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Why Hemp Won't Save The World - But It Might Help

You probably know about hemp. The fast growing, low THC variety of the cannabis plant. The fibres from the hemp plant can be used to make clothing, oils and possibly more importantly, building materials. 

In the UK, you need a license to grow hemp. In the US, it depends on the legal restrictions placed on marijuana in your jurisdiction. So the sooner we legalise, the sooner we can truly use hemp for what it is, a fantastic product with a wide array of uses.

Hemp won't save the world, but it will help. 

Many people have long called for the use of industrial hemp in a thousand different ways, claiming that due to its quick growth and low water requirements, it was akin to a miracle plant.

While it's true that hemp is amazing, it can be made into cloth, oil, food, building materials and all other manner of things, it isn't going to save the world. Hemp as of yet doesn't have the infrastructure built up to create products that compete with the likes of wood, vegetable oil or concrete. 

Hemp isn't as cheap. Of course, farmers can still make a healthy return on growing hemp, because there are parts of the world that are using hemp in the way our forefathers did. Farmers in the UK export almost all of their hemp outside the country, over the sea to France to be used for animal bedding, at a fairly healthy profit. Overall however, hemp finds it hard to compete with the opposition when it comes to a commodity controlled world 

Hemp can be used for food, but it will never be cheaper than rapeseed oil or wheat. 

Hemp can be used for clothing, but it is unlikely that it will be cheaper to grow than cotton. (That is, until the cotton industry is hit by a global drought; cotton uses A LOT of water compared to hemp).

Hemp can be used for a building material called hempcrete, but it unfortunately isn't as strong as concrete, something rather important when it comes to building structures.

Hemp won't save the world, and we should be wary of those who say it can; but the sooner we legalise, the sooner it will be in the hands of people who can save the world. 

April 12, 2016 by Gareth Arnold

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