Hemp has long been plagued by the stigma attached to the female strand of the plant that produces a popular psychoactive substance, but the hemp fiber that is primarily gathered from the male plant is incredibly strong and useful.
While it is a strain of Cannabis Sativa, hemp was one of the first plants spun into fiber almost 10,000 years ago. Now, along with other compounds found in high concentrations of the flowers of the female plant, like CBDs, it has many industrial and medicinal applications. Hemp also happens to be great for the economy and environment.
Here is a quick rundown of 13 reasons why industrial hemp will be part of industry 4.0.
1. Textiles (Including Clothing)
This is an obvious option for this list. Clothes made of industrial hemp aren’t a new concept, but textiles using hemp is a bit newer. It isn’t just about hemp fabrics vs. other more common textiles such as cotton. It is about the economics of production.
Hemp needs about half the amount of water cotton needs to produce 200 – 250% more yield than cotton can produce. Cotton relies on pesticides while hemp does not. Hemp is pest resistant naturally and its dense foliage makes it difficult for weeds to sprout. The deep roots help maintain soil quality, too.
2. Animal Feed
The second item on the list of 13 reasons why industrial hemp will be part of industry 4.0 is related to livestock.
As early as 2014, the government gave farmers permission to grow hemp in limited quantities. In February of this year, the Colorado Senatepassed a bill allowing a study to measure the possibilities of hemp use in animal feed.
The bill ended up becoming law in March. While Colorado is among one of the first states to test this, hemp used in animal feed has been a bit of an open secret.
As early as 2004, cattle farmers such as David Wise utilized hemp in their cattle feed. His biggest complaint at the time was that he couldn’t grow his own hemp.
One more way hemp could help the economy: giving farmers another cash crop and a more self-sustaining growing model.
3. Food for Human Consumption
You might be familiar with hemp used to produce hemp milk as an alternative to dairy. But hemp can be used for less practical beverages, too.
Not only can hemp be distilled into mostly any alcoholic beverage? Hemp and Hops are what you would call “sister species” derived from the family Cannabinaceae. Due to its hardy and quick grow cycle, hemp beer is a no-brainer. But you can make any of the following beverages using hemp:
- Fruit brandy
You can even make iced tea with hemp. Check out this list for a more comprehensive breakdown of hemp beverages you can get right now. Here’s a tip though: you won’t derive any extrasensory experiences outside normal beverages with the hemp versions.
One of the more unexpected items on our list of 13 reasons why industrial hemp will be part of industry 4.0 is hemp as a biofuel.
Biofuels, as a concept, have been around since 1895 when Rudolf Diesel used peanut oil to power a diesel engine. Henry Ford even backed the use of ethanol. Hemp oil is among the contenders for biofuel use.
Again, due to rapid and robust grow cycles, hemp makes perfect sense as a super crop. But many allege that, due to its reputation and lack of widespread cultivation, hemp is not an option in the biofuel industry.
Despite this setback, people have endeavored to showcase hemp’s value as a biofuel and economic value in creating jobs. Some took it a step further and made cars out of hemp, as in the video above.
6. Building Materials and Insulation
In the search for better materials after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, builders wanted better materials. No one expected that solution to be hemp, but it is toxin free, virtually fireproof, and pest resistant.
One of the biggest inhibitors beyond the misconception that hemp is psychoactive. Pro-tip: it is NOT.
As a building material, its status is as an unknown. Tim Callahan, a North Carolinaarchitect, told the New York Times: “If you show them two-by-fours filled with fiberglass, they know what they’re dealing with, but you mention hemp, and they scratch their heads.”
Due to its sustainability and other virtues, however, hemp has made its way into the building industry. Companies such as American Lime Technology and Black Mountainoffer hemp alternatives. Beyond that, there’s also hempcrete.
7. Plastic Alternatives
Humans are aware of the harmful environmental and biological effects of most plastics. While increasing recycling efforts is a great start to amending this issue, hemp could be a solution, too.
Hemp ameliorates the lack of degradation, the leeching of chemicals, and other factors of plastic. Hemp plastic can be molding into almost any shape, injected, or even used as a resin. It is a natural fit in the world of bioplastics.
Thanks to its aforementioned growing capabilities and economic impact, hemp is also a natural fit for Industry 4.0.
8. Chemical Cleanup
Cleaning up nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl or the Fukushima Power Plant leaks require unique tactics. Hemp presents one such unique solution in how it can recover the soil in affected areas. The process, known as phytoremediation, uses live plants to clean up existing radiation.
Due to hemp’s quick growth cycle and toxin resistance, it is a natural solution to these human-created problems. Some suggest that hemp could also be useful in cleaning up oil spills by absorbing cadmium.
Speaking of hemp’s soil benefits:
9. Soil Aeration
Soil aeration is number 9 on the list of 13 reasons why industrial hemp will be part of industry 4.0. Hemp features deep roots. These combined with the natural process of growing helps to aerate the soil with carbon dioxide deposits.
Due to this feature, a new crop can be planted immediately after hemp harvest. There is no need to leave the ground fallow.
Since hemp also grows in a variety of soil types and climates, this could have huge implications for farming on a global scale.
10. Medicinal Uses
Here at Edgy Labs, we have previously covered the medical benefits of something known as CBD or cannabidiol. Not only can it help heal bone fractures as we covered, it can be better than migraine medicine for headaches.
THC is the cannabinoid found in high concentrations in the female Cannabis sativa plants that gets you high. Hemp typically refers to the male plant that has significantly lower concentrations of cannabinoids. The male plant only has .2 – .3% THC, but can have up to a 20% level of CBD. Combined with its many other benefits, you can see why this multitasking super crop fits in an Industry 4.0 future.
Hemp paper is another obvious item on this list of 13 reasons why industrial hemp will be part of industry 4.0. Though it has been around for close to 2,000 years, hemp paper only comprises .05% of the paper industry. It takes 12 trees to make one ton of tree paper.
Warning: quick maths incoming.
Americans use roughly 700 pounds of paper or paper products every year. That’s roughly two-thirds of a ton of paper per person per year — in only America.
While hemp paper doesn’t need to replace tree paper, it could present a solution to the harvesting of so many trees for paper product annually.
It could also cut down on energy use in the paper industry (which is the third highest energy use industry). Due to dated processing and manufacturing techniques, however, hemp pump is still more expensive than tree pulp.
If the processes were updated, what would the figures look like?
Cruelty-free brands such as Cover FX and Josie Maran are all the rage in 2017. Vegan lines such as Pacifica are also popular. As mentioned earlier in this article, hemp oil has numerous uses. One of the most recent ones is in skincare and cosmetics.
You can find cheeky listicles about “needing weed in your routine”, but there are legitimate benefits to using hemp. It is is a more sustainable and conscious way of garnering better skin and fun makeup.
Products range from entire lines with oils, shampoos, and more to lipsticks, too. You can even get a perfume using cannabis accord. Claimed benefits include anti-aging, acne reduction, moisturization, and more.
13. Wood Stain & Varnish
The final item of our list of 13 reasons why industrial hemp will be part of industry 4.0 is wood stains and varnish. This process can include toxic chemicals such as polyurethane. As we move toward a greener and more sustainable future, hemp oil is a great option.
It is 100% natural and offers a decent array of color finishes. It is also entirely food safe, so you could even use it on a cutting board.