Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hemp, The environmental friendly plant and the history behind.

Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants known.

Hemp is a term reserved mainly for low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) strains of the plant Cannabis sativa. Of the approximately 2000 cannabis plants varieties known, about 90% contain only low-grade THC and are most useful for their fiber, seeds and medicinal or psychoactive oils.
 Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. Hemp is very environmentally friendly as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides.  It has been called a carbon-negative raw material.
Hemcrete brick. Hemcrete carbon neutral; it’s actually carbon negative. CO2 from the atmosphere is trapped in the hemp plants as they grow, and remains there after the plants are harvested.
Hemp is an ancient plant that has been cultivated for millennia. The Columbia History of the World (1996) states that that weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago! Carbon tests have suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 B.C.
Hemp drying
 In Great Britain, hemp cultivation dates back to 800AD. In the 16th Century, Henry VIII encouraged farmers to plant the crop extensively to provide materials for the British Naval fleet. A steady supply of hemp was needed for the construction of battleships and their components. Riggings, pendants, pennants, sails, and oakum were all made from hemp fiber and oil. Hemp paper was used for maps, logs, and even for the Bibles that sailors may have brought on board.
 
Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products. The bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend.










 Hemp has an incredible nutritional profile that can help people fill some holes in their diet,” says Ashley Koff, a registered dietician who’s partial to the healthy benefits of hemp:
–Hemp is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—which our bodies can’t make and we must get in food, including the elusive GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).
-It contains important nutrients like iron, magnesium, and vitamin E.
-Hemp is a complete protein, meaning it can provide your body with all of the essential amino acids, a definite plus for vegetarians and vegans. “Having more whole-food, complete-protein options means you don’t have to rely as much on a protein bar,” says Koff.


Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into hemp milk (akin to soy milk), prepared as tea, and used in baking. The fresh leaves can also be consumed in salads. Products include cereals, frozen waffles, hemp tofu, and nut butters. A few companies produce value added hemp seed items that include the seed oils, whole hemp grain (which is sterilized by law in the United States, where they import it from China and Canada). Hemp is also used in some organic cereals, for non-dairy milk somewhat similar to soy and nut milks, and for non-dairy hemp "ice cream."
 Within the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has treated hemp as purely a non-food crop. Seed appears on the UK market as a legal food product, and cultivation licenses are available for this purpose. In North America, hemp seed food products are sold, typically in health food stores or through mail order.

In the17th Century America, farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were ordered by law to grow Indian hemp. By the early 18th century, a person could be sentenced to jail if they weren’t growing hemp on their land! Hemp was considered to be legal tender. For over 200 years in colonial America, hemp was currency that one could use to pay their taxes with! 
The 1850 U.S. census documented approximately 8,400 hemp plantations of at least 2000 acres.
Viewing hemp as a threat, a smear campaign against hemp was started by competing industries, associating hemp with marijuana.
Propaganda films like “Reefer Madness” assured hemp’s demise.

When Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, the decline of hemp effectively began. The tax and licensing regulations of the act made hemp cultivation nearly impossible for American farmers. Anslinger, the chief promoter of the Tax Act, argued for anti-marijuana legislation around the world.
An interesting situation arose during World War II as American Farmers were prohibited from producing hemp because of the 1937 law. However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor halted the importation of Manila hemp from the Philippines, prompting the USDA to rethink their agenda and creating a call to action with the release of the film Hemp for Victory, motivating American Farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The government formed a private company called War Hemp Industries to subsidize hemp cultivation. One million acres of hemp were grown across the Midwest as part of this program. As soon as the war ended, all of the hemp processing plants were shut down and the industry again disappeared. However, wild hemp may be found scattered across the country.

 The world leading producer of hemp is China with smaller production in Europe, Chile and North Korea. While more hemp is exported to the United States than to any other country, the United States Government does not consistently distinguish between marijuana and the non-psychoactive Cannabis used for industrial and commercial purposes.



Some referral sites:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/etc/cron.html
http://davidkretzmann.com/2012/06/the-tragic-history-of-hemp-and-why-it-must-be-decriminalized/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp
http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2011/08/03/hemp-seeds-why-healthy-celebs-and-mds-want-you-to-love-them/#
http://www.hemp.com/history-of-hemp/
http://www.votehemp.com/what_can_i_do.html






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