10 things you didn't know about hemp
Hemp is a plant that has been used worldwide for centuries. Recently, its popularity has significantly increased, leading to more and more people using CBD hemp oils. Hemp is a plant known and used for years, but the ways it can be used can surprise many. Not all are as obvious as it might seem! Below we present 10 interesting facts about hemp that may interest you.
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A car made of hemp? It was created by Henry Ford!
Hemp is characterized by the fact that its fibers are extremely durable, which is why they have their application in both the textile and construction industries. But not only that, because it turns out that you can also make… a car out of hemp! Hemp enthusiasts will certainly be interested in the story of how Henry Ford, the creator of the popular car brand, in 1941 created a car from hemp-based plastic, which was powered by hemp fuel. This is one of the more interesting pieces of information about hemp – as currently there are no longer such vehicles made. In Henry Ford’s museum, you can even find a New York Times publication on this subject. It turns out that the inspiration to create a car from hemp was World War II, and mainly the fact that the armed conflict led to a large shortage of steel, which prompted Ford to look for alternative, environmentally friendly solutions. The car turned out to be much lighter than traditional cars and quite durable. Unfortunately, the steel and fuel industry probably contributed to the limitation of the production of hemp cars, and therefore no more such vehicles were created.
Hemp houses are the present!
Hemp fibers, due to their high durability, can be used in the construction industry. One of the building materials made from this plant is so-called hempcrete, or hemp concrete, which is not only ecological but also excellently muffles sounds and insulates heat. Filling a wooden wall with hemp concrete affects its durability and can prevent the natural destruction of wood. Although hemp houses are not yet a very popular solution in the construction industry, the popularity of ecological alternatives may make hempcrete one of the main materials used in building construction in the future. Additionally, hemp bricks are not as flammable as, for example, wood, which makes hemp buildings more resistant to fires. Maybe you know the popular pipe seals made of fibers? That’s also hemp and you probably have it at home!
Among the interesting facts about hemp, it is worth mentioning that in past centuries some artists created their paintings on canvases made of hemp. They were used by, among others, Renaissance masters like Rembrandt, as well as the well-known Van Gogh. The Declaration of Independence of the United States was even drawn up on hemp paper.
A hemp plane? It’s possible!
The Canadian company Hempearth has made a project, foreseeing the creation of an airplane, both the external and internal structure of which will be made of hemp. It assumes that the created machine will have a greater flight than those made from traditional materials, because it is characterized by greater lightness, and therefore, to achieve the appropriate height, it will need less fuel.
Expensive fuel? Maybe… fill up with hemp?
Hemp shows enormous potential in terms of their use in creating biofuels. Henry Ford already proved this when he created a car from hemp mentioned earlier. At that time, the hemp fuel industry had no chance of development. Currently, when the whole world is opening up to ecology, this is more feasible. Creating fuel from hemp has many benefits. First of all, it is cleaner than soy and rapeseed biofuels, and besides, hemp is relatively easy to grow. This means good access to the raw material from which such biofuel would be made. This could be a great alternative for cheap and ecological fuel in the future.
Emperor’s hemp robes
In Japan, hemp has been used in the weaving industry for a very long time. Once, fabrics made from hemp were used as a material for kimonos for the lower social classes. Despite this, Japanese religious tradition required the emperor to wear hemp robes. Why? Well, hemp had a sacred meaning for Hinduism. Wearing hemp robes for non-religious purposes is common in this country to this day, and what’s more, decorative hemp fabrics are a valuable import product of Japan.
Hemp can replace trees!
Hemp plants show a high ability to absorb and retain carbon dioxide. A hectare of hemp can absorb up to 22 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, which gives a much higher value than in the case of trees. The simplicity of growing hemp makes it an interesting alternative in terms of oxygen production, not only can they grow up to 100 meters in 100 days, making their crops a better way of sequestering carbon dioxide than feeding, but also they can be grown twice a year. Hemp, which grows quickly and absorbs a lot of CO2, could significantly improve air quality in an ecological way, and also replace deforestation – after all, you can also build, produce paper or… plastic from hemp!
Hemp helped end World War II
The limitation of raw material supplies for the construction of military equipment, caused by the breaking of America’s supply chain with Asia, led to the American government starting a program to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the purpose of using them to create the necessary materials. American farmers took these recommendations to heart and thanks to their actions, it was possible to create enough equipment with the addition of hemp, which supported the actions of the Allied forces in the fight against the Nazis and the end of military operations.
Hemp wine? The first in Europe made by Poles!
Wine lovers will certainly be pleased with the fact that this alcohol can also be obtained from hemp. Wino Linia Konopie was created by the Sarecki Family and was made from a combination of hemp leaves with high-quality semi-sweet red grape wine. The basis of this drink is a special herbal recipe, which means that it can also be used as a means of supporting the body. However, in the case of alcohol, we recommend moderation. Even if it’s hard to resist hemp wine.
Vikings had hemp with them even on the water!
In 1904, in Oserberg (Oslo), a Viking cemetery was found, and in it a ship, in which a bag of hemp was discovered. To this day, it is not known for sure what these plants served the Vikings, but it is estimated that this tribe used them to alleviate pain in various diseases. This is not confirmed, however, hemp could also serve as a raw material for creating, among others, ropes, clothes, or sails.
Hemp as a plastic substitute
Large amounts of plastic pose a very serious problem for our planet and encourage manufacturers to look for alternative solutions. One of them is obtaining bioplastic from hemp. This type of material can also be recycled, but if it is not subjected to it, it will degrade itself within 6 months. What’s more, hemp bioplastic is not toxic, and it surpasses ordinary polypropylene in terms of strength. Unfortunately, hemp plastic as an alternative to ordinary plastic is not yet commonly used. The main obstacle here is the price, which does not result from the production process itself, but rather from the lack of appropriate processing plants and commercial mechanisms that could deal with its creation.