5 Surprising Uses For The Hemp Plant
Posted: Oct 07, 2022
Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant that can be used to make a huge array of products. It’s most well known for its use in CBD-infused products like we make here at Pure Spectrum. In fact, according to the 2020 USDA crop acreage report, 62% of cultivated hemp was grown for CBD extraction. However, many people don’t realize how useful hemp can be aside from CBD. It can be used for textiles, food, paper, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites, and much more. Hemp does not require toxic chemicals during its cultivation and processing of materials, making it an environmentally friendly choice. This blog post will cover some of the most surprising uses for the hemp plant.
- Animal Feed
A recent study by Oregon State University has found a surprising new potential use for spent hemp biomass (the byproduct of the CBD extraction process). Hemp biomass can be included in lamb diets without any adverse effects on the health of the animals or their meat quality. Oregon State researchers fed male lambs two different amounts of spent hemp biomass (10% and 20% of total feed) and then withheld the hemp biomass for four weeks (to assess for any withdrawal symptoms). After the study, the lambs were evaluated for weight gain, carcass characteristics, meat quality, and other health parameters.
The results of the study found that the nutritional quality of spent hemp biomass is comparable to alfalfa, which is commonly fed to lambs. No significant effects on the lambs’ weight or overall health were observed with 10% and 20% hemp biomass diets. Spent hemp biomass affected metabolism in a way that does not appear harmful and improved the antioxidant capacity of the lambs.
Plastic can be found everywhere but has a devastating environmental impact. Hemp plastic is an environmentally friendly alternative. The cellulose from hemp stems, leaves, and seed husks (often byproducts of hemp used for CBD products) can be used to make hemp plastic.
Hemp plastic is biodegradable and compostable. Hemp plastic decomposes in three to six months compared to 500+ years for traditional petroleum-based plastic. Additionally, hemp plants do not contain toxins such as BPA found in petroleum-based plastic. Hemp plastic is also stronger than conventional plastic but can also be flexible, allowing it to be shaped into many things and have different uses.
With the increasing popularity of milk alternatives, hemp milk is becoming widely available. You may already have seen this product at your local grocery store. This nondairy milk is made from hemp seeds that are soaked, ground in water, and then strained. Similar to making nut milk. Hemp milk can even be used to make hemp cheese! Hemp milk has a creamy, earthy, nutty taste.
Hemp paper has been around since about 150-200 BC. However, the production was halted due to the prohibition of hemp in the 1930s. Currently, most of the world’s paper is made from wood pulp or fiber from trees. Hemp paper is a much more sustainable alternative.
Hemp grows at a faster rate than trees. It takes 20 to 80 years for a tree to reach maturity, whereas it takes hemp only 100 to 120 days. Hemp stalks have 85% cellulose composition, and trees have only 30%. This means hemp yields more paper than trees from the same amount of raw materials. On top of that, hemp paper can be recycled up to seven times, and tree paper only 3 times.
In the early 1940s, Henry Ford used hemp to build a body of a car that could withstand ten times the impact of steel without denting. Ford was so confident in the car’s strength that he took an axe to it. The axe, which would have easily cut through steel panels, bounced right back. The hemp-based car was also far lighter than traditional cars. The car weighed 2000 lbs (1000 lbs lighter than a steel car).
In 2016 a car was made almost entirely from 100 pounds of hemp; a year prior, a double-engine four-seater kit aircraft was made from 75% hemp products.
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