Hemp is all the buzz these days, especially with the passage of the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp production in the US — but there's a lot about the hemp plant most people don't know. In fact, hemp is more than just a nutritional supplement. It is integral to the functionality of both the environment and any living creature with an endocannabinoid system (a system throughout the body with receptors made to interact with the compounds in hemp). Here are five interesting facts about hemp:
1. Hemp is a bioaccumulator
Simply put, this means that hemp draws out toxins from the soil. For this reason, growing hemp can in fact help remediate the environment. To this point, look no further than the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, where scientists planted hemp in order to leach toxic chemicals from the earth. Hemp can be used for a variety of industrial purposes, such as for paper, hempcrete, textiles, or fuel. It's also important that if you're buying hemp oil for human consumption, you ensure that the hemp is grown at a clean, organic cultivation site, like that of Functional Remedies, and is lab-tested to ensure the product is free of toxic chemicals.
2. Hemp for Victory!
Did you know hemp helped the Allies (US, Britain, France, Belgium, among others) defeat the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan, among others) during World War II? During the war, the US Department of Agriculture released a short film called "Hemp for Victory" to encourage farmers to cultivate hemp since Japan had cut off the American supply. Hemp allowed American forces to manufacture durable military supplies, like ropes or boat sails.
3. North American property owners of the 17th century were forced to grow hemp
In a 1619 royal decree, King James I mandated that every property owner in Jamestown had to grow 100 hemp plants in order to export back to England as material for ships and ropes. Later, similar policies were extended to those in Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well.
4. Hemp stalks are natural batteries
According to researchers at the University of Alberta, leftover hemp can be used to store energy, and can be charged more quickly than regular batteries. While as a supercapacitor hemp can store less energy than a regular battery, this technology could eventually be used to power phones, cars, or power tools.
5. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper
Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and Benjamin Franklin even owned a mill that made hemp paper. While it's believed that Jefferson drafted the Declaration on
hemp paper, the final version was actually written on engrossed parchment made from animal skin.