First Sentence Hemp is not synonymous with Marijuana, although they are related. You cant get high off hemp. Hemp is a rather interesting plant though. Here are a few interesting facts about industrial hemp.
Back in 1883 between 75 90 % of the paper in the US was made with hemp fiber. In fact both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp and the declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. Hemp made a high quality durable paper. This durable paper also is more resistant to yellowing.
The long fiber of the hemp plant also makes it an easier paper to recycle, usually it can be recycled several times more often that wood based paper and requires far milder chemicals for the bleaching process. Instead of using chlorine bleach with its extremely toxic dioxin, bleaching with hydrogen peroxide is possible.
Hemp in Automotive Products
Because of the strength of hemp fiber and Henry Fords desire to build and run cars off of farm products he experimented with hemp to build car bodies. The resultant material was both very strong and light. BMW is still testing hemp materials to help make cars friendlier for the environment and easier to recycle.
The oil of hemp seed is useful in many different products ranging from paints, resins, varnishes and shellacs. It is even possible to run some diesel engines off the hemp oil.
Hemp Oil Natural Health Products
Refined hemp oil also has the interesting property of being a well balanced oil for use in cosmetics. Many of the highest quality natural health products use hemp oil as a base. The anti oxidants in the oil help boost skin cell renewal and the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are part of the essential fatty acids required by our skin.
Cotton has been long considered one of the premium materials to make clothing from however hemp fibers are longer, stronger and more absorbent that cotton and even have the additional benefit of being one of the more effective fabrics in blocking the suns UV rays. The fibers of hemp can even be made into a linen quality fabric.
Because of hemps natural resistance to pests, little or no insecticide is needed unlike cotton which requires a large amount of insecticide. Industrial hemp is grown in very tight rows to maximize the fiber produced, this blocks out weeds and eliminated the need for herbicides to be used in the farming process making the plant far more environmentally friendly that cotton. This also rules out the possibility of hiding marijuana plants in the field, plants that require space between the plants do that the leaves can grow larger.
For more information on this interesting plant visit the North American Industrial Hemp council