Sept. 11, 2015
by Paul Fassa, Natural Health Journalist
(UtopiaSilver.com) This article has nothing to do with medical marijuana or curative cannabis and “recreational” use pot. Ironically, acceptance and approval of medical cannabis activity and even “recreational” pot use have exceeded approval. A legitimate question addressed here is whether or not industrial hemp can help detoxify the planet if used as a widely grown commercial product.
Yet, the non-psychotropic industrial hemp, which doesn’t contain THC, the compound that produces the high, or altered consciousness remain and has many mundane uses remains illegal.
Here I’ll be advocating industrial hemp’s use, which will positively affect all industries, farming, the environment, and each of us individually. Industrial hemp commercial cultivation is legal in Canada.
You can buy nutritious hemp seeds in health food stores or online here in the USA. True of hemp clothing also. You can buy products made from hemp cultivated elsewhere, but hemp can’t be grown here. Something’s wrong with that.
Widespread industrial hemp cultivation and application would provide an ecologically sound and non-toxic impact in every day products from nutrition to vehicle fuel. Hemp materials would extend into BPA free biodegradable plastics, paper, clothing, and other textile materials, even home building materials that are toxin free and outlast other housing materials.
All of these hemp based materials have been proven over the past few decades by specialists in their respective fields. Prior to that, hemp was used for canvas and strong nautical roping. The reason hemp’s applications had been restricted before these recent discoveries are due to the labor intensive and time consuming difficulty of extracting hemp fibers from hemp plants.
Circa 1937, a mechanical invention was gifted to the hemp industry known as the decoricator machine. It was a machine that was to hemp what the 19th Century cotton gin was. It replaced hand shredding of hemp to glean its fibers, fibers that could be used for textiles, clothing, paper, and plastic.
With the advent of the decoricator, hemp would have been able to take over competing industries in paper, textiles for clothing and other applications, fuel, and plastics. Growing hemp in abundance was easy, and it’s plant to harvest time was no more than six months.
In warm climates, two plantings and harvesting could occur within one year. A terrific cash crop for farmers of all types. According to Popular Mechanics during that time, “10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.”
The few largest big businesses with competition concerns, such a wood pulp for paper, synthetic textiles, and very likely petroleum based medicines and fuel with high level government connections pushed through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
The ensuing marijuana scares hyped by movies such as “Reefer Madness” brought about more legislation that would prohibit all hemp cultivation, even hemp without THC.
Prior to this, even without high speed decoricators, hemp was an easy cash crop for small farmers, some of whom were encouraged to continue cultivating hemp during WW II to provide hemp fibers for U.S. Naval ships’ ropes as well as other military applications.
And prior to that, hemp was so important during colonial and early American times that farmers were virtually required to cultivate it along with their other crops.
George Washington: “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
Thomas Jefferson: “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
Opening the gates for domestic hemp cultivation would be a boon for small farmers, especially those who are organic or pesticide and herbicide free in addition to being a rapid turnover cash crop.
Hemp Improves Farming
Hemp plants don’t need pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, which rely mostly on the phosphate industry. A phosphate industry byproduct is the sodium fluoride that is sold to municipality water works to poison our household tap water and irrigation water.
The runoff from fields of phosphate fertilizers into waterways that merge with seawater is causing all sorts of nitrogen and phosphorous excesses and imbalances, leading to algae that overwhelms the water’s ecological support system.
Hemp’s thick roots ward off weeds, and growing hemp improves the soil’s nitrogen, making that soil better for other crops. They would be useful and lucrative rotation crops for organic farmers.
Hemp plants have a growth to harvest cycle of only four to six months. In mild climates, harvesting hemp times twice or even once a year would create an annual cash cow for farmers.
Hemp for Nutrition
Hulled hemp seeds, their powders and cold pressed oils provide all the essential amino acids for easily digested high protein. Hemp is not only very high in omega-3, but it provides an almost perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.
It is truly a super food that you can buy in health food stores or online. The seeds come from Canada, where industrial hemp is legal. Hemp is so nutritionally dense that one could survive on hemp seeds alone during extreme food shortages. If hemp were legal, you could easily grow your own.
Eliminate Toxic Petrochemical Plastics
There has been an island of plastic waste considered larger than the state of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific. A lot of it is expected to decompose, creating a toxic plastic soup in parts of the ocean. The toxins from this plastic soup spread out into other oceanic regions and are hazardous to fish and bird wildlife.
All kinds of plastics are produced with hemp, from clear wraps for foods to automobile parts not included in the drive train. Hemp plastics are durable and more heat resistant. And they are bio-degradable. Recently, the French auto industry started making some of its plastic automobile parts from hemp.
Henry Ford pioneered this in 1941 when he built his “vegetable car” with hemp and flax. It was stronger and lighter than steel cars. Ford’s hemp-mobile also used hemp bio-diesel fuel, which creates very little pollution. The petroleum industry didn’t approve of that.
Hemp seeds were even used to make paints and lacquers in the mid-1930s. Petrochemical plastics for all purposes could be replaced with hemp plastics that are non-toxic and bio-degradable. Bye-bye BPA!
Construction Materials for Housing
Amazingly, housing construction materials made from hemp fibers have been discovered to be superior to most cheap materials used in housing construction these days. Ever see a house under construction after its initial framing?
What you’ll usually see before whatever exterior coating is used are panels of wood substitutes, either pasteboard, particle board or pressboard, some of which are processed and bound with toxic chemicals that can off-gas into interior quarters. It’s cheaper than other materials and used abundantly.
Inexpensive hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic. Those materials are stronger and much longer lasting than what’s being used currently. They are also mold and rot free and more fire resistant. And they are environmentally and ecologically friendly and non-toxic.
More Trees for Tree Huggers
Pulp from trees is used to make paper. But anything wood pulp can do, hemp fibers can do better. It’s said that the original Constitution and Bill of Rights were on hemp paper.
Paper from trees can be recycled maybe three times. Hemp paper can be recycled eight times. Since hemp was effectively banned in the USA since 1937, 70% of the USA’s forests have been eliminated. It takes years for trees to grow. Hemp can be gown and harvested within six months.
It’s estimated that one acre of hemp produces more oxygen from CO2 and methane than 25 acres of forest. One idea presented by hemp advocates is to have inner city hemp plots to improve urban air quality. We wouldn’t need bogus carbon tax legislation.
Pulping trees for paper creates more waste and consumes more energy than most enterprises. This industry consumes more water than almost all others. It is the fifth largest industry consumer of energy, and it emits a good deal of toxicity into waterways in the process.
“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” — Henry Ford (Emphasis added)
Summary: Anything the petrochemical industry can produce, hemp can do as well or better without toxic environmental and human consequences. Deforesting could be a thing of the past if hemp became the major source of construction materials and paper.
Heavily pesticide and herbicide sprayed or GMO cotton wouldn’t be necessary, nor would manufacturing toxic synthetic fibers, a process that pollutes the nearby by environment and far reaching waterways.
Amazing how such an easily cultivated plant with so many beneficial applications has been so efficiently suppressed by the one or two percent for their purposes while too many among the 98% agreed with that suppression.
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Categories: Paul Fassa