Hemp — No Muss, No Fuss

by Dave on July 4, 2009

As first seen in Coastal Sussex Weekly, June 18, 2009:

by Andy Meddick

Hemp. Oh Boy! Now don’t get me wrong, I say, “Pass on grass!” Even the kind of grass I spend afternoons mowing in front of the house, and that’s more crab than fescue. Trust me, I try to pass on that grass weekly, but the neighbors don’t seem to like the abandoned lot look, so out comes the Troy Bilt to schedule.

I’ll say up front, kids, “Drugs will mess you up. Bond with your family or neighbors instead, and mow the lawn. Earn some honest cash for college.”

Where was I? Hemp. We sell a lot of hemp products at G4U Market. Yes it’s legal. No, it’s not drugs. So what is it?

Hemp comes from the Old English word, “hænep”  (don’t blame me, there’s nothing old or English about me – I come from proud Welsh stock!). It is the common name for the entire Cannabis plant family, but is used commonly only to strains of the Cannabis plant cultivated for industrial, non-drug use. These strains do not contain the psychotropic THC in sufficient quantities to give the less-salubrious effects of other strains. Frankly, that’s all I care to know about drugs and wikipedia covers this, so let’s move on.

Industrial/commercial hemp is produced mainly in Canada, France, and China. Hemp is imported by the USA for industrial/commercial use. In full disclosure, Hemp is illegal to grow in the USA under federal law due to its plant relation to marijuana. Some states have made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal, but they have not begun to grow hemp commercially pending approval by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). There remains to be a federal ruling on a separation of Hemp from Marijuana based on THC content.

Given the quality control issues with many products from China, we source our products containing hemp from the USA, Canada, and occasionally Europe.

Hemp has been grown for 12,000 years for fiber (textiles and paper) and food. Until the advent of synthetics, cannabis hemp was the standard fiber of the world. The word “canvas” derives from “cannabis.”

Hemp is several times stronger than cotton. Hemp is more resistant to abrasion, tears, mildew, soiling, shrinkage and the deteriorating effects of the sun.

Hemp is so resistant to bugs and disease; it grows throughout the world without pesticides or herbicides, building the soil naturally. Hemp grows like a weed (no pun intended); maturing in as little as 100 days compared to the 50-500 years it can take to grow a tree. 10,000 acres of hemp can produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of trees. It makes superior paper and is considered archival in quality.

Hemp produces three times as much fiber per acre as cotton without the pesticide and herbicide use. Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Cotton producers use more than 10% of the world’s pesticides and 25% of the world’s insecticides, annually.

Hemp’s long taproot and nutritious qualities make it a natural for crop rotation.  Hemp crops are being used around Chernobyl, in Ukraine, to leach out the radioactive soil and, in turn, rejuvenating and fertilizing the soil naturally.

Hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the “good” fats).  It’s quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother’s milk.

Hemp oil is now being made into biodegradable plastics and a Styrofoam type material instead of oil-based materials.

Increased demand for natural foods has stimulated the trade of hulled hemp seed, hemp protein powder and hemp oil, in addition to food products such as waffles, bagels, breads, granola bars, ice cream, and hemp milk. Hemp oil is used in the manufacture of body care products, paints, varnishes, clean burning fuels, and solvents. As a natural fiber, hemp is being used in textiles, pet bedding, paper, plastics, composites, and fiberboard. Hemp is proving to be a commercially viable earth-friendly alternative to conventional materials.

Here a sampling of some hemp-based products we carry at G4U Market:

* In our supplements department – Hemp seed, Hemp Oil, Hemp Protein Powders. Brands are Bob’s Red Mill, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, and Nutiva. A good alternative to Flax seed/oil.
* Milk – the hemp milk is delicious. Brands are Living Harvest, Hemp Dream, and Hemp Bliss. A big hit at our Good For Moo Milk Bar at the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival.
* Hemp Seed Butter. Brand is Manitoba Harvest. Grainy texture similar to Almond Nut Butter. Delicious.
* Deodorant, soap, shampoo, body and facial lotion, bath and shower gel/wash, lip balm. Too many brands to mention, but standouts are the Lafe’s deodorants, Dr Bronner soap, and Jason’s body lotion.
* Bread, bagels, tortillas – brand is French Meadow Bakery.
* Granola – brands are Michelle’s Granola from Baltimore, Ruth’s Hemp Food, Nature’s Path.
* Ice cream. The brand is “Tempt” by Living Harvest. Delicious.
* Cleaning Aids – hemp fiber dish scrubbies made by the excellent Twist Company.

I’ve had experience with clothing made from Hemp fiber and it is soft, durable, and wearable. My hemp fiber wallet is still going strong after 2 years of daily use.

Oddball Hemp facts:

* The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.
* George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers and advocated hemp cultivation for the survival of the American colonies.
* There was a hemp tax on landowners because of its versatility as lantern oil, cooking oil, lubricants, fabric, rope and more.
* Henry Ford built a car body using hemp and other agricultural resources to demonstrate the contribution farmers could make to American manufacturing.

So, there you go: Good For You, out of the hemp closet at last!

Comments on this entry are closed.

[CoastalSussex] on Twitter[Coastal Sussex] on Facebook[Our] RSS Feed[Our] Email