Hemp facts and some fun hemp history
Here are some fun and very interesting facts regarding hemp. Some of them are more scientific than others but I think we all can agree on how interesting they are.
- Until 1883, 75-90% of all paper in the U.S. was made with hemp.
- Hemp seed was the # 1-selling bird feed; 4 million pounds were sold in the U.S. in 1937.
- In the mid-to-late 1800’s the 2nd & 3rd most commonly used medications were concentrated cannabis extracts and resins (a.k.a. hashish).
- A bridge in the south of France dated at 500-700 A.D. was built with a mixture of hemp.
- In 1941 Henry Ford built a car with a plastic made from hemp and wheat straw.
- Until 1937 70-90% of all rope and twine was made with hemp.
- Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations.
- In 1850 the U.S. Census reported 8,327 hemp plantation of at least 2000 acres in size. Not counted were thousands of smaller crops.
- The original Levi Strauss jeans were made from hemp.
- In 1942 the U.S. government strongly encouraged hemp cultivation to help with the war effort, going so far as to produce a film entitled “Hemp For Victory“.
- The version of the Declaration of Independence released on July 4, 1776 was written on hemp.
Hemp and Industry
There are over 25,000 known uses for hemp.
The heating and compressing of hemp fibers can create building materials superior to wood in strength, quality and cost.
Hemp is heat, mildew, pest, light, and rot resistant.
Hemp fabric is softer, warmer, more water resistant and more durable than cotton. Hemp fabric also uses less chemicals to produce.
Industrial uses of hemp in China date as far back as 10,000 years.
Hemp as a Fuel Source
A bio-diesel fuel is one made from hemp oil, vegetable oil, or other animal fat(see hemp fuel). The original idea wax developed in 1895 by Dr. Rudolph Diesel, who developed the first engine than ran on vegetable oil. He demonstrated the engine at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris, France, running the engine on peanut oil.
Hemp can be blended with diesel fuel in any ratio or used alone.
Biodiesel fuel is the only alternative fuel that can be used as-is, in any un-modified diesel engine.
The increased use of biodiesel fuels would reduce dependence on foreign sources while increasing national agricultural jobs and revenues.
The flashpoint of petroleum fuel is 125 degrees Fahrenheit while the flashpoint of biodiesel fuels is 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Biodiesel fuels have been used successfully in Europe for over 20 years.
Hemp as a Profitable Crop
- Hemp is cold hardy, able to withstand even NH winters.
- Hemp is pest resistant ( except from the 2-legged kind)
- Hemp is drought resistant
- It is estimated that if 6% of the continental U.S. planted with hemp would provide for all national energy needs.
- Hemp has a production rate of up to 10 tons per acre, every 4 months.
- 1 acre of usable hemp fiber is equal to the usable fiber of 4 acres of trees or 2 acres of cotton.
- Trees mature in 50-100 years; hemp matures in as little as 100 days.
- The University of Missouri estimates that an average-size metropolitan area production of 100 million gallons of biodiesel fuel could generate $8.34million in personal income and 6000 temporary and permanent jobs. (Ref: National Biodiesel Board)
- In 1776 a hemp shirt cost .50 cents to $1.00; a cotton shirt cost $100-$200
Hemp and the Environment
- Biodiesel fuels emit 80% less carbon dioxide & nearly 100% less sulfur dioxide.
- Hemp paper can be recycled up to seven (7) times; wood pulp paper can be recycled four (4) times.
- Hemp fuels do not destroy the ozone layer or contribute to global warming.
- Hemp fuels burn clean; they do not cause acid rain.
- Hemp fuel is 10 times less toxic than salt, and as biodegradable as sugar.
Hemp and Health
Hemp oil is the highest source of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which, among other things, help control cholesterol, arterial blockage and the immune system.
Commonly-known medicinal uses of hemp include: nausea & vomiting; multiple sclerosis/muscle spasm disorders; spinal cord injuries; Chron’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease; Tourette’s syndrome; digestive disorders; glaucoma; asthma; neurodegenerative disorders;
At one time American companies Eli Lily, Squibb and Park Davis produced cannabis extract medicines.
Hemp and the Law
In 1619 Jamestown Colony, Virginia enacted laws ordering farmers to grow hemp. Similar laws were enacted in Massachusetts in 1631, Connecticut in 1632 and the Chesapeake Colonies in the mid-1700’s.
In England, foreigners were awarded with citizenship if they grew cannabis; those who refused were fined.
From 1631 until the early 1800’s, hemp was used as legal money, with which one could buy goods and pay bills.
Hawaii is the first state sine the 1950’s to legally plant a hemp crop.
Hemp and the Arts
“Alice in Wonderland” was originally printed on hemp paper. It’s author, Lewis Carroll, was a frequent marijuana smoker.
The paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt were regularly painted on hemp canvases.
In 1935 116 million pounds (58,000 tons) of hemp seed was used to make paints and varnishes.
Industrial Hemp Production and US Marijuana Prohibition
During the years 1916-1937, William Randolph Hearst created a yellow journalism campaign to associate hemp with marijuana. Even though smoking hemp, like most fibers, will just make you sick, Hearst, along with his friend Pierre DuPont, succeeded in outlawing hemp in America. They actually robbed the world of an environmental cash crop. Why would they do such a thing? Because instead of using hemp for paper, clothing, fuel, oils, resins, medicines, and many other uses, we now use trees and synthetic petrochemicals. Hearst owned huge forests and interests in lumber mills. DuPont made synthetic fuels and fibers (nylon, rayon, plastics) from petroleum. And so the story goes…. Learn more at the Hemp University