Image Courtesy: Patrick Harris
Hemp is Eco-Friendly and Healthy for You
If you’re all about the green movement, you may already know about the wonders of hemp. This Eco-friendly crop, which has a variety of uses, has actually been around for decades, but cannot be legally grown in the United States due to its association with marijuana. In reality, the hemp plant is of little use to marijuana growers and smokers, as hemp does not contain enough THC to produce a “high.” What it can provide, however, is a sustainable, quick, and undemanding source of alternative fabrics, paper, food, and perhaps even fuel.
The Battle to Legalize Hemp Continues…
For these reasons, hemp is still a popular crop in a large number of countries — and legal imports of hemp products can be found all over the United States. Bills have been proposed to help permit U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp, but none have seemed to make a difference at the federal level as of yet. Organizations like Vote Hemp, Inc. (www.votehemp.com) are aiming to change the government’s ideas about hemp and are asking voters to help promote the legalization of industrial hemp crops across the United States, an industry that was approximated to garner over $270 million in 2006, and is likely to continue to grow.
Eat Hemp, It’s Good for Ya
Even if you’re not ready to protest the illegality of industrial hemp, you might benefit from some of its many end products. As a food, hemp is high in omega-3 fatty acids , which may help to reduce a number of health conditions including arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. It is also an excellent source of fiber and an important food source that aids in digestion.
Hemp can be enjoyed as a seed, oil (for salad dressings and cooking), butter, or milk, which is also an excellent alternative for those avoiding dairy and who may have issues with soy. As a fabric, hemp clothing has a soft, comfortable feel comparable to cotton, and the added benefit of UV protection! Hemp is also known to be a durable fabric, so purchasing clothing made from this crop is a lasting investment. In fact, until the middle of 19th century, hemp was one of the main textile fibers around.
Hemp as a Bio-Fuel
As for the possibility of hemp fuel, in this time of oil price-surges, the alternative is sounding better and better to consumers-in-the-know everyday. This renewable source of energy has a multitude of potential benefits; hemp is easier to obtain and more environmentally-friendly to produce than oil, it is non-toxic, and it could greatly benefit farmers and, ultimately, the economy.
Of course, much of what relies on oil today would require restructuring to run on hemp fuel, and adopting such a drastically different policy is impossible without the concerted effort of businesses, consumers, and government alike.
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.