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15 Facts About Hemp

Published January 24, 2022

Hemp continues to surprise us all, but this list of hemp facts will throw you for a loop.

It is easy to notice all the different ways hemp can be consumed, but many are not aware of what this versatile plant offers outside of consumption.

From leaves to stalk, hemp can be useful in areas your mind could never imagine. 

1. Hemp is legal in all 50 states

On December 20, 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed by President Donald Trump. According to this bill, hemp is federally legal to cultivate and distribute. After this bill passed, states across the country made amendments to their hemp policy.

As of January 24, 2022 hemp is legal in all 50 states with a concentration limit of 0.3% of Delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis.

2. Hemp was a top crop during the colonial era

You may have missed this in history class, but it’s true. Hemp was grown on American soil before this nation was founded. 

Hemp first made its way to North America during the early 1600s with settlers. This plant was one of the top crops grown during this era, as it was used to produce durable ropes, sails, and other materials. 

3. Hemp contains over 100 known cannabinoids

Hemp’s complexity is far greater than the eye can see. With research and development in technology, we have found there are over 100 different compounds in hemp, and as we continue to study this plant, it seems that there is much more to be discovered.

4. Our founding fathers grew hemp

Over time, there have been many myths to come to the surface surrounding the history of our founding fathers—but this isn’t one.

Looking at past journals from Thomas Jefferson, it is clear that hemp, along with other crops, was grown at Thomas Jefferson’s plantation.

Jefferson wasn’t alone in this because even George Washington grew this cash crop.

While there isn’t any evidence of anyone consuming it for relaxation or relief purposes, we do know that they considered it to be extremely valuable for trade and bartering.

5. China is the world’s top hemp producer 

For thousands of years, hemp was an agricultural commodity in world history, and like other countries, it too became banned—even in China.

But it didn’t take long to come back because in 2010, the prohibition of hemp was lifted, which consequently grew the hemp industry further than anticipated.

In fact, it grew so large that it’s suggested that China may be one of the top hemp producers globally. In 2019, it was reported that China had planted over 160,000 acres of hemp with over half of it used for fiber.

6. Hemp fibers can be processed into hemp insulation

Hemp insulation has become one of the most appealing building materials for those who are looking to build an eco-friendly home.

The material is made from the woody fibers inside of hemp stalk that is later processed into hemp insulation—which is non-toxic, durable, and breathable.

A large part of what makes this product popular stems down to offering homeowners a building material that will not only last, but will help reduce our carbon footprint.

7. Hemp was once mandatory to grow

In 1619, King James l compelled every property owner in Jamestown to grow 100 hemp plants to be sent back to England. If colonists did not abide by this, they could be fined or jailed.

8. Hemp was once used to pay taxes

Today, it seems like everyone pays with a credit card or cash to cover their tax bill, but did you know that paper currency wasn’t the only thing that taxing authorities accepted? In colonial times, goods such as cattle, labor, and hemp fibers were used to pay back creditors, and for some, this was the only way to cut off their debts.

9. The first car made from hemp

As it turns out, the first hemp automobile was made back in 1941. This project was led by Henry Ford, where he conducted 12 years of research before he presented a cellulose-plastic prototype car that ran on hemp-ethanol.

Compared to the average car, this vehicle was 300 pounds lighter and was stronger than steel.

Wait, how did they use hemp materials when hemp was illegal?

Although the United States outlawed hemp in 1937, Ford continued to grow it illegally.

However, due to the legal restrictions surrounding hemp and the mass amount needed, the idea was abandoned.

10. The first American flags were made from industrial hemp

In the late 1700s, Betsy Ross made the first American flag, which was later established as the official flag of this new nation. But beyond these beautiful stripes and stars, many don’t know that the original was made from industrial hemp.

11. Hemp is one of the most nutritious plants

Hemp seeds are considered to be a superfood, for its richness of protein, fiber, and healthy fatty acids, such as omega-3s and omega-6s. Trade out other nuts for hemp seeds, and find yourself enjoying the nutty flavor and all the benefits that come along with it.

12. Hemp material was historically used to make canvas

Calling all art enthusiasts with the love for painting. Did you know that canvases during the Italian Renaissance were traditionally made from hemp?

Despite the historical use of hemp canvas and the durability that the fabric offers, modern society primarily uses cotton materials instead.

If you’re looking for the best material to paint on, definitely give a hemp canvas a try!

13. Hemp material can be used in over 25,000 products

According to Forbes magazine, over 25,000 products can be made from hemp materials. Some items will include:

  • Body care
  • Foods and drinks
  • Paper
  • Clothing
  • Construction materials
  • Biofuels

And these are just a few! As technology and research continue to evolve, we are sure that this list will grow.

14. Hemp produces more paper than trees

In general, it can take 30 years or longer for trees to reach maturity. The time length will depend on the climate and water available, making it take far longer for those who grow trees in colder regions. With all of these setbacks in mind, hemp has made its way into the conversation.

In an adequate location, hemp takes four months to grow and contains a higher concentration of cellulose than wood. Plus, hemp paper requires fewer chemicals than tree paper, with fewer land resources needed.

15. Hemp absorbs toxic metals

A devastating nuclear accident in 1986, known as the “Chernobyl disaster,” wreaked havoc on the nearby city of Pripyat and other nearby areas in Ukraine. Over 300,000 people were evacuated, escaping the area from radiation contamination.

Four years later, the Soviet administration started growing industrial hemp in an effort to reduce soil contamination. This is called “phytoremediation.”

Many species of plants can do this, but hemp is proved to be one of the top crops to decontaminate soil.

Final Thoughts

The facts about hemp are simple—this plant is far more versatile and resilient than the eye can see. Despite the long and treacherous road of praise and propaganda, hemp is finally here to stay. But this time, we’re using this crop for things beyond our imagination.

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