"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?" - Henry Ford
HEMP FACTS- Additional information on this page is excerpted from the mind-boggling and eye-opening book The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer, a must-have book for anyone who cares about the future and well-being of our fragile planet. This visionary book makes clear why it is necessary to add hemp to our individual and collective lives today and why hemp is essential to our well-being as well as that of the earth.
Britain's naval strength in the 16th century was reliant on hemp rope, to the extent that Queen Elizabeth I decreed that farmers had to grow hemp on part of their land.
· The oldest piece of material known to man is a piece of hemp fabric, dating back to 8000BC.
· Hemp-seed milk was used as a cure for tuberculosis in a sanatorium in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s and 1930s.
· Hemp seeds are acknowledged as being one of the best sources of essential fatty acids. Health guru Gillian McKeith (right) is promoting the benefits of hemp seeds in her latest Channel 4 TV series.
· In 1941, Ford produced a car that was 70% made from hemp plastic and designed to run on hemp fuel. The US bans on hemp and alcohol (Mississippi, in 1966, was the last state to repeal prohibition) meant that the car was never mass produced.
· Rembrandt and Van Gogh both painted on hemp canvas, using oil paints made from hemp seeds.
· America's Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper in 1776. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson farmed hemp, and the statesman and scientist Benjamin Franklin owned a hemp-paper mill.
Hemp is sustainable clothing, footwear, shelter, foods, tree-free paper, cement, gasoline, fuel, nutritious and delicious foods, paint, industrial sealants, industrial composites, and so much more. Its beauty, usefulness, and astounding versatility truly boggle the mind! Hemp oil, for example, has the highest percentage of usable essential fatty acids of any plant, period.
Why hemp? Because it is, by far, Earth's premier, renewable natural resource. The hemp plant can single-handedly reverse the Greenhouse Effect, purify our air, water, & soil, and clothe and shelter us in a sustainable fashion.
Hemp paper lasts 50 to 100 times longer than most preparations of papyrus and is a hundred times easier and cheaper to make. It also does not yellow with age like acidic paper made from tree pulp. If the hemp pulp paper process of 1916 were in use today, it could replace 40 to 70% of all pulp paper (from trees), including corrugated boxes, computer printout paper and paper bags. Imagine the effect this conversion to hemp paper alone would have on near-extinct species and all forms of wild life, on old-growth forests that are fast disappearing, on the quality of our water, air, and soil, as well as on our planet's sensitive ecosystem!
Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose--a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fiber. An acre of full grown hemp plants can sustain ably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf, or sugar cane--the planet's next highest annual cellulose plants.
Hemp will grow in any state in the US and most of Canada. In most places, hemp can be harvested twice a year and, in warmer areas such as southern California, Texas, Florida and the like, it could be a year-round crop. Hemp has a short growing season and can be planted after food crops have been harvested.
Farming only 6% of continental US acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America's gas and oil energy needs, ending dependence upon fossil fuels. Hemp is Earth's number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months. Hemp is easy on the soil, sheds its lush foliage throughout the season, adding mulch to the soil and helping retain moisture. Hemp is an ideal crop for the semi-arid West and open range land.
Hemp is the only biomass source available that is capable of making the US energy-independent. Ultimately, the world has no other rational environmental choice but to give up fossil fuels.
From the farmers' point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grown corn, wheat, or oat. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. It can be grown in any state of the union. Hemp's long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year's crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds, eliminating the need for chemicals or pesticides, 50% of which is used today on conventionally-grown cotton plant alone to produce cotton clothing products that are inferior to hemp clothing in terms of durability, thickness, softness, and sustainability.
Two successive hemp crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of Canadian thistles or quack grass The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium (8,000-7,000 BC)."
From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 AD, cannabis hemp--indeed, marijuana--was our planet's largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth's fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals.
Ninety percent of all ships' sails (since before the Phoenicians, from at least the 5th Century BC until long after the invention and commercialization of steam ships--mid- to late-19th century) were made from hemp. The word "canvas" is the Dutch pronunciation (twice removed, from French and Latin) of the Greek word "Kannabis". In addition to canvas sails, until this century virtually all of the rigging, anchor ropes, cargo nets, fishing nets, flags, shrouds, and oakum (the main protection for ships against salt water, used as a sealant between loose or green beams) were made from the stalk of the marijuana plant.
Even the sailors' clothing, right down to the stitching in the seamen's rope-soled and "canvas" shoes, was crafted from cannabis. Additionally, the ships' charts, maps, logs, and Bibles were made from paper containing hemp fiber from the time of Columbus (15th century) until the early 1900s in the Western European/American world, and by the Chinese from the 1st Century AD on. Until the 1820s in America (and until the 20th Century in most of the rest of the world), 80% of all textiles and fabrics used for clothing, tents, bed sheets, and linens, rugs, drapes, quilts, towels, diapers, etc.--and even the US flag, "Old Glory," were principally made from fibers of cannabis hemp.
From 70-90% of all rope, twine, and cordage was made from hemp until 1937. It was then regrettably replaced mostly by petrochemical fibers, but at what untold costs to the environment? Hemp is the perfect archival medium for artists' work, because it is acid-free. The paintings of Van Gogh, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, etc., were primarily painted on hemp canvas, as were practically all canvas paintings.
A strong, lustrous fiber, hemp withstands heat, mildew, insects, and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on hemp and/or flax canvas have stayed in fine condition for centuries. For thousands of years, virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hempseed oil and/or linseed oil. Until about 1800, hempseed oil was the most consumed lighting oil in America and the world. From then until the 1870s, it was the second most consumed lighting oil, exceeded only by whale oil.
Hempseed oil lit the lamps of the legendary Aladdin, Abraham the prophet, and in real life, Abraham Lincoln. It was the brightest lamp oil. In the early 1900s, Henry Ford and other futuristic, organic, engineering geniuses recognized (as their intellectual, scientific heirs still do today) an important point--that up to 90% of all fossil fuel used in the world today (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) should long ago have been replaced with biomass such as : cornstalks, cannabis sativa (hemp), waste paper and the like.
Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy--especially when environmental costs are factored in--and its mandated use would end acid rain, end sulfur-based smog, and reverse the Green house Effect on our planet--right now!
Hempseed can be pressed for its highly nutritious vegetable oil, which contains the highest amount of essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom. Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board and for concrete construction molds. Practical, inexpensive fire-resistant construction material, with excellent thermal and sound-insulating qualities, is made by heating and compressing hemp fibers to create strong construction paneling, replacing dry wall and plywood.
William B. Conde of Conde's Redwood Lumber, Inc, near Eugene, OR, has demonstrated the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite building materials compared to wood fiber, even as beams.
Iso-chanvre (chanvre is French for hemp), a rediscovered French building material made form hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries. Archeologists have found a bridge in the south of France, from the Merovingian period, built with this process. Hemp has been used throughout history for carpet backing.
Hemp fiber has potential in the manufacture of strong, rot-resistant carpeting--eliminating the poisonous fumes of burning synthetic materials in a house or commercial fire, along with allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting, which may outgas volatile toxic fumes for months or even years, endangering human health.
Plastic plumbing pipes (PVC pipes) can be manufactured using renewable hemp cellulose as the chemical feedstock’s, replacing nonrenewable coal or petroleum-based chemical feedstocks.
So we can envision a house of the future built, plumbed, painted, and furnished with the world's number-one renewable resource--hemp. We believe that in a competitive market, with all facts known, people will rush to buy long-lasting, biodegradable "Pot Tops" or "Mary Jeans," etc, made from hemp grown without pesticides or herbicides.
It's time we put capitalism to the test and let the unrestricted market of supply and demand as well as "Green" ecological consciousness decide the future of the planet. A cotton shirt in 1776 cost $100 to $200, while a hemp shirt cost $0.50 to $1. By the 1830s, cooler, lighter cotton shirts were on par in price with the warmer, heavier, hempen shirts, providing a competitive choice, thanks to government subsidies.
People were able to choose their garments based upon the particular qualities they wanted in a fabric. Today we have no such choice.
Conventional cotton growing, which depletes and pollutes our nonrenewable resources, is still heavily subsidized by the government, masking the true costs of production and costs to the environment, whereas hemp is not allowed to be grown at all in the US (hopefully this is changing, for our planet's sake!).
The role of hemp and other natural fibers should be determined by the market of supply and demand and personal tastes and values, not by the undue influence of prohibition laws, federal subsidies and huge tariffs that are designed to keep the natural fabrics from replacing synthetic fibers.
Sixty years of government suppression of information has resulted in virtually no public knowledge of the incredible potential of the hemp fiber or its uses. By using 100% hemp or mixing hemp with cotton, you will be able to pass on your shirts, pants, and other clothing to your grandchildren.
Intelligent spending could essentially replace the use of petrochemical synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester with tougher, cheaper, cool, absorbent, breathable, biodegradable natural fibers such as hemp and flax.
China, Italy and Easter European countries such as Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Russia currently make millions of dollars worth of sturdy hemp and hemp/cotton textiles--and could be making billions of dollars worth--annually. These countries build upon their traditional farming and weaving skills, while the US tries to force the extinction of the hemp plant in the attempt to promote destructive synthetic technologies.
Additionally, hemp grown for biomass could fuel a trillion-dollar-per-year energy industry, while improving air quality and distributing the wealth to rural areas and their surrounding communities, and away from centralized power monopolies. More than any other plant on Earth, hemp holds the promise of a sustainable ecology and economy. If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the Greenhouse Effect and stop deforestation...
Then there is only one known, annually renewable natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world's paper and textiles; meeting all of the world's transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil, and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time...
And that substance is--the same one that did it all before--Cannabis Hemp!Hempseed is the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids. Hempseed oil is among the lowest in saturated fats at 8% of total oil volume. The oil pressed from hempseed contains 55% linoleic acid (LA) and 5% lanoline acid (LNA). Only flax oil has more linolenic acid at 58%, but hempseed oil is the highest in total essential fatty acids at 80% of total oil volume.
These essential fatty acids are responsible for our immune response. In the old country the peasants ate hemp butter. They were more resistant to diseases than the nobility, who shunned hemp butter as peasant food. LA and LNA are involved in producing life energy from food and the movement of that energy throughout the body. Essential fatty acids govern growth, vitality and state of mind.
LA and LNA are involved in transferring oxygen from the air in the lungs to every cell in the body. They play a part in holding oxygen in the cell membrane where it acts as a barrier to invading viruses and bacteria, neither of which can thrive in the presence of oxygen.
Hemp products constitute an important element in health and home. This plant has the potential to play a major role in preventing disease and reducing health care expenditures. It can also clean up the air and water while saving more of our depleting forests. Parts of the Plant the list is seemingly endless for products that can be made from hemp.
To date, there are over 50,000 product ideas. To give you an idea, review the following list Roots: Medicinal extracts and preparations. As an ecological benefit, the deep taproot breaks up soil, suppresses weeds, and adds organic mass.
Stalk: Bast (long outer fibers), hurds (short inner fibers), and woody fibers which can be made into anything from jewelry, weaving, knotting, carving, beads, pipe stems, paper, building materials, animal bedding, cellulose plastics, methanol, clothing, rope, to much more. Leaves: Green manure, pigments, animal bedding, and compost.
Flowers (low THC): Natural insect repellent, aromatherapy, topical medicinal applications, essential oils, fragrances, sunscreens, flavorings, food. Seeds: Oil, protein, flour, bird seed, body care products, pharmaceuticals, industrial lubricants, diesel fuel, and much more. A whole line of food products are being developed. Basic Materials Six basic materials are derived from the hemp plant: long bast fiber, medium fiber, short core fiber, seeds, oil, and seed meal.
Long fiber (from the bast) has long strands that are superior to cotton and very desirable for textiles. Has antimildew and antimicrobial properties that are particularly useful for sails, tarps, awnings, and carpets.
Is biodegradable and an environmentally sound substitute for fiberglass?Medium fiber has low lignin (resinous plant glue) levels that make it ideal for paper and no woven applications. Shares the bast fiber’s antimildew and antimicrobial properties, making it well-suited for medical applications and such hygiene products as diapers and sanitary napkins. Short core fiber (from the hurds) is up to twice as absorbent as wood shavings, making it an excellent choice for packaging and animal bedding. Serves as a direct, often sturdier replacement for wood in construction materials.
Blends easily with lime to create a strong yet lightweight concrete or plaster. Is biodegradable and serves as an environmentally sound material for use in manufacturing plastics. Seeds are a highly nutritious protein source which is better tasting and more digestible than soybeans. Equals the soybean’s versatility and can be processed into milk, cheese, ice cream, and butters is a favored birdseed.
Seed oil has the highest volume among the edible oils, of essential fatty acids and in the optimal proportions required by the human body. Tastes better and has a longer shelf life than flax oil. Has antimildew and antimicrobial properties that make an ideal base for personal care items. Blends easily with other substances to produce lubricants, paints, and printing inks.
Seed meal supplies high protein and nourishment in food for people and animals. Serves as a mild digestive bulking agent. Can be blended with other grains into flours for baking.
Hemp foods pioneer and Original Hemp Nut Richard Rose (HempNut Inc., Hemp Foods Association, Hemp Industries Association) appears on The Roseanne Show.Specific Products and Their Benefits . This list is really endless, with over 50,000 possibilities; but the following will give an example of the broad base potential that this plant has.
Animal feed – Until about 1948, the main use of hemp seed in the US was in feed for dairy and beef cattle. In 1960, 13% of the Staphylococci infections were penicillin-resistant; and, by 1988, that figure had risen to 91%. Today, these figures in both animals and humans are staggering. More than half of the antibiotics used is the US are routinely fed to livestock as a preventative measure to offset their crowded and unhealthy living conditions.
Consequently, the “good” bacteria that help with digestion and fending off pathogens are also eliminated. Meat and pharmaceutical industries support this practice, but the European community now forbids it. Feeding hemp seeds to livestock is an excellent way to support the immune systems of animals while bolstering their weight and improving the quality of their meat.
A bolus of hemp flowers, sugar, and grain has been fed to livestock to treat colic, constipation, diarrhea, worms, and rinderpest (a form of diphtheria). When hemp seed is fed to poultry on a regular basis, the birds do not go “off feed” nor do they require hormones to fatten them up, and egg production increases. Hemp seed meal has an effect analogous to that of grit in chickens’ diets, keeping their gizzard linings free of corrugations and erosions.
Bee keepers use hemp as a pollen insulator since no other plant is so efficient as a hedge against the infiltration of unwanted pollen that drifts in the air. Hemp plants also provide valuable pollen and produce the most pollen of any plant.
Body care products -- The critical importance of EFAs (essential fatty acids) for healthy skin makes hemp seed oil a highly effective skin care and cosmetic product. Its lipid constituents allow it to permeate through intact skin and thereby nourish skin cells directly.
Consequently, these therapeutic properties have led to a multitude of soaps, shampoos, skin lotions, lip balms, conditioners, and other skin-care products containing hemp seed oil. For the hair, hemp oil improves shine, as well as being able to relieve a dry scalp.
Building products -- The benefits of using hemp-based composites in construction materials rather than wood include better resistance to fire, fungi, rodents, termites, and other pests. This use would also stimulate local economies and improve agricultural sustainability. When properly retted and stacked, hemp can be stored for many years without significant deterioration, thereby allowing the producer to take advantage of fluctuating markets.
Diapers -- Hemp makes the best diapers. Because they are reusable, they will not be added to landfills. Not only that, but they are also far more absorbent than cotton and just as soft.
Fabrics -- Cotton is one of the most destructive crops in existence, using half the pesticides in agriculture. Even organic cotton requires extremely heavy irrigation. Hemp, on the other hand, can be grown organically and sustain ably. It can also be made into attractive and stylish clothing. Hemp fibers are stronger than cotton and similar to linen or raw silk.
Fewer wars -- Although this is a stretch, one can dream that there would be fewer wars, particularly ones that now start over non-renewable supremacy. Possibly, such wars as the Gulf War might never have happened.
Fiberboard -- Hemp fiberboard is a viable alternative to the composite board made from processed wood chips and resins. Wood chip fiberboard is notoriously weak; but using the long bast fibers of hemp makes a much stronger product with a wider range of applications. It is also more fireproof and insect resistant. MDF (Medium Dense Fiber) is a cellulose composite made comparable to the strength found in trees. Hemp fiberboard has proven to be 250% stronger than wood MDF composite board and 300% more elastic. Therefore, it should not be necessary to take a 200 to 500 year-old tree to make a house that lasts only 50 years. Instead, hemp, which takes only about 100 to 150 DAYS to grow, can make the same house that lasts the same length of time.
Fiberglass -- Just as hemp fiber can replace fiberglass in cars, boats, and their vehicles, it also makes a perfect substitute for such other fiberglass materials as insulation. Hemp hurds, treated with a fire retardant, can then be blown into the space between walls and provide the needed protection without the lung or skin irritation associated with fiberglass insulation.
Hempahol -- Corn is not the only plant that can be used to make ethanol; and per acre, hemp is a more prolific producer than corn. Unlike gasoline, ethanol does not produce any of the sulfur or other air pollution responsible for acid rain and various diseases.
Housing - A company in France has patented a concrete substitute made by calcifying hemp stalks into a solid mass. The resulting material is called Isochanvre, as is the company name. Isochanvre is as strong as concrete but weighs only 1/7th as much. It is also more flexible and a much better insulator, making it better able to withstand natural disasters. The company has already built hundreds of these all-natural houses in Europe and was the first to do so in Canada. Such building materials would significantly lessen the impact of taking from the environment without replenishing it.
"The silica leached from soil by the plant combined with unslaked lime (calcium oxide) forms a chemical bond similar to cement which is both fire and waterproof.
Another proven concept is Zelfo Australia is a modern high-strength, high-performance mouldable, wood-like material which cares for the environment and your bottom line. Zelfo products range from chairs, tables, stalls, other furniture, homeware items and small pieces of jewellery to large eco-coffins. Zelfo contains no toxins and creates no toxic waste. Even timber furniture relies on the frequent harvesting of forests and the use of many environmentally destructive resins, whereas Zelfo uses totally renewable plant material and a purely mechanical process.Zelfo is a biodegradable plastic from plants. The Zelfo process uses a wide variety of raw fibres, such as sugar, waste paper and hemp.
Natural herbicide - While herbicides do keep weeds down, they also poison the ground with their chemical components. This eventually reaches into the food supply. Herbicides also produce mutants which become stronger and more resistant to chemicals. Capable of growing six feet in two weeks, thickly sown hemp crops simply choke out weeds, cutting them off from sunlight and nutrients. Rotating hemp crops will keep the soil in prime shape for whatever cash crop is to follow.
No oil spills -- This point is so obvious that it is often overlooked – hemp does not cause oil spills. Consequently, no wildlife can be harmed or ecosystems destroyed.
Paper – The world’s first source of paper was made from hemp; and 2000-year old pieces of hemp paper have stood the test of time, a feat far beyond the capabilities of wood pulp paper. If wood pulp had been the source of paper, we likely would not have the recorded history. Until the development of acid-free paper, wood pulp paper disintegrated in just over a century. Hemp paper is stronger than wood pulp paper, naturally pliable, and partially water-resistant. Half of the trees cut down today are used to make paper – which ultimately ends up in landfills a short time later.
Plastic – Because plastic is made from non-renewable resources, searching for an alternative is crucial and began in earnest in the 1970s when oil crises drove up the price of petrochemicals – a practice that has been retained to this day. As governments struggle to find ways to reduce global warming and consumers continue to demand alternatives, the hemp plant is becoming an increasingly valuable alternative to the petro-chemical based industries, which are high energy users and contribute greatly to rising CO2 levels. Renewable bio-resource based products are low-energy consumers and CO2-neutral. Hemp fibers are tough and durable, and adding them enables the reduction of the amount of plastic required without loss of performance. (See more at Hemp Plastic.)
Prevent erosion – The following is but one example where hemp could help to hold topsoil in place. Massive deforestation on the slopes of the Himalayas (hemp’s original home) is rapidly turning the area into a barren moonscape. Forested areas that previously lost only 0.3 tons of soil per hectare each year now lose as much as 90 tons in the same space after being clearcut. At that rate, nothing more than rock will remain. The soil washes downstream, clogging rivers and killing aquatic life, eventually sweeping into the sea by the Ganges and other rivers. Former vice-president Al Gore said, “These mountain lands, which boast some of the most spectacular natural beauty on earth, are now being devastated to briefly quench the needs of a single generation.” Hemp grows abundantly in the Himalayas, if given the chance, and could cover these scarred areas, holding topsoil while providing an income for the region’s people.
Shower curtains -- One of the many plastic products that release toxic gasses when heated is the shower curtain -- and shower curtains tend to be heated a lot. Rather than being trapped in a small confined space and gassed by shower curtains, home-owners are now able to buy attractive, long-lasting, naturally mildew-resistant shower curtains made from hemp. Soap – Making soap is a relatively simple process using a fat (acid) and some ash (alkali) to neutralize the fatty acids in the fat, which forms soap.
For additional informaiton to the significance of HEMP please visit the Hemp housing page.
It is important that environmental groups and aid agencies who help third world countries, evaluate the long term benefits of granting Panacea's goal to teach third world countries Hemp production for their own self sufficiency.
Panacea encourages aid agencies to compare their their financial contribution in comparison to what the long term benefits of Panacea's non profit hemp production program can create. Panacea further encourages aid agencies to contact Panacea and request to draw up a fact sheet with figures describing what Panacea's hemp production can give in comparison to their financial aid's result.