10 Uses for Hemp

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It was not long ago when hemp was demonized in mainstream America and elsewhere simply because it is related to cannabis, also known as marijuana. The truth is there is no reason to fear hemp. In fact, hemp has a plethora of practical uses in everyday life for people, businesses and beyond.

There is a unique fiber within hemp that allows this plant to prove functional for an array of textiles, seeds for consumption and other purposes. This plant was used in the Middle East and China way back in 8000 BC. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the top 10 uses for hemp.

1. Beauty/Skincare and Medicine

All sorts of beauty and skincare products contain hemp. This plant is fantastic for the skin as well as the hair. At the moment, hemp-based beauty and skincare products are reaching a mainstream tipping point. There is a robust market for hemp beauty products featuring cannabinoids that do not promote psychoactive reactions.

When hemp oil is applied topically, its omega acids hydrate the skin. Hemp also decreases the signs of aging, tightens up the pores, combats acne, strengthens the nails, and moisturizes the hair. Hemp even helps prevent eczema, varicose veins, and psoriasis.

Between sunscreen, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, soap, lotion, and facial cleanser, you can find beauty products of all types featuring hemp. Hemp has what is referred to as an EFA content, meaning it provides natural assistance in the regeneration of dry and cracked skin.

Hemp has even been used as a medicine. Emperor Shen Nung prescribed hemp to treat myriad illnesses way back in 2737 BC. Hemp was used to treat everything from rheumatism to gout and malaria. Nowadays, hemp’s primary medical purpose is to provide pain relief in the form of CBD.

2. Food and Drink

When hemp was first grown, it was used for human consumption. Hemp might not look very appetizing yet it has excellent nutritional balance. Most people are shocked to learn hemp has provided sustenance to human beings for centuries.

Hemp seeds are loaded with essential minerals, oils, amino acids, and fatty acids that help the body function. In particular, hemp’s fatty acids and amino acids are especially important to the body. Hemp provides the body with the protein it needs to keep its internal organs healthy, generate antibodies, establish muscle, and assist in nutrient absorption.

Some food researchers even suggest hemp has “life-giving value” thanks to its comprehensive nutritional profile. Hemp is rife with linolenic acids, lanolin, protein and oils at the perfect ratios for optimal human nutrition. There is talk of relying on hemp to solve world hunger as its essential oils protect against immune system attacks and provide continuous support for this system.

So go ahead and give hemp a try the next time you are hungry. Use hemp for salad oil, eat hemp seeds just like normal seeds/nuts, crush it up to make flower or put some seeds in your cake batter for a nutritional boost.

3. Clothing and Accessories

People have used hemp fiber to create clothing for centuries. The oldest known fabric to be made with hemp is the original denim jeans produced by Levi Strauss. Some argue the first American flag ever made qualifies as the first product made with the use of hemp.

Hemp was commonly used to make clothing in America and elsewhere until the cotton industry ramped up its momentum. Though cotton certainly suffices for making clothing, hemp is superior as it lasts longer than alternatives. Examples of celebrity threads that use hemp fibers include Calvin Klein, Armani and Ralph Lauren.

Though hemp was once viewed as a material used by the poor to make clothing, it started to gain momentum in the 1980s. Hemp has transitioned from a plant used to clothe paupers to being used by hippies to today’s current situation in which top designers use hemp.

Hemp is superior to cotton in that it is much more environmentally-friendly and sustainable. Unlike cotton, there is no need to use a bunch of chemicals to grow hemp. Take a look in your closet and you will likely find something made with at least a small amount of hemp.

Hemp is used to make everything from shirts to flip-flops, purses, wallets, belts, jackets, pants, dresses, and sneakers.

4. Paper

At first glance, hemp might not seem like the best material for paper yet as is often said, looks are deceiving. Hemp is actually much more durable than regular paper.

Pens and pencils made of hemp are currently on the market, making it possible to present information on hemp with the use of hemp
writing instruments. Hemp might eventually replace regular paper as it is unsustainable to use vast amounts of space and resources for the expansive forests necessary to produce traditional paper.

5. Fuel

Hemp has functioned as a lamp oil for centuries. The oil from hemp was gradually phased out in the United States in the late 19th century thanks to the introduction of petroleum. Hemp cultivation can produce fuel as a by-product. The oils in the hemp seeds and stalk can be used to make biodiesel fuel that powers everyday vehicles as well as large trucks.

Hemp’s fibrous stalks can also generate biofuel. Biofuels will become increasingly important in the years to come as they are renewables and generate less carbon monoxide than alternatives such as traditional fossil fuels.

Ethanol production has emerged as particularly popular throughout the hemp industry. Look for the petroleum industry to use hemp even more in the years to come to feed the world’s never-ending need for fuel.

6. Pet Products

Even our furry friends benefit from hemp. Now that hemp is accepted by the mainstream, it is used to make all sorts of pet products. As an example, hemp rope is commonly used in dog toys and a number of other pet-related products.

Hemp is perfect for making dog toy ropes as well as ropes of other varieties as it is strong, flexible, and resistant to moisture. The Navy has used hemp for centuries to make essential ropes, nets, riggings, and sails.

It is also interesting to note that a number of CBD-infused pet treats and other products have hit the market. If your pet suffers from chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, insufficient appetite, or seizures, CBD products will likely help.

If you have any concern about potential side effects, mention it to your veterinarian and you will likely be inundated with information about the safety of these miraculous little treats.

7. Alternatives to Plastic

Regular plastic is made from fossil fuels and toxic chemicals. Hemp has emerged as a green alternative to cellophane. Anyone who questions the durability of hemp should look up Henry Ford’s famous media event in 1941 when he swung an ax at a car body prototype comprised of hemp.

In fact, Ford went as far as making an automobile with hemp plastic that operated on hemp fuel. Ford thought hemp might be the future of the automotive industry as hemp fiber has a comparably high strength to weight ratio. Furthermore, hemp is cheaper to produce than steel. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi use hemp for the compression molding that forms vehicle panels.

Though hemp was never used for the construction of automobile bodies, there are a number of products that include hemp plastics. There is no sense using regular plastic that pollutes the ocean when comparably green hemp plastic is available. It might not be long until hemp plastic becomes the biodegradable solution the masses have been hoping for.

8. Building Homes

Believe it or not, hemp has utility as a home building material. About two-thirds of cannabis plant weight is comprised of a wood void of THC that can be used to construct houses. Hempcrete is a combination of hemp and concrete. The woody, inner portion of hemp plants are combined with a binder with a lime base.

Though this version of concrete weighs a fraction of that of regular concrete, it still functions as a highly efficient insulator, cutting energy costs upwards of 70% each year. It is particularly interesting to note hemp absorbs silica from soil. The silica combined with unslaked lime creates a chemical bond similar to cement that is waterproof and fireproof.

9. Hemp for Soil Cleanup

Hemp has a natural ability to absorb moisture. In fact, hemp absorbs just about everything in the soil it is grown in. Phytoremediation is the name of this absorption process. Phytoremediation has been used across the world to clean up compromised soil. As an example, hemp was used to clean up the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster site.

10. Oil-based Products

All sorts of consumer products use varying amounts of hemp. There is a good chance one or several products in your home contains at least a small amount of hemp. Hemp is used for the oil in candles, paint and lanterns. Hemp oil can be used for just about every oil-based product including paint. Give hemp-based paint a try and you will be ecstatic with the results.

Hemp oil is safe for the environment, non-toxic to all living things and perhaps most importantly, lasts longer than regular paint.

Ryan Shempton

About Ryan Shempton

Ryan is a full-time freelance writer. He has worked as a paralegal, civil litigation assistant and tutor while living in cities stretching from Columbia, SC to Henderson, NV. Ryan's interests include movies, video games, music, everything cannabis-related and vegan cooking.