In this post, we'll present to you 5 ways hemp can help you, new industries, job opportunities, and curiosities about this very misunderstood and underestimated plant. It is also important to mention that at the time this article was written, hemp was not yet fully legal in New Zealand so we decided to focus on Industrial Hemp only and the different ways that were possible to be implemented in our country.
For those who don’t know, industrial hemp or hemp is the plant from the Cannabinaceae family (genus Cannabis species Sativa). they have low levels of DELTA9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the psychoactive cannabinoid of marijuana. More precisely, and according to the Ministry of Health, the levels need to be below 0,35% of that cannabinoid.
The crops and plantations of industrial hemp have no recreational or medicinal purposes, however, this is a plant that is highly nutritious, it’s very versatile and there are about 50.000 different products and ways hemp can help you.
Even though we call it all Industrial Hemp, each strain and seed will have a different destination and industry application so farmers will need to decide what is their end goal and what they are planting the ihemp for before starting their crop.
The machinery and equipment used in a farm will also vary depending on the purpose of the hemp.
We’re about to present to you the main 5 industries that are under development in NZ and how industrial hemp can contribute to a brighter, healthier, and more sustainable future.
1- First and foremost, It can feed you!
The hemp seed oil and the hemp seeds or hemp hearts are a great source of nutrients that can be easily combined into tons of different recipes. Basically the simple fact of adding hemp hearts or hemp seed oil to a dish will turn it into a much healthier meal on their own.
That's why we call it a superfood, hemp is full of everything your body would need to perform to its optimum stage.
It’s like adding a dietary supplement like “centrum" or different “multi-vitamins” but without the collateral effects they would bring to your gut, liver, or kidneys. The hemp seeds, hemp seed oil and other variations of food like hemp powder or hemp protein are super nutritious and a natural source of vitamins including vitamin E, they also have minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Industrial hemp is also known for the perfect ratio in Omega 3 and 6, and it has a higher percentage of protein than most of the other seeds we know like “chia seeds” or “flaxseed”.
2- It can heal you!
In terms of its healing power, this is a very important way hemp can help you. Although we’re not talking about medications here, Industrial hemp is a natural remedy to our body and organs.
You can get a lot of health benefits by simply adding Hemp seeds or Hemp Seed Oil into your diet and skincare products, and in that case, there are studies around the world on both western and oriental cultures that demonstrate hemp preventing and reducing the risk of heart disease, skin disorders and helping with joint and muscular pain.
The healing properties of hemp can also help with digestion and reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Due to the vast information available and different areas and organs of our body that receive nourishment from hemp, we will write down a full article and go deeper to explore and showcase the various healing powers of Hemp.
3- It can clothe you!
For clothing, as mentioned before, the crop, seeds, and strains used, would need to have that particular destination. The long strands of fiber that make up the stalk of the plant can be extracted and that’s where we source industrial hemp fabric from. Through a process called “retting”, these fibers can be woven into a fabric that is flexible, resistant, breathable, it protects you against UV light, and the more you use it the more comfortable it gets.
The variety of clothing, apparel, accessories, bags, and many different items that can be made using hemp fabric is enormous and they put up a whole industry on their own.
Just like the food possibilities described above, the clothing industry could be another revolutionary movement and it’s a lot more sustainable and more environmentally friendly than cotton as it uses a lot less water and doesn't require the number of pesticides that cotton does.
4- It can house you!
Talking about industry revolution, Have you heard about Hempcrete? Concrete made from Hemp. That’s right, the most sustainable building material isn’t concrete, nor steel, neither wood, it’s ihemp.
Mixing lime with ihemp woody fibres, you'll get a natural and light concrete that is thermal and highly insulating.
Imagine the benefits for the housing and construction industries, a material that is more environmentally friendly that anything else out there, that doesn’t shrink, therefore no crack lines, that requires low maintenance, it is a natural pesticide against rats and insects, and it’s fireproof and earthquakes resistant.
Sounds awesome right? we think so too!
5- It can save our oceans and help you save the planet!
Last but definitely not least, we’d like to point out the fact that everything plastic can be made from hemp and the "plastic" made from hemp is biodegradable.
Have you ever seen plastic bottles or straws floating around the oceans? Of course you have, they are everywhere and they’re also one of the biggest polluters in our waters. They kill corals, reefs, and every living creature in those environments. The fish, turtles, mantas, octopus, dolphins, whales, and sharks can’t cope with the amount of rubbish and plastic we trow daily in our oceans.
In that case, Hemp and Bamboo make an unbeatable team. You can make "plastic" components using both hemp or bamboo and they will decompose in a few months when in contact with water while the normally, petroleum-based items take up to 1000 years. That’s a huge difference and on a long term basis, this could be the turning point for us to literally save our oceans and guarantee the survival and the future for our next generations!
On top of all that, it's worth mentioning that hemp also breathes in 4X more carbon dioxide than trees in general, it detoxifies the soil as it grows and uses significantly less water than any other commercial crops.
The bottom line
Though hemp has only recently become popular and even legal in many Western cultures, the possibilities and potential behind this plant are incredible. We have a lot of accumulated knowledge from its use over the past 10.000 years in various different cultures and parts of the planet and we should explore and make an effort to share this with as many people as possible, as soon as possible.
The more we know about hemp the better and through education and demystification, Hemp can actually save our planet.