What can hemp be used for?

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 3-2-11

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 3-2-11. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3289

Question of the Week: What can hemp be used for?

A 2010 report from the Congressional Research Service defines,

“Hemp, also called “industrial hemp,”3 [as] cannabis varieties that are primarily grown as an agricultural crop (such as seeds and fiber, and byproducts such as oil, seed cake, hurds) …”

According to the 2008 National Hemp Strategy from the Manitoba Agriculture,

“The hemp plant has three primary components: bast fibre, hurd, and seed / oil.”

The report goes on to describe the uses of each,

Hemp bast fibres are among the strongest and most durable of natural fibres, with high tensile strength, wet strength, and other characteristics favourable for various industrial products …including cordage (rope, twine, etc.), specialty papers, fabrics for clothing and other applications, and industrial textiles such as geotextiles and carpeting. The strength of hemp fibre also makes it ideal for use in a range of composites for applications such as moulded car parts and fibreboard for construction.”

“The whole hemp stalk can also be used to produce various biofuels such as bio-oil (or pyrolytic liquid), cellulosic ethanol, (synthetic gas) and methane. … The processes by which hemp is converted to biofuels may also produce valuable chemicals and other materials as bi-products.”

Hemp oil is extremely nutritious, and is used in foods and nutraceutical products for humans and animals, as well as in personal care products. Hemp oil is also suitable for use in industrial products such as paints, varnishes, inks and industrial lubricants, and can be used to produce biodiesel. The crushed seed meal left over from oil production is frequently used for animal feed.”

These facts and others like them can be found in the recently updated Hemp Chapter of Drug War Facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org.