Why is hemp better for paper?

Tree paper requires many chemicals to produce quality paper, which are extremely hard on the environment. Paper can be made from hemp without the use of these harmful chemicals. Tree paper yellows and falls apart in a matter of decades, while hemp paper can last for centuries.Hemp paper has been found dating back 1500 years. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four acres of trees. Hemp paper is suitable for recycle use 7 or 8 times, compared to 3 times for tree paper. Trees must grow for 20 to 50 years before they can be harvested for commercial use. Hemp requires a growing season of only 100 days! By using hemp for paper,we could stop the deforestation of our country and produce stronger, more environmentally sound paper for less than half the cost of tree paper. Millions of acres of forest and wildlife habitat could be preserved.

How can hemp be used as a fuel?

Hemp is an excellent source of high quality cellulose biomass. Biomass fuels are clean and virtually free from metals and sulphur, so they do not cause nearly as much air pollution as fossil fuels. Even more importantly, burning biomass fuels does not increase the total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Biomass fuels could provide Canada with all it’s energy needs currently supplied by fossil fuels. The use of biomass will reduce acid rain and reverse the greenhouse effect.

Hemp results in a 95.5% fuel-to-feed ratio when used for pyrolysis – the thermochemical process that converts organic matter into fuel.

Biomass has a heating value of up to 8000 BTU/lb, with virtually no residual sulphur or ash during combustion.

Hemp is the #1 producer of biomass per acre in the world. Biomass energy expert Lynn Osburn estimates that 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 million acres of hemp could replace all of Canada’s fossil fuel demands.

The hemp paper-making process requires no dioxin-producing chlorine bleach and uses 75% to 85% less sulphur-based acid. The paper mills now in place would require little conversion in order to switch from wood to hemp pulp.

Hemp produces the strongest, most durable natural soft-fibre on earth. Hemp cloth is stronger, more durable, warmer, and more absorbent than cotton. Best of all, hemp can be grown in Canada, cotton can not.

Hemp grown in Canada will require no herbicide or insecticide applications. Hemp fibre breathes and is recyclable, unlike petroleum-based synthetic fibres. A fully mature hemp plant may contain 1/2 of it’s dry weight in seed.

Hemp seed has an oil content of 34%, more than any other seed. Hemp seed oil is second only to whale oil in quality and has the same burning qualities and viscosity as #2 grade heating oil, without any of the sulphur-based pollutants.

Low THC hemp is not suitable as a psychoactive drug.

In Canada, hemp can be grown successfully from our southern borders to approximately 60° North, the parallel that divides The North West Territories from the provinces.

The hemp plant will reach a height of up to 5m(16 feet) and sink a main tap root down 2m(6 feet). This tap root will draw nutrients from deep in the soil and make them available to subsequent crops when the hemp leaves are shed on the soil, returning up to 60% of the nutrients it takes. This extensive root system also helps to alleviate the problem of soil compaction.
There is no tree or plant on Earth
Capable of producing as much paper per acre as hemp.
Hemp produces twice as much fiber per acre as cotton.
Building materials made from hemp can be used as a substitute for wood. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp- derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!

Hemp was NOT banned because it was a harmful drug. Hemp was banned because it was a competitive threat to the wood products industry and newly developed synthetic fibers that were patentable, and therefore more profitable than hemp. Corporations that profited from the demise of hemp propagated a smear campaign against hemp by claiming that marijuana use was a major drug problem (it was not) and that marijuana use caused people to become extremely violent– another falsehood. Unfortunately, these false claims went unchallenged and hemp was outlawed in 1938.