May 27th, 2009 – Hemp has served mankind for thousands of years, discovered in ancient civilizations at least 8000 B.C. Was grown widely in U.S. by colonial farmers including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. With such a long history, why is it illegal to grow it here? Is it a relation to the marijuana family? Hemp fiber is harvested from the large annual plant Cannabis Sativa. This industrial hemp has negligible alkaloid content and cannot be used for any drug. Canada, China, most of the European countries like France, England and many more allow growing and processing hemp – they don’t have problem with distinguishing the difference. What is different about US?
You can eat it, wear it, use it but not grow it. But hemp is the fastest growing agricultural crop, gentle on the land, requiring no chemicals in its cultivation. It produces more fiber yield per acre than any other source. It leaves the soil in excellent condition for any succeeding crop. It adds rich organic matter to the topsoil and helps retain moisture. Studies done in Poland show evidence that hemp is excellent plant to remove metals and toxins from the soil, multiplying its environmental benefits. Is it possible that we simply don’t want (or care) about environment as much as we claim?
In any way, it is one of the strongest and most durable of all natural textile fibers. It will outlast the competition. In the mid 1980’s, researchers developed an enzymatic process to successfully remove lignin from the hemp fiber without compromising its strength for multitude of uses: including textiles, energy generation, paper, construction, bio-plastics, food, cosmetics, and more. It is its comfortable and the more is used, the softer it gets. Hemp fabrics are great for people with sensitive skin because of the lack of bleaching agents used in the processing. Some of its amazing qualities is the resistance to mold and ultraviolet light. The porous nature allows hemp to “breathe,” so that it is cool in warm weather and the air trapped in the fibers makes it naturally warm in cooler weather. Due to the porous nature of the fiber, hemp will retain its color better than other fabrics.
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