Unless you’ve been hibernating under a rock, you’re probably aware that hemp is making a comeback. It is one of the oldest cash crops in history and was used to make paper, textiles, and beyond. Heck, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson cultivated hemp back in their days. Unfortunately, hemp prohibition began in September 1937 after the U.S. government began sensationalizing marijuana and lumping hemp into the same category (Note: the two plants are actually quite different. Check out a past blog entry on the topic.)
Over the past few years, several states including Colorado, Kentucky, and North Dakota have reintroduced industrial hemp production despite the federal government still considering it a controlled substance (even though there is not nearly enough THC to get you high).
While progress continues to be made, there is no hiding how versatile hemp can be. In addition to textiles and health supplements, you won’t believe these surprising products that have been made from hemp.
The home construction industry has the potential to be changed forever with hempcrete, a biocomposite made out of hemp, water, and a lime binding agent. Not only are the materials themselves sustainable, but they have excellent insulation properties that can help save tremendous amounts of money on energy bills. Additionally, the material is non-toxic and won’t cause any harm whatsoever to humans or the environment. Think it’s not possible to get even better? Well, it’s also impermeable towards fire, mold, and pests.
Active types rejoice! You can now scoot around town in style and class thanks to Erba Cycles. The Boston-based company makes bicycles that are not only visually breathtaking, but they’re made out of hemp and bamboo. Both mountain bikers and city commuters will be happy as both styles of bikes are made with bamboo joints that are even stronger than steel and are bound by hemp fiber.
Canada is leading the charge with a company called Motived Industries who unveiled a prototype electro-car made almost exclusively from a hemp-based composite material. The material is extremely strong, but lightweight. To put it into perspective, a Ford Fusion weighs around 4,000 lbs while this guy clocks in at 2,500. While this could be a game-changer for the automotive industry, it isn’t the first car built with biocomposite materials. Did you know that Henry Ford made a car body out of hemp, soybeans, flax, and more in 1941?
You’re probably thinking that these guys might be less than comfortable or have some kind of marijuana leaf print on them, but believe it or not, several established companies such as Patagonia, Calvin Klien, and more are using eco-friendly materials in their clothing. Hemp is not only comfortable, but crops are grown free of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals that are harsh on the environment (and yourself).
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