Hemp is one of the oldest cultivated plants, with the first use of hemp as a textile dating back over 3,000 years. Throughout Europe and Asia, people hailed hemp as a super crop.
The reason behind this widespread popularity? Its versatility.
Although hemp was predominant in the textile industry, it had countless other uses as well. From making ropes to conjuring medicine, the uses of hemp knew no bounds.
Although there was a decline in hemp usage as cotton became more popular, hemp is now making a global comeback. However, many people still don’t know the vast array of uses for hemp outside the textile sphere.
Here are ten of the most surprising uses for hemp.
Did you know that the first paper was made out of hemp? In 100 BC China, hemp was a popular material for making coarse paper. More accurately, it was the recycled hemp clothing that was utilized as input for the paper-making process.
Up until the 19th century, almost all paper was made from hemp. In fact, many important historical documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, and literary works, such as Mark Twain’s novels, were inscribed on hemp paper.
Interestingly, hemp is superior to tree paper in almost every way. It is more durable, does not discolor, and is exceptionally sustainable.
A standard modern car typically has a fiberglass body. But if you do a little research, it’s far from being the best choice of material.
Henry Ford realized this and, in 1941, produced the first-ever hemp car. Woven hemp fiber constituted the body of the car, with the material being much lighter and almost ten times stronger than steel.
Moreover, the car was carbon-neutral to build, whereas the standard vehicle has a carbon footprint of 10 tons.
Apart from making the bodies of cars, it’s entirely possible that hemp may one day be powering our cars as well.
Hemp batteries are more accurately known as supercapacitors, which is a different type of battery than the standard lithium-ion.
While hemp batteries can’t replace their lithium-ion counterparts, they do offer many appealing qualities that Li-ion batteries don’t. To name a few, hemp batteries have a higher energy density, are cost-effective since they require recycled industrial hemp, and are more readily available.
People have been turning to plants for skincare since the beginning of time. But what makes hemp so special is that it is a natural moisturiser for people with all skin types.
Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. It has a vast range of health and skincare benefits. As a skincare product, hemp seed oil moderates oil production, soothes inflammation, and fights wrinkles and fine lines.
You can also ingest hemp oil, which produces the same skin benefits as its topical application.
How about some hemp ink to go with your hemp paper?
The oil from hemp acts as a great binder for ink. While you can use it for writing and drawing, hemp ink is most popular among the tattoo community.
Hemp oil is a superb natural healer for damaged skin after the tattooing process. It has an abundance of antioxidants that soothe the skin and help it heal faster.
Here’s another surprising use of hemp in the beauty industry: hemp-infused nail polish. Currently, only two companies are producing hemp nail polish, namely Nails Inc. and INC.redible. With so many additional benefits, it’s a wonder why more companies haven’t started producing their own lines of hemp nail polish.
Regular nail polish only delivers a coat of color onto your nails. Wearing these traditional nail polishes for long periods of time can actually compromise the health of your nails.
But hemp nail polish goes a step further and helps nourish and strengthen your nails. It reduces nail stripes, evens out the nail surface, and leaves you with healthy and shiny nails.
Hemp flour isn’t flour in the technical sense, but people often mix it with other types of flour to use in cooking and baking.
The flour is coarse and dense and doesn’t rise like normal flour. However, you can mix it with wheat, barley, soy, or any other flour to add a nutty taste. Moreover, it is highly fibrous and contains a generous proportion of omega essential fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.
As such, it is a great flour alternative (or additive) for people with celiac disease or gluten allergies.
Apart from human food, hemp also makes for extremely nutritious animal kibble. There was a lot of deliberation on whether hemp is safe for animal consumption. It took the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials over two years of back and forth on the safety of hemp as animal feed.
In the end, though, there was no denying the benefits of adding hemp to an animal’s diet.
Hemp feed offers a great deal of nutritional value to animals, including protein, fiber, fat, saturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 acids, oleic acid, and even gamma-linoleic acid.
Solar power is already a great sustainable energy source. But a thin coating of hemp doubles down on its sustainability and overall efficiency.
Traditionally, solar panels use either silicon or graphene materials. However, these materials are considerably expensive.
On the other hand, recycled hemp fibers are not only extremely cost-effective but also abundant. Soon, hemp is going to be the most sought-out material by manufacturers who are looking to cut costs.
Hemp structures date back to the Roman period, where it was a popular material to reinforce the mortar in their buildings.
Today, “hempcrete,” a mixture of hemp, hurds, and lime, offers a sustainable and much stronger alternative to concrete. Hemp blocks and hemp infills optimize thermal and temperature regulation in buildings.
Moreover, it is also fire-resistant, which makes it a much safer option.
Hemp is a “jack of all trades” crop.
Although it is most popular in clothing and textile, there are so many other uses of hemp as well.
As hemp takes the world by storm once again, we can expect to see a huge variety of hemp products. Other than the uses listed in this post, hemp can also be used for shampoos, producing plastic, milk alternatives, making carpets, etc.
The list of hemp uses is virtually endless.