The cultivation of cannabis sativa or hemp dates as far back as 10,000 years ago. Valued as a fiber source, the weaving of hemp can be traced to the ancient Chinese and Mesopotamians. Researchers believe hemp was brought to Britain from Asia around 800 BC. The earliest mention of hemp dates back to 373 BC, describing how a Celtic princess taught women to sew and weave hemp.
There are records dating back to 800AD that chronicle how hemp was used by Henry VIII’s naval fleet to construct battleships and their components, such as sails, ropes, and rigging. Hemp was even used for their maps and the sailors’ clothes and bibles. Hemp was in such high demand that during Henry VIII’s reign, it was compulsory to cultivate 15 acres of hemp for every 60 acres of land.
When the British colonized the Americas, fields of cannabis sativa fields were grown for the British Crown. Hemp use remained strong over the decades. In 1938, Popular Mechanics magazine published an article about the potential of hemp as the “new billion-dollar crop.”
According to the publication, hemp “can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.” The article was released just a year after the Marijuana Tax Act regulated the cultivation and sale of all varieties of cannabis, including hemp. What followed is the long history of the public’s misidentification of hemp with marijuana.
Today, the uses of hemp have evolved thanks to new methods and technology, a better understanding of hemp’s potential, and the removal of all federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp. Here are 21 fascinating uses of hemp:
Hemp fibers were first weaved into rope centuries ago. Due to its strength and durability, it is still made today and has evolved into twine and cord that comes in different colors and sizes. It has industrial uses, but it is also popular in craft projects and gardening.
2. Hempseed Oil
Hemp oil comes from pressing hemp seeds. It can be used in body care products like soaps and shampoos, while industrial hemp seed oil can be used in paints, plastics, inks, and lubricants. Because hempseed oil is edible, it can be used in cooking or infused in food and beverages.
Hemp beer is not brewed from hemp directly but is infused with hemp elements such as the meat of the hemp seeds. Similar to hemp beer, hemp vodka is infused with hemp to give it that distinct and unique hemp flavor.
4. Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories
Hemp fabric is super water-absorbent, dyes well, and is incredibly strong. Hemp fabric’s versatility has paved the way for everything from hemp shirts, jackets, pants, scarves, hats, and other clothing accessories such as wallets and bags. It can even be made into shoes and slippers. Because it is a sustainable material, hemp is preferred by eco-friendly consumers.
5. Lip Balm
Hemp lip balm is made with hemp oil, a moisturizing oil that is rich in nutrients and healthy fatty acids.
Hemp is believed to have natural sun protecting properties, making it ideal for infusing hemp seed oil into sunscreen. Hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, potent antioxidants, and protein.
Because hemp seed oil is touted for its fatty acid profile, it makes a great soap for anti-aging and problematic skin.
Hemp flour is the result of removing hemp oil from the seeds to mill into flour. Hemp flour is a nutty, earthy-flavored flour that is gluten-free.
Hempcrete is a bio-composite material that is used in construction all over the world as a sustainable building material. As a thermodynamic insulator, it helps reduce energy costs. It also continuously absorbs CO2.
Hemp diapers are soft, durable, comfortable, and super absorbent. There are hemp cloth diapers and disposable hemp diapers.
11. Car Bodies
Hemp plastic can be used to build a car’s body. In fact, Henry Ford did it in 1941. Hemp plastic is said to be stronger than steel due to its ability to bend and mend back to its original position, rather than crack and break.
The seeds from cannabis sativa can be used to create viable diesel fuel that can be used in any conventional diesel engine.
13. Hair Care
Hemp shampoo and conditioner contain hemp seed oil containing vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Hair care products infused with hemp are moisturizing, protecting, and strengthening.
Hemp paper is considered superior to regular paper made from trees as it does not yellow or deteriorate over time. Hemp paper can also be recycled more than tree-based paper.
Hemp furniture is made with hemp fabric that feels similar to cotton and canvas. While the fabric can be used mostly to upholster seats and couches, some companies make chairs entirely out of hemp.
16. Pet Toys, Accessories, and Bedding
From dog collars and chew toys to bedding, hemp is used in a variety of pet-related products. Hemp rope makes a great chew toy for dogs because it’s strong, non-toxic, anti-bacterial, and organic.
17. Nail Polish
When infused with hemp oil, hemp-based nail polish can help and rebuild nails thanks to its natural health properties.
18. Protein Powder
Hemp protein powder has less protein content than whey; however, it is more easily digested and boasts essential amino acids. As a high-quality protein, it is great for weight loss due to its high, gut-cleaning fiber content.
Hemp-based supercapacitors are the result of discovering that hemp fibers are more conductive than graphene, the conductor that increases energy density.
Hemp sunglasses are made from hemp fiber composite. They look distinctly eco-friendly and sustainable, making them fashionable for those who want to make a statement about the environment.
21. Aromatherapy Candles
Hemp candles are made with hemp oil and even uses a hemp wick that gives them a longer burn time.
22. CBD Oil
Cannabidiol also known as, CBD, is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. It does not produce intoxication, but does claim some medicinal benefits. The benefits range from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to sleeplessness and more.
Have you heard of other interesting ways hemp is used in 2020? Tell us about it.
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