Can Hemp Can Save the Earth?
It may sound silly to make a blanket statement such as ‘Hemp Can Save the Earth’.
And yet, the possibilities with this plant are truly endless. You can eat its seeds to access one of the most nutritious-dense plant-based sources provided by Mother Nature. You can treat countless ailments including pain and inflammation with its oils. You can make clothing, rope and paper from its fibers. You can make plastics which are biodegradable. You can even utilize hemp plants as a natural cleaner of soils contaminated with a multitude of toxic substances. Oh and you can also produce better, longer-lasting paper products with less water, fertilizers and pesticides.
Don’t believe us. Let’s look at each claim in detail.
Hemp Seed vs. Meat: Can a hemp diet sustain us?
Let’s start with the aspect that the World is hopelessly dependent on meat as its main food source. This is fueled by a PR campaign that has stretched back to the 1920s. Corporate and government propaganda encourages us to consume meat and dairy products starting at a very young age. We are mislead to believe that animal products are healthy for our bodies and a necessity for growing children. We are taught that meat is the only viable source of protein.
In fact, years of science research teaches us the opposite. A mostly plant-based diet is optimum for health (and prevention of obesity, especially in young children), and that eating too much meat, cheese, and other animal foods contributes to heart disease, cancer (especially colon cancer), and other chronic illness such as Type 2 diabetes.
Ask any American why they eat meat and they will undoubtedly tell you that they need protein. And yet most vegetarians and vegans have managed to avoid Kwashiorkor – a form of malnutrition from lack of protein.
Not only is meat not a requirement for a human diet, but hemp seeds alone have more usable and easily digestible protein per gram than almost any other food source. They even contain all nine of the essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are also extremely generous sources of the essential fatty acids linoleic acid, commonly known as omega-6, and alpha-linoleic acid, also called omega-3.
As a matter of fact, it is quite possible that one could survive on a deserted island solely on a diet of hemp seeds, guavas, and coconuts. We add the guavas for Vitamin C intake which hemp seeds don’t have and the coconuts for hydration since drinkable water is hard to find on a deserted island. Now we don’t recommend this diet. But the point is a plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables and hemp are more than enough to sustain us. Think about that.
Now it is not to say that meat production should be banned. Humans have always ate meat.
Native Americans hunted for animals such as deer, buffalo and turkeys. But a single animal would feed a whole tribe. That is because meat was used more as a seasoning as opposed to a main course. It seasoned vegetable dishes such as soups and stews. Even more notable is the absence of tooth decay and dental deformities in Native Americans. Vegetables don’t promote tooth decay. Of course meat is not the only thing which contributes to tooth decay. We have our sugars and carbonated beverages to help with that now.
But if you look at the actual numbers in meat farming, it is shocking, disturbing and quite sad. What is actually required to feed meat to the nearly 8 billion (a number which is expected to rise to ten billion by 2050) people in the World?
The meat farming industry is both environmentally destructive and causes extremely high carbon emissions. And quite simply, we slaughter over 56 billion farmed animals every year. That number sadly doesn’t even include fish and other creatures of the sea – some who are often killed as collateral damage in attempts to capture the fish we were attempting to kill. Those numbers are too great to count. Instead we simply count the aquatic dead in tons.
Finally, we have world hunger. Remember when we said that humans can survive on hemp seeds, guavas and coconuts alone? Now consider that 795 million people in the World do not have access to enough food to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
It is fair to say that hemp can save the World simply by helping to feed the World population while eliminating world hunger and simultaneously saving 56 billion animals every year (again not counting fish).
What are the Medicinal Qualities of Hemp?
The simple fact is that the medicinal benefits of hemp and cannabis alone should justify that these plants should not only be legal worldwide, but they should be a part of every human’s daily intake.
The hemp plant (and its close relative the cannabis plant) produce over 100 cannabinoids, as well as flavonoids, terpenes and terpenoids. As with most plants, these ingredients all work together to produce their desired effects. By capturing the full spectrum of therapeutic compounds that cannabis and hemp offer, humans can truly experience the amazing healing qualities of this plant.
Having said that, the medicinal benefits of just one of those cannabinoids – CBD (cannabidiol) – is more than enough to justify this plant’s use. CBD is an appealing option for patients looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and numerous other conditions.
CBD is an interesting example because research definitely shows that while it is effective by itself, CBD works better with the rest of the plant’s ingredients working with it. This is known as The Entourage Effect.
According to Project CBD, scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. Further evidence suggests that CBD is safe even at high doses.
The main advantage of isolating CBD instead of using a whole plant extract is that CBD is non-psychoactive. Due to the legality staus of hemp and cannabis, this is often a very appealing option. And some people also simply do not care for the “high” that THC – the other main compound that cannabis produces.
Again quoting Project CBD: CBD and THC interact synergistically to potentiate each other’s curative qualities. CBD enhances THC’s painkilling and anticancer properties, while lessening THC’s psychoactivity. CBD can also mitigate adverse effects caused by too much THC, such as anxiety and rapid heartbeat. When both compounds are present in sufficient amounts in the same cannabis strain or product, CBD will lower the ceiling on the THC high while prolonging its duration. (“Relaxing but not intoxicating” is how one patient described CBD-rich cannabis.) CBD broadens the range of conditions treatable with cannabis, such as liver, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, which may be less responsive to THC-dominant remedies. CBD and THC both stimulate neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, in adult mammals.
While CBD and THC are the most prevalent cannabinoids present in cannabis, there are many others each with their own medical benefits. It’s no longer a question of whether cannabis and hemp works — today the key question is how to use cannabis for maximum therapeutic benefit.
It is also worth noting that the human population has actually become cannabinoid-deficient over the last century. Between the US making both cannabis and hemp illegal, along with the elimination of hemp feed given to farm animals, we simply no longer get the access to cannabinoids which we used to.
And yet humans have an endocannabinoid system. This system is a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules. In layman’s terms, it a padlock on each cell. The keys to these padlocks are called agonists. As the name suggests, the main agonists are cannabinoids.
In humans, this system controls energy homeostasis and mainly influences the function of the food intake centers of the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract activity. The endocannabinoid system regulates not only the central and peripheral mechanisms of food intake, but also lipids synthesis and turnover in the liver and adipose tissue as well as glucose metabolism in muscle cells. Finally, it helps to maintain optimal balance in the body . Quite simply, when the body does not produce enough endocannabinoids or cannot regulate them properly, you are more susceptible to illnesses.
If you think that is not an issue since America has access to the best doctors with the latest prescription drugs – consider this: America is the most medicated nation on Earth, with roughly 70 percent of Americans taking prescription drugs. Yet Americans also have the worst health outcomes of any industrialized nation.
Why take prescription drugs which do not work, produce nasty side effects and are prescribed by doctors who are paid to prescribe them by pharmaceutical lobbyists? Most importantly, why take (and pay) for these drugs when cannabis is such an effective medicine for countless diseases and ailments?
Hemp Fibers are Stronger and Longer-lasting than Cotton Fibers!
Hemp Fibers are amongst the strongest fibers which a plant can produce. Today, hemp fibers are predominantly used in the automotive industry. They can be used as reinforcement forpillars, door panels, boot linings and passenger rear decks.
Hemp Fibers are also used in the pulp and paper industry. In addition, insulation is another important area of hemp fiber application. They are even included as an additive to strengthen cement in many construction applications.
Hemp fiber can be woven into light materials for clothing, durable textiles for commercial industrial purposes, and even into very strong ropes and cables for heavy lifting and pulling. Compared to cotton, hemp lasts much longer. It doesn’t wear out and actually even softens over time. In addition, it uses less pesticides – if any. Accounting for less than 2.5% of cropland worldwide, cotton actually uses 16% of the pesticides. Hemp uses half of the land area which cotton does to produce the same amount. Not only that, but hemp needs much less water. It takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce 2 pounds of cotton – the equivalent of a single T-shirt and pair of jeans. Cotton is singlehandedly depleting our limited freshwater sources. Hemp will produce the same amount with less than 10% of the amount of water required by cotton.
Even the creator of Levi’s Jeans knew this. Levi Strauss once made his famous jeans from hemp fiber textiles.
What About Hemp Plastic?
Then there is the problem with our oceans. They are filled with non-biodegradable plastics. An estimated five trillion individual pieces of plastic are estimated to be floating in our oceans. And humans are producing a whopping 220 million tons of new plastic every year.
Then there are the garbage patches. These garbage patches have plastic which has accumulated in regions called gyres, where currents circle and push water toward the center, trapping the floating bits. There are five major gyres in the world, one in each major ocean.
Even if you don’t care about the ocean and its marine life, if you eat fish this can effect you. Many of the plastics in the ocean are actually microplastics. Fish can’t distinguish them from regular organisms they eat and thus, they ingest the microplastics. Then we pluck the fish from the sea and it ends up on your dinner plate. Now you are ingesting the plastics inside of the fish.
The North Atlantic Garbage patch is another major vortex of trash. It has the highest concentrations of plastic roughly from the latitude of Virginia to the latitude of Cuba. They estimate the average concentration of plastic in this area is about 4,000 pieces per square mile, though it is as high as 250,000 pieces per square mile in some places.
The main problem with plastic is that it is often used only once and then discarded. Wouldn’t using a biodegradable hemp plastic be a better answer?
It is disgusting to even write these words. Critics will quickly point out that hemp plastic cannot do all of the things which regular plastic does. So lets simply start by replacing the plastics it can measure up to. Even if hemp plastic can only successfully mimic petroleum-based plastic 30% of the time, that could produce an enormous change. And lets head over to these garbage patches and clean them up.
Is Your Soil Decontaminated? Hemp Can Help With That!
Hemp is an excellent plant for phytoremediation – the removal, degradation, or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water and groundwater.
For almost two decades, industrial hemp was grown in the environs of the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. For those who don’t know, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown was the worst disaster in the history of nuclear power generation. Between 50 and 185 million curies of radionuclides escaped into the atmosphere—several times more radioactivity than that created by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The hemp planted has been working tirelessly during that time to decontaminate the soil.
Meanwhile, in Puglia, Italy, The Ilva steel plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, has poisoned local soil, plants, animals, and human residents for decades with its toxic emissions. Within a 20 km radius of the plant, grazing livestock are prohibited. Beginning in 2012, millions of cannabis plants were planted in an effort to decontaminate the area.
According to Herb.co, following the devastating environmental damage caused by the Fukushima meltdown, Japan is considering using hemp to aid their clean up efforts. However, due to the Cannabis Control Law forced into Japanese law by the occupying U.S. powers in 1948, hemp may only be grown under license, which are highly restricted and difficult to obtain.
Hemp grows quickly, has deep roots and doesn’t appear to be stunted by pollution. Quite simply, hemp is one of the best plants to use in phytoremediation, despite other plants such as sunflowers being slightly more efficient.
In other words, hemp – in addition to all of the above noted reasons – hemp and cannabis can also purify the environment.
Why is the legal status of hemp and cannabis still in flux? Hemp really can help to save the Earth.