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The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis: 15+ Industries Using Hemp

Discover the importance of cannabis in twenty-five industries, from construction and clothing to energy and food, along with the different ways it can be used

For thousands of years, people have used cannabis for different reasons, including medicine, food, and entertainment.

As one of the first-ever plants to be cultivated, the plant has a long and storied history. Hemp, a variety of cannabis, can be used to make over 25,000 different products.

It may come as a surprise to some, but cannabis was only made illegal in many countries during the 20th century because of its psychoactive effects – after millenniums of use. Nevertheless, some argue the real reason was to protect specific industries, such as crude oil and pharmaceuticals.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of the plant. Many countries have legalised it for industrial and medicinal purposes, while some have even legalised it for recreational use.

While the cost of production is relatively low, the plant can be used to make a wide variety of products, meaning its economic potential is in the trillions of dollars. Additionally, its environmental benefits make it attractive for sustainable options.

Cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis, have been shown to have various medicinal benefits. Whether carrying out medical experiments to find new uses in THC, CBD, CBG, or any other cannabinoid, the potential for cannabis as medicine is seemingly boundless.

As the legal landscape changes worldwide, it is projected that the hemp industry will grow by 16.9% each year until 2030. As a point in fact, the European Union (EU) increased the land it uses to cultivate hemp by 75% between 2015-2019.

This article looks at the twenty-five industries where hemp can be used to make products. Without further ado, here is the list:

1. Health

One of the most popular uses of cannabis is for health and wellbeing. Cannabinoids can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, and seizures. There are also yet-to-be-discovered ways cannabinoids can be used to treat illnesses. Although cannabis has medicinal benefits, it is also crucial to be aware of the possible side effects.

2. Textiles and Apparel

Hemp’s fibres are strong and durable, making them ideal for clothing. In fact, because of its durability, hemp was historically used to make sails for ships. It is also environmentally friendly, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to grow. Examples of hemp products in the clothing category include jeans, shirts, hats, and shoes.

3. Paper

Hemp can also be used to make paper. Hemp paper is said to be more durable and eco-friendly than tree paper. It can also be recycled more times than tree paper. For example, hemp paper can be recycled up to seven times, while tree paper can only be recycled three times. Hemp paper was used to make the first American paper money, and people in ancient China were using hemp paper to make books as far back as two thousand years ago.

4. Food

Hemp seeds are a great source of nutrition and can be used to make various foods, such as milk, cheese, butter, and bread. Hemp seeds are also a good source of protein and essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6. It also contains vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iron. Hemp seed oil could also be used as cooking oil. The broad topic of food alone has hundreds of subcategories.

5. Construction

Hemp can also be used in the construction industry. Hempcrete is becoming a popular alternative to traditional concrete. It is made by mixing hemp hurds (the woody inner part of the hemp plant) with water and lime. It is then used as a construction material, much like concrete. It is said to be more environmentally friendly than traditional concrete because it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

6. Cosmetics

Hemp seed oil can be used in cosmetics, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion. Hemp oil is said to be good for the skin, hair, and nails. It is also a natural sunblock and can help protect the skin against ageing and damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

7. Animal-Feed

Hemp seeds can also be used as animal feed. They can also help improve the coat and skin of animals, reducing antibiotic use and increasing immunity. As a result, when people consume products made from animals fed hemp, they also get the benefits of hemp.

8. Bioplastic

Hemp can be used to make various types of plastic. For example, it can be used to make biodegradable plastic bags. It can also make car parts, such as dashboards and doors. Henry Ford’s Model T was made partly using the material. Hemp plastics, without question, are more environmentally friendlier than traditional plastics made from petroleum.

9. Energy-Production

Hemp can be used as fuel. It is said to be more environmentally friendly because it produces less carbon dioxide when burned. Hemp biodiesel can also be used with little or no modification in any diesel engine. Not only is it more efficient than corn in producing biofuel, but it is also renewable.

10. Paint

Making paint is another way to use hemp. The current petroleum-based paints are doing significant harm to our environment. Hemp oil-based paint is non-toxic, lead-free, and easier to clean up than traditional paint. World-renowned painters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh utilised hemp-based paints in some of their most well-known paintings.

11. Insulation

Another way to use hemp is as insulation. It is said to be more environmentally friendly than fibreglass insulation because it does not off-gas harmful chemicals. Hemp insulation can also be more effective in keeping homes warm in winter and cool in summer. Preventing allergies is another advantage of using hemp insulation, as it is more resistant to mould, rodents and dust mites.

12. Drugs

The most common use of hemp is in the drug industry, both legal and illegal, often consumed by smoking. Although most people think of cannabis when they think of hemp drugs, other types of drugs are made from hemps, such as hashish and hash oil. In recent years, medical marijuana has been gaining more acceptance. The cannabis debate has some governments arguing it should be decriminalised and others stating their use should be controlled, regulated, and even outlawed.

13. Climate Action

Considering the planet is warming at an alarming rate, action must be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change. Planting trees is one way to do this, but another is to grow hemp. Hemp absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees, capturing it and storing it in the soil, which makes it an effective way to tackle warming. Additionally, it grows relatively quickly, making it a viable short-term solution that can benefit farmers financially when harvested to make other products.

14. Environmental Action

Hemp helps improve the quality of the soil and can be used to remediate contaminated land. In 1986, when the Chernobyl nuclear accident happened, hemp was planted around the site to cleanse the soil against radiation. Having hemp farms in place before a nuclear war occurs is an excellent way to prepare for catastrophic events. As such, governments can ensure their people will have arable land, meaning access to fresh food and supplies in the event of an emergency.

15. Water-Purification

When it comes to purifying water, hemp is a convenient option. The plant can be used to filter out heavy metals and other toxins, making it an affordable choice for cleaning up water supplies. Since charcoal is the most common filtration method, which causes a lot of pollution, it is easy to guess why hemp is a more eco-friendly and sustainable option.

The bottom line

Hemp provides various uses and benefits from an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) perspective, where the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it is also economical, practical, and financially viable.

As the world becomes more aware of the importance of sustainability, it will likely play a more prominent role in everyday life. No plant-based options can compare to cannabis when taking climate action.

It will be intriguing to see how the world uses this versatile plant in the future.

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