Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I Love Hemp...

("Hemp Over the Canal", by Ezra S.)

Why I Love Hemp
by Ezra Soiferman, Montreal, www.EzSez.com

It's just a plant but it's so many other things too. The astounding versatility of hemp is what I love most.

Here are a few examples of how versatile and useful hemp is:

-Environmental friendliness, renewability and sustainability
-Incredible durability
-Important throughout humankind's history and throughout most cultures
-Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest of all plant fibers
-Hemp clothing protects against UV rays
-To be considered hemp, a cannabis plan must have less than .3% THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana
-Usually grown pesticide-free (often certified organic too)
-Grows without the need for pesticides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers
-Stronger, warmer and more absorbent than cotton without the massive use of water and pesticides required for cotton growing and production. Cotton is the top-using pesticide crop in the world
-Biodegradable and compostable
-Comfortable to wear: hemp fabric is cool in summer and warm in winter
-It's often said that "hemp clothing doesn't wear out, it wears in"
-Fabric wicks sweat away from the body
-Machine washable, dryer-friendly
-Hemp fibres blend beautifully with cotton, silk, wool, ramie, spandex, etc.
-Hemp's natural whiteness prevents the need to use chlorine bleach
-Hemp canvas (the word comes from the Latin word for cannabis) is excellent for making shoes
-Hemp is used to make belts, gloves, shoelaces, hats, pet leashes, guitar straps, bracelets, macramé knotting, and wallets. Just Google them to order some for yourself.
-You can now find men's hemp suits and women's high fashion hemp clothes (skirts, gowns, wedding dresses, etc.)
-Countless unique clothing designs have been created by hemp designers worldwide
-US soldier uniforms and parachutes were made of hemp fabric as recently as WWII and in 1942, the U.S. government encouraged its growth to help win the war though the "Hemp for Victory" campaign which it later tried to bury all evidence of.
-Hulled hemp seeds are called 'hemp nuts' but aren't actual nuts. No allergy risk for those sensitive to nuts. That's nuts. They are also called 'hemp hearts', and you guessed it, they aren't actually hearts.
-Delicious nutty taste similar to sunflower seeds
-Can be eaten raw and not bitter like flax
-High in protein (higher than meat, dairy, nuts, soy)
-High in the proper balance of Omega essential fatty acids
-Hemp oil is the richest source of GLA 'super fatty acids'
-Contains all essential amino acids
-Not genetically modified
-Hemp milk is great straight or for cereal or coffee, tea, smoothies
-Hemp protein powder is excellent as a high-protein, high-fibre supplement
-Hemp is free of all major allergens and hemp butter can be used instead of nut butters for people with allergies
-Used as an ingredient to make bread, oatmeal, cereal, tofu, salad dressing, mustard, ice cream, trail bars and many other foods
-Seeds are great in soups, yogurt and on bagels with cream cheese
-You can ferment it and make beer with it. Cannabis and hops are actually from the same plant family!
-Seeds and oil can enhance nearly any dish (salads, soups, stifrys, spaghetti sauce and even foods not starting with an s)
-Cholesterol free
-Sodium free
-Low in carbohydrates and low glycemic index
-Hydrogenated fat free
-Low in saturated fat
-Gluten free
-The fiber content of hemp seed flour is the highest of all commercial flours
-Vegetarian and vegan
-Contains edestin to help digestion
-Hemp oil has helped people with Crohns, colitis and IBS and also helps relieve constipation
-Hemp oil soothes a dry or sore throat
-CBD, a non-psychoactive medical compound found in hemp can be extracted to produce a powerful medicine useful in the treatment of many ailments. Google it!
-Hemp oil was used for centuries as lamp oil and is a healthier ingredient for candles than petrochemical-based paraffin.
-Great conversation-starter (great conversation-ender too with closed-minded folks)
-Excellent lubricant for machines, engines, doors and massages
-Great for biodiesel to fuel cars, trucks and portable generators
-Energy-wise, it can be used to make methanol, heating pellets, BTU gas, charcoal and tar
-Hemp stalk fibers make a great tree-free, acid-free, easily recyclable paper-source that can be grown in a few short months rather than decades
-Makes an excellent and substantial ingredient in construction materials (concrete, particle board, paint, varnish, insulation)
-Superb insulation properties (acoustic, thermal, breathable, flame retardant)
-Excellent for rope, twine and thread
-Can be used to make bio-plastic and 3D-printable plastic filament
-You can listen to music through hemp speaker cones and play instruments made from hemp plastic
-Excellent for kitty litter and animal bedding for larger animals
-The fabric is ideal for curtains, sheets, towels, upholstery and reusable shopping bags
-Raw fibers are used for carpeting in homes and offices
-Giant net-like hemp fiber mats called geo-textiles are used to prevent soil erosion
-Light hemp fabric is used for reusable coffee filters and tea bags
-Hemp-fleece is frequently used as reusable diaper liners
-Fine coloured hemp fibers are used in the minting of paper money in many countries
-I especially love it because I built a cinema using hemp fabric for the seats (CinemaSpace)
-Hemp oil is a healthy ingredient in makeup and other beauty products
-A nourishing addition to sunscreen, soaps and shampoos
-Hemp oil is great for dry skin and various skin conditions
-The hemp plant can grow to close to 20' tall in about 3 months. Fast!
-Can be grown in various climates
-Was legal to grow until the 1970 Controlled Substances Act classified it as a drug. Hemp was phased out much earlier than that, however, in part because of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which made pot illegal. The last crop of hemp in America was harvested in 1957.
-Was brought back to popularity after decades of obscurity by the late great author Jack Herer, the Woody Harrelson, and many other believers
-Legal to grow in 30 countries worldwide including Canada, Australia, Italy, UK, Romania, France, etc...
-Now starting to be grown for commercial purposes in Colorado and Oregon. Also being grown for research purposes in many other U.S. states.
-Hemp is the highest biomass producer of all plants
-Good for farmers' health (no pesticide spraying)
-Offers farmers a fair, often handsome, return on their crops
-Hemp is carbon-negative: growing it actually improves the air and the soil its grown in
-Hemp's sister plant marijuana has countless age-old medicinal uses and benefits. Google it!
-Many 'Old Master' paintings are on hemp canvas, using hemp oil based paints and varnishes
-In the 1940s, the Pentagon was built on USDA hemp fields (read more)
-First pair of Levis jeans was made of hemp in 1853
-The original Gutenberg Bible and King James Bible were printed on hemp paper
-George Bush Sr. was supposedly saved by a hemp parachute during wartime
-Ben Franklin's 'electrified' kite string was a hemp string
-Old Ironsides, The Mayflower and other ships used many tons of hemp for ropes, sails, varnish, etc.
-The U.S. Constitution was drafted on hemp paper
-George Washington and Thomas Jefferson farmed hemp
-Interest in hemp is growing every moment (is it for you too?)

Read lots more about hemp in Jack Herer's landmark book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" that kicked off the rediscovery of this age-old plant. Read it for free here.

Hemp it up!


Ever been to a hemp farm? Have a look at my "Hemp Field Day!" photo series here.

Back to www.EzSez.com for Ezra's latest news. Visit EzraSoiferman.com for photos, films and more.


Les Stark said...

Ez, that about sez it all! I'll tell you why I love hemp. Because my ancestors grew it. My Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather came to this country in 1749 from Odenwald, Germany. He died in 1813 at the age of 88.

He settled on a large farm about five miles from my current residence, got married and fathered sons who served in local miltia units during the Revolutionary War.

He and all the farmers of early Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, grew hemp. Not very uncommon around here. Between 1720-1870 there were over 100 water-powered mills for processing hemp fiber.

There were almost as many mills for processing hempseed oil from the many tons of excess hempseed as there were mills for the fiber.

Hemp was a huge part of our culture and I feel a strong connection to that past, as my very own grandfathers grew it.

Les Stark
Author of Hempstone Heritage

sandra said...
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