The cannabis plant is one of the most versatile and useful crops on the planet. It can be cheaply produced, uses little water, and leaves the soil more fertile instead of depleting it the manner of most industrially produced crops. New uses are being discovered on the daily as scientists explore the amazing properties of this miraculous plant.
As of late, much buzz has surrounded the mass-production of industrial hemp to make just about anything, from paper and plastic alternatives to clothing, building materials, and even food. Here are 6 reasons you should invest in the hemp industry right now.
This game-changing crop grows naturally on every inhabited Continent on the Planet. Industrial hemp is also one of the fastest growing crops known to man. There are three types of industrial hemp: Fiber, Oilseed, and hybrid (dual-purpose hemp).
It can be planted twice a year, going from seed to maturity in just three months. It resists weeds and uses very little water as compared to competing crops. Fiber hemp plants produce incredibly high yields per acre, as they do best when they are packed in close quarters. This space-saving crop is recommended to have 30-35 plants per square foot to produce the best yields, meaning that a whopping 40-80 pounds of the crop can be produced per acre of land.
Hemp Seeds provide one of the most adequate sources of nutrition on Earth. They contain 2.9 times the protein content of beef, as well as 3.6 times the Omega 3 fatty acid found in salmon. The main components of edible hemp are hemp seeds, hemp milk, and hemp seed oil, which in turn can be used to create a wide range of products like teas, protein powder mixes, energy bars, coffee, and even burgers and flavored beverage enhancer drops.
Seeds can be toasted to create pleasant, nutty taste and craveable crunch, and eaten as a stand-alone snack with a dash of sea salt, or as an accompaniment to a variety of dishes to pack that extra nutritional punch. Top yogurt or oatmeal as an addition or substitute to granola at breakfast, sprinkle over lunch items such as salads and soups or add them to dinner entrees like pasta or fish as a garnish.
Looking at market trends, large corporations are continuing to buy hemp-based products in increasing numbers. Whole Foods and Loblaws are two well-known grocery chains that have been focused on increasing their hemp-derived product lines. One sought-after product is the hemp burger, which will be a strong competitor in the “faux meat” market.
Hemp is the 2nd strongest natural fiber on Earth. It knocks out all competition with these mind-blowing facets:
The word canvas is actually derived from the root of cannabis, invented when Voyagers first weaved hemp fibers to make canvas ship sails. Cotton is currently used for many types of clothing and textiles, but modern methods of cultivation rely on the liberal application of pesticides, which are not only expensive for growers but poison local drinking water and deplete the land. In addition, industrial hemp uses far less water to grow, is much more resilient, and resists weeds on its own, making harmful pesticides unnecessary.
India is currently the world’s largest producer and exporter of cotton. The country has a history of operating Hemp Plantations as well, though the US War On Drugs of the 80’s effectively banned them.
As of today, China and the Netherlands take the lead on hemp textile exporting, but that all may change, thanks to new methods of producing low THC hemp. Four up-and-coming hemp producers in India are on their way to make a name for the industry with the help of the Indian government.
New start-up Boheco (Bohemian Hemp Company) is on track to grow 150 seed varieties over 25,000 acres. They look to future endeavors of expanding to medical-grade cannabidiol, but for now, their main focus remains on manufacturing hemp for use in Textiles. Other new Indian Industrial Hemp Companies are India Industrial Hemp, Be Hemp India, Indian Industrial Hemp Association, and The Hemp Couture.
The vast array of hemp-made construction materials fall under the Umbrella term Hempcrete. Hempcrete is defined as any building material that incorporates hemp into its composition. These materials run the gamut from Insulation, flooring, drywall, stone-like slabs, and facades to different roofing materials.
About 5,000 tons of hemp is used annually for construction in France, the first country to experiment with hemp as a construction material when they began exploring its potential for an insulation alternative. Insulation products on the market include loose wool, thermo-welded panels, and felts used for soundproofing and leveling.
Hempcrete is the next big thing to hit the construction world. Due to its pliability, Hempcrete is three times more resistant to cracking than traditional concrete. Hempcrete is a superior building material in multiple ways, in that this product is:
Though hemp oil has been used for centuries as an effective skin moisturizer, making appearances in lotions, creams, lip balm, makeup, and soap, this industry has really taken off following the legalization of cannabis in several states. Over the last decade, more and more cosmetic companies have turned to hemp as a marketing scheme to increase profits. And it's working.
The prized show horse of the Hemp Oil market, however, is fuel. Hemp oil has Big Oil connotations all over it after recent years’ much-hyped market trends. For the first time, Oil Giants like BP and Exxon Mobil are investing in Clean-Tech. Much research has been conducted on mixing hemp oil with crude to create a hybrid fuel similar to Ethanol Production in the US.
Hemp can currently be used to create two types of fuel: hemp biodiesel, which is made from the oil of the hemp seed and Hemp ethanol or methanol, which is made from the stalk after fermentation. Hemp oil is the world’s current most cost-efficient, sustainable, and valuable fuel source.
We want to avoid getting too technical here, but to give you a little background on the subject, a capacitor is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores potential energy in an electric field. Basically, it acts like a battery. New Canadian research shows hemp-based supercapacitors outperform standard supercapacitors by 200%.
In addition to its superior performance, these hemp-based alternatives can be manufactured for a fraction of the cost. Graphene, a nanomaterial typically used in making electrodes for supercapacitors, is exorbitantly expensive, costing as much as $2,000 per gram. A process for converting fibers made from hemp waste into a graphene-like nanomaterial was developed and can be manufactured for as little as $500 per ton.
As for the potential impact this will have on future technologies, Professor David Mitlin, who developed these hemp-based capacitors, surmised, “We were delighted at how well this material performed... This ...route presents a great potential for ...large-scale production ... for a variety of diverse applications including energy storage, portable electronics, uninterruptible power sources, medical devices, load leveling, and hybrid electric vehicles.”
Hemp is a bushy plant that grows dense and thick. This naturally occurring weed expertly chokes out anything attempting to grow in its wake, effectively rendering harmful herbicides and pesticides wholly unnecessary.
As the hemp plant grows, its plentiful leaves release high levels of oxygen into the air. These leaves fall to the ground and are absorbed back into the ground, releasing minerals and nutrients to make the soil more fertile. Hemp also absorbs toxic metals found in soil, such as cadmium, copper, mercury, and lead. Even the process of burning hemp oil as fuel is “green,” as the released carbon dioxide is then absorbed by the next crop growing cycle.
In addition to keeping the soil healthy, hemp requires very little water. Its deep root system allows it to rely on groundwater rather than rainfall. Erosion of topsoil is limited, which reduces water pollution. After processing, producing cotton uses up to four times more water than hemp.
Since hemp can replace trees for use in paper and wood, growing it could slow deforestation. Due to its density, one acre of hemp produces as much paper as four acres of trees over the span of one year.
100% biodegradable as well as easily recyclable, replacing traditional herbicide and pesticide-dependent crops and depleting fuel sources with industrial hemp will aid in reducing the unwanted effects of global warming.
We’ve shown you all the wonderful reasons to invest in this versatile, profitable, sustainable plant. Now for the kicker: Hemp companies have been on the rise in the last five years and are already generating high profits. New startup Hempco made around $4 million last year, which they are putting back into the company to grow it further.
In 2015, the total domestic value of hemp retail products sold was $573 million. Add to that the $500 million imported hemp products, and it's not hard to see how the total global market for hemp currently sits at $20 billion.
When asked where Industrial Hemp was headed in terms of profitability, Gen Canna’s president and CEO was all confidence. “Industrial Hemp is on a slow-burn toward titan crop status and will be the fastest growing segment of agricultural crops during the next 15 years. What is hemp’s future? Just look at the facts. It’s used in everything. Right now, CBD gets the press, but there are almost 30.000 industrial products made from hemp.”
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