Why the Benefits of Hemp Can Help Save the World!!
When you hear the word Hemp, what is the first thought that comes to mind? I’m sure its not the numerous and varied benefits of hemp!
Well, most people will think of cannabis and of course they would be correct.
Common hemp is a variety cannabis.
But did you know that hemp was probably the world’s first cultivated crop?
It has been used by man from prehistoric times because of its wide variety of uses, and it has been suggested that today hemp can be made into over 25,000 different products as diverse as food, fuel and fibre.
In fact, because hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally whole foods, it has been suggested that hemp could end world hunger.
While it is well known that hemp can be used to make rope, cloth and even paper, did you know that hemp has been used in less conventional ways?
Hemp can benefit by removing heavy metals and toxins from soils.
In 1986, one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents occurred at Chernobyl. Everything within a 30 kilometre radius of the plant was closed and trees were cut down and buried to minimise the amount of radioactive contamination .
However, the soil was already contaminated with exceptionally high levels of several different toxic metals including plutonium,lead,caesium-137 and strontium-90. In an effort to reduce soil contamination, the Soviet government ordered that plants responsible for a process known as phytoremediation be planted in the area. Phytoremediation is a practice that uses specific plants to remove, stabilise and/or destroy soil and groundwater contaminants. One of the best plants for phytoremediation is ,of course, Hemp!
In 1998, scientists from ‘ Phytotech’ found that hemp’s ability to leach radioactive material from the soil surpassed any others they had seen. These findings show the great benefits of hemp when it comes to cleaning our soil from contaminants.
In Italy in 2012, when it was discovered that a steel plant had been spewing toxins into the soil for decades, the local farmers began growing hemp in an effort to reduce the damage.
In 2017, the University of Virginia announced that they had joined with a biotech company and, ‘developed proprietary hemp plants that are particularly well suited for phytoremediation .
So Hemp could be the answer to cleaning contaminated soils world wide!
Hemp could ease our dependence on fossil fuels?
For decades now, we have been told that our over dependence on fossil fuels will lead to them being exhausted by the 2060s.
One of the best facts about hemp is that hemp can be used for fuel. What a fantastic benefit of hemp to humanity!.. but lets explore further…
Could hemp help us end our dependence on oil?
Hemp biodiesel is produced by pressing hemp seeds to extract their fats and oils. Once the extraction is complete, further refinement is implemented to make the fuel suitable for use in diesel run cars.
According to the US Department of Energy, conventional diesel and biodiesel engines are one and the same. This means that almost all Diesel engines have the capability to run on biodiesel without modification.
Hemp can also be used to make ethanol fuel by fermenting the entire plant. This hemp ethanol fuel can be used in flex fuel engines which are designed to work with ethanol, petrol or a combination of both. Hemp can also be used in cars that run on ethanol only. In Brazil, 20% of cars run on 100% ethanol fuel.
Diesel engines that run on biofuel have been known to last longer that run on petroleum diesel.
And hemp born biodiesel and ethanol are considered safer to transport than their petroleum counterparts.
Hemp can help reduce carbon emissions
One of the most astonishing facts about hemp is that hemp can reduce carbon emissions.
Carbon dioxide is the biggest factor driving climate change- it accounts for 80% of global warming increase since 1990. In fact, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have reached their highest point in human history.
Hemp is known to be especially capable of carbon sequestration, a process that captures and stores CO2 from the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration is one method used to absorb CO2 in an effort to reduce climate change .
One ton of hemp can absorb 1.63 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Considering the amount of CO2 emissions that are spewed into the atmosphere, hemp could work wonders by not only reducing our environmental impact and clean up the air we breathe.
Hemp could benefit declining bee populations.
Bee populations have been declining rapidly all over the world for at least the last 15 years. Some bee populations have fallen by as much as 90%.
Most of the fruit and vegetables that we buy is pollinated by managed bees. If the bee populations continue to fall, we could find ourselves, in years to come, having to pay increasing prices for a dwindling amount of produce.
If we want to stop the decline in bee numbers, efforts will have to be made and Hemp could prove the saviour of the bees. A study published in early 2019 by researchers at Colorado State University, discovered that industrial hemp crops could be beneficial in ensuring that bees do not become extinct.
The hemp crop flowers for three months, July to September – a time that corresponds to a lack off pollen production in other plants. While hemp does not contain nectar they are rich in pollen, and so are very attractive to the pollen hungry bees. Growing hemp, especially in areas which have few native flowering plants, could lead to our seeing an increase in the bee population.
A final word from us
These are some of the reasons why I believe hemp could be benficial to society and why production should be encouraged rather than restricted. Some farms in the UK were allowed to grow hemp under licence, on condition that the flowers were not to be harvested for cannabis oil or CBD. But last year the government retracted licences meaning that entire crops worth £200,000 had to be destroyed.
Even without the cannabinoid benefits of hemp, we should be growing helm to save the planet.
Would you not agree?
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