Have you ever worn a hemp bracelet or a piece of clothing made with hemp fibers? If so, you’re wearing cannabis, though perhaps not the kind you’re used to. Hemp is a specific strain of cannabis which has a low THC level, but a high CBD level. CBD is the cannabinoid which lessens the effects of THC, in this case making it, basically, non-existent.
Who would want such a thing? Well, hemp actually has a significantly large number of uses, far more than just making trendy bracelets. We’re talking paper, clothing, plastics, paint, insulation and biofuel. Really, there are a lot of uses for this stuff.
Hemp as a Building Material
Back in 1986, Charles Rasetti was renovating the Maison de la Turque and had the bright idea to create hempcrete. This is a combination of hemp and lime, with the hemp fibers adding strength to the bricks. In 2000, the stuff was used to build a couple test dwellings. Then, in 2009, The Renewable House was completed, its claim to fame being it was built from hemp-based materials.
Hemp as Plastic
Have you bought a car in the past 15 years? There’s a chance it has some hemp in it. By mixing fiberglass, hemp fibers and a few other materials, a plastic is being made and used for panels in vehicles. Some big companies have started using them. BMW, Ford, Honda, GM and more are using hemp in their cars, and not just the cheapo ones. The Mercedes C-Class, for instance, makes use of nearly 44 pounds of hemp-based plastics in it.
Hemp for Cloth
One of the more common uses of hemp fibers is in clothing. When cloth is made from hemp, it takes on an almost linen-like quality and is quite durable. In the past, it has been used in canvas for ship sails, with the word canvas actually being a derivative of the word cannabis. For some time, hemp was even used to make rope, though this came with its own issues.
Since hemp has a propensity to hold water within its fibers, it is susceptible to rotting. Because of this, hemp rope had to go through a tarring process to keep water from seeping inside. This wasn’t a long and painful process. Once Manila became available to more folks, hemp rope was phased out for the easier to work with material.