Hemp has been one of the best known and used plants during the centuries. The oldest relic of hemp industry was dated back approximately to 8,000 BC, in Colombia; its cultivation was very common in the Mediterranean and European areas over the 18th and 19th centuries, and it is now beginning to increase again.
We are talking about a natural resource which is renewable and can be quickly domestically produced; once grown, hemp can be used for different useful purposes: food, fuel oil, building material, paper, textile and more.
Looking at the anatomy of the plant, it’s a complex of different parts; hemp plant can be male or female. Male plant has in general stiffer stems and fewer leaves, while female hemp is easily recognizable by the production of white lilies, and by a faster growth.
All the uses of the hemp plant:
There are so many things that can be done with hemp: one of the best known is its use in the textile industry, since its textile fiber is quite similar to cotton, but more durable and flexible. That’s the reason why hemp has been used in textile industry during a lot of centuries.
Because of its strength, it is used a lot for example in the shipping and fishing industry, to make ropes. Today fabrics made of hemp are often used in all the textile sector.
On the other side, the plant’s fiber is very fit to create an high quality of paper, while preserving world's forests at the same time.
According to many scientists, hemp can also be used as an alternative to plastic, which is sometimes made with toxic chemical substances. Latest studies have also demonstrated the potential use of hemp to replace gasoline; this starts from the fact that for a lot of centuries oil made from the plant had been used as lamp oil. So, it could be interesting to try to focus on the potential use as renewable biofuel, with less carbon dioxide emissions, which can be useful to create a green friendly business.
Hemp as a food and therapeutic substance:
Another amazing use of hemp could be as a dietary supplement: this because hemp seeds have high level of A, C and E vitamin; they are rich in proteins and fibers; according to the last medical researches they contain a lot of Omega 6 acids.
Hemp can be so highly nutritious as a food that can positively affect many body functions such as metabolism, blood pressure, regular function of the heart, mood, brain. Being a completely natural food, lately it is very easy to be found in vegetarian diet, thanks also to the fact that it can retain the necessary fatty acids required for humans.
For the same reason hemp can be used as a non toxic cosmetic, for example as a beneficial oil with natural emollient properties for skin or hair, obtained by pressing the seeds of the plant. This is a natural way to cure the skin and the hair that can face problems as for example Eczema, Seborrhea, Psoriasis, Itchy and rough skin, Dermatitis, Wrinkles.
It’s important also to mention the increasing relevance of medical cannabis in the therapeutic field; more and more scientific studies and researches are actually showing how cannabis can be very useful to treat different kinds of illnesses and diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Asthma, AIDS and Epilepsy.
The use of hemp as a building material:
One of the other important and lately fastest growing potential uses of the hemp plant, is related with the building industry: hemp can easily replace some of the main materials used in building houses and structures, as for example wood.
Nowadays there are many different building techniques, thanks to the best alternative materials, including hemp mixed with other different ones. This is considered to be one of the best ways for insulation, for example. Hemp buildings are resistant, waterproof, lightweight and with impressive durability.
So far use of hemp in construction business has been still relatively small, but it is fast growing in countries like USA, where the first house made of hemp-based materials was built in 2010 in North Carolina, while in European countries use of hemp as a building material used to be very common in the past, in particular during 18th and 19th centuries.
To be more exact the product is known as ‘Hemcrete’ and it is a mix of industrial hemp, lime and water. It’s an ecofriendly way to build thanks to which it’s possible to create ecological buildings which can better fit the environmental needs in today's world.